Grundtvig Partnership : Traditional Village for a Future Life (2012-14)
E-Juniors (FR) « Traditional Costume » Presentation (Calatayud, ES, 21 Feb. 2014)
Part 1: On one fine (gray) Parisian winter day, some of our learners went on a photo excursion in search of « traditional costumes » in the Belleville area of Paris…and here is what they found!
French Cook + Waiter
French Bread-Shop Worker
Part 2: The History of the Beret
· The ancient Greeks first used a beret style hat in the 5th century BC, 2500 years ago. The "pilos," as they called it, was practical and water tight because it lacked any seams.The Romans then adopted the floppy cap from the Greeks and referred to it as a "pilus" but eventually changed the name to "beretino." The Romans also gave the beret its true shape and decreed that only the aristocracy could wear white beretinos, giving the colored beret its first social symbolism.
Introduction to France
· It was not until 1280 that the first reference to berets appeared in France. A barely discernible stone figure on a Notre Dame church portal near Orthez, France wears what is unmistakably a beret. While the Basques of northern Spain and the Basque-pays region of France are normally credited with the introduction of the beret, this church carving helps confirm that the style did, in fact, begin in the region of Béarn. In fact, berets are also mentioned in a Béarnese text from 1461, and modern author Simin Palay includes the term "beret" in his Dictionary of Béarnese and Gascon words. However, because of the continued association with the Basque region, classical berets are often referred to as "berets basques."
· The Béarn and the Basque regions are mountainous areas, and herders had to travel this rocky terrain with their flocks of sheep. Knitting wool berets would have helped them keep their hands busy while watching their sheep. Once the berets were knitted, the shepherds beat them with "hammers" to turn the cloth into felt. Because the sheep provided brown wool, the early berets were probably brown. Today, only two companies in France produce berets, and both of them are located in Béarn. These modern berets often contain a leather band and are at least partially lined.
Popularization of the Beret in France
· Until the 1850s, France outside of Béarn and the Basque regions had little contact with berets. Then, during the Second Empire, Napoleon III drafted many men from these areas to fight in the army against Prussia, and the men brought the style to the attention of the French people. By the 1900s, men and boys of all ages were wearing berets, and it was sometimes considered, along with a smock, part of the standard French school uniform. The beret also gained popularity in Belgium because the people there closely followed French styles. The French "Alpine Hunters," a special mountain force stationed in the alps, was the first military unit to adopt the beret.
· Through the 1930s, berets maintained popularity among boys and men in France, especially in the Pyrenees mountain areas (nowadays, in Béarn, boys still consider the gift of a beret as a sign of adulthood). In fact, they were so popular that the Marquis of the French Resistance used them as under-the-radar uniforms during World War II. During this time, American women also began to consider the beret fashionable. However, they wore the beret pulled down instead of in wearing it in a flat pancake shape the way that the French did. Artists and anarchists in France and all over the world adopted the black beret as a symbol of their cultures . Yet while the beret gained foreign recognition after World War II, its cultural importance in France declined, most notably in terms of men and boys. Hence, although berets still hold significance in areas such as Béarn, tourists visiting Paris will have to be content with wine and bread when looking to satisfy their stereotyped expectations.
Part 2.1: The Oldest Known Berets!
The oldest-known representation of a
beret is located in Bellocq on the portal of the Notre-Dame church (ca. 1280-1300
AD) of this little village, located 15 km west of Orthez. On the portal are two
sculptures representing beret-wearing men.
One of the men is a pilgrim (probably
on his way to Santiago de Compostella). The other is too difficult to identify
clearly, but undoubtedly he is also wearing a beret.
These sculptures are “proof” that the
beret has its origins in Bearn. The church of Bellocq is also interesting for
its other medieval sculptures.
Well, one may say: “Hey, he’s a pilgrim, maybe he comes from another country and the sculptor represented a foreigner and this beret is not Bearnese”! This is a possibility; however, we will see below how medieval artists would often represent people from their vicinity, so, it is very probable that the beret has its origins in Bearn!
General view of the portal.
On the left side of the portal, one can see the pilgrim with his walking stick and wearing the beret.
A closer view of the pilgrim – notice the particular shape of his walking stick: it is a local one, called a “bourdon”, still manufactured in the same style in Bearn today.
The other person wearing a beret.
Part 2.2: The History of the Beret (Video + Transcript)
2. Legends: Noah +the ark, sheep fleece + the beret
3. History: The origin of the beret
4. The evolution of berets: the first berets, their characteristics
5. Berets in the 19th century, the beret is feminized
6. Those who wear berets
7. The beret’s conquest of the (new) world
8. Different ways to wear a beret, depending on one’s personality
9. The beret and top couturiers: its accessories, how to wear it
Transcription + Google Translation
Simple et chic, français et fantaisiste, aujourd’hui la
petite histoire du béret.
Simple and chic, French and visionary, today the story of the beret .
[ Sheep ]
Oh what a pretty cake that is worn on our heads! It acts as a parasol or umbrella, it makes us looks like a villain or a great lady , but it is above all the image of franchouillard * as nice as - frankly - a tad ridiculous. But beware: Defense laugh , because the history of the beret something sacred !
Legend has it that the first to be invented is Noah, that of Noah's ark . After saving the animals , Noah was found at the bottom of his boat sheep fleece turned into felt. He cut off a piece , put it on his head and thus was born the first beret . But more seriously, the true fathers of the beret are Bearn shepherds .
Corinne Lechevalier , fashion expert
The origin of the beret in the
barn Country * and also in the Basque Country , it is important to note that
the boy at the age of 10 years she was awarded a manner quite his first
official beret and it was its entry into the adult world. It was a really
absolute must for the child and which had its social importance.
There for me, two typical facets
: the hero and the bastard. Then there are the heroes like Che Guevara and
then there was the bastard type * Louis de Funès , who always wears berets ,
I think it 's one in The Crossing of Paris . Y has the strong, who is the
hero , who has a beret and then there is the co * , who also has his beret .
Philippe Model , hatter
Saint-Laurent , Jean Paul Gaultier closer to us , Balenciaga rehabilitated periodically and after the French beret , it has become the symbol of Paris , because we called this little beret well placed: mischievous , dive, dive a diamond, a rhinestone . This is a fairly small beret that was rocked by hiding , of course, one of the eyebrows with an unstable through quite stable , a large pen and we must bear with a casually elegant .
* Franchouillard ( coll. ) : derogatory characteristic of the French way with all faults .
* Country barn : This is probably an error of pronunciation for the Béarn region of the French southwest.
* Louis de Funès : comedian years from 1960 to 1970 who played in the series including " Cops " and often wore a beret in his roles .
* Collabo : diminutive collaborator that pactises , collaborates with the enemy.
* Bon chic, bon genre : term for a fashionable bourgeois style.
* Cramer : means to burn, "It’s going to burn!” = “Things are going to heat up! Watch out!"