Fashion is also made of stereotypes, which often reflect the reality.
One can imagine the typical profile of the typical Frenchman, a beret, a wand under his arm, a Gauloises between his fingers and a white jersey with blue stripes, with three-quarter sleeves and a boat neck.
The Breton jersey, or marinière, has been in the wardrobe of the French for nearly a century. And this thanks to Gabrielle Chanel. Inspired by the outfits of the sailors who work on the harbor, Gabrielle Chanel judges the marinières extremely chic, and paradoxically feminine.
As early as 1917, the striped jersey is one of the most characteristic pieces of the Chanel style. From practical clothing to iconic style for whole generations. The sailor becomes the uniform of a youth who seizes it like a banner.
From Patti Smith to the cinematographic movement of the new wave in the early 60s with Jean Seber (A bout de souffle 1960) by Godard or Jeanne Moreur in Jules and Jim by François Truffaut.
But the one who seizes it like a second skin, is the Cubist artist Pablo Picasso. His mariners will be for him a stage costume with which he builds his mythical iconographic public.
Then, it is the turn of the child prodigy of the French fashion, Jean-Paul Gauthier who will reinterpret in his way the sailor.
Having become his trademark, he will adopt the striped shirt of Coco Chanel and transform it into its incomparable style, from its first collection in 1976. «
Of course, I saw the striped knit on Chanel, Picasso, Brigitte Bardot. Gamin, that’s how my grandmother dressed me. The sailor is above all a nostalgia. » Jean Paul Gauthier.
A nostalgia full of sensuality.