Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Trapped between the stripes...

Cary Grant in Hitchcock's To catch a thief.

For the last week or so I have become consumed by a desire to own a certain wardrobe staple, the Breton top. Those all too familiar signature blue and white stripes were originally the garb of French sailors and fishermen but the lightweight chambray cotton versions have since become a symbol of classic cool. The traditional loose fit, wide neck and dropped shoulders that we all know and love, caught the eye of Gabrielle Chanel during a trip to the beach, or so the story goes (as demonstrated in Coco Before Chanel), and she copied the look to kick start a fashion craze and association with style which has never really subsided. However, as great as Audrey looked in her Breton creation, there is one film moment which really resonates with me when I think of those stripes: Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch A Thief. It might take a brave man to accessorise a breton top with a red silk scarf the way Cary Grant did but I think I could be just that man to give it a try...I just need to invest in this classic staple. I have seen two recent incarnations of the classic breton and both appeal to different sides of me and I have to admit to being a little torn between them...

As previously mentioned here on, for S/S 10 E. Tautz took inspiration from a set of photographs of the Duke of Windsor holidaying on the island of Majorca in the 1930’s. Patrick Grant and his team explored the whole idea of an Englishman enjoying life on the Mediterranean in the summer and the above look really caught my attention. It just exemplifies how an good an Englishman can look abroad, the relaxed, almost nonchalent tailoring is a million miles away from the larger lout beach dwellers that come to mind today.

The E. Tautz version of the breton is certainly appealling to my more classic side but there is another, very different version which is also tempting me with its charms. Susie loved Sibling's warped take on the Breton and her enthusiasm is infectious in this respect. Sibling's knitwear pieces frequently combine timeless qualities and tongue-in-cheek references, all expertly knitted with fine gauge precision that never ceases to surprise me. Here, Sibling collaborated with artist Noah Scalin (of askulladay.com) to incorporate his skull patternation into the stripes perfectly. I just can't look at it for too long because it make my eyes feel a little drunk. I am a man currently torn between two bretons. I want them both.

7 comments:

Mountain said...

Get the sibling one!! They are absolutely brilliant and so humourous. Also, it's a more unusual take on the Breton jumper.
I only wish I could own one myself (in the navy of course!)

FIXED BAYONET METAL SOLDIERS said...

When the Breton tp becomes pofederriswedits no longer a Breton top.I prefer Cary

Style Salvage Steve said...

Mountain: I know but both have their charms. It really is a choice between something a classic with a slight twist and something a little more unusual.
Fixed Bayonet Metal Soldiers: I think your comment scrabbled before posting. That or the Sibling version has really screwed up my eyes. I see your point though, both aren't classic bretons but I always want something a little different. The more Cary Grant films I see, the more I adore his style.

aTreasuryOf.com said...

I like the E. Tautz one, personally.

If you are craving a more classic look (and you sorta seem to be), go for the classic looking option.

You can punk it up through your pants or shoes etc. etc. Obviously.

EJ said...

I prefer the Tautz one. I sort of like the Sibling one, but I think I'm gradually liking it less and less. Surely the whole point of a classic top is that it's classic? (since it's the classic breton top you've said you're after)

Style Salvage Steve said...

aTreasuryOf.com: You are a man of exceedingly good taste and I think you're right. In fact, don't be too surprised if you see me sporting this next season and for many more to come.
EJ: I know what you mean about the Sibling incarnation but I still like it very much. It is certainly more of an abvious statement piece though. I have to plump for the E. Tautz though.

shannon said...

I love the Sibling, but I'm not sure what happened with their styling for the lookbook photos. In the collection video and presentation photos (on mannequins), the sizing looked perfect. On the models in this photo, everything is too short. I'm sad to say that the E. Tautz might win here, simply because of fit.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails