I bought my Petit Bateau Breton Stripe Marinieres for travelling to the Riviera, it’s soon made itself a staple in my everyday wardrobe and proves the perfect attire for strolling along the canal side. Here’s a little look at the fascinating history of Petit Bateau and the iconic breton top:
Classic French clothing company Petit Bateau began life back in 1893 at it’s factory in Troyes, which is still in operation today. Petit Bateau started after Stephen Valton thought to cut the legs of pantaloons, thus the “pants” without legs that we know today were born. Petit Bateau launched its very first publicity campaign in 1920 advertising its innovative underwear that proceeded to win the 1937 grand prize for innovation at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. Petit Bateau continued in success inventing their classic baby grows in 1950.
By the nineties Petit Bateau had expanded it’s offering from children’s wear introducing Women’s and Men’s classic clothing steeped in the brands origins of easy staple shapes, quality construction and comfortable fabrics.
Petit Bateau offers a range of classic Breton stripe Marinieres. The striped Breton shirt as we know it today came into being shortly following the 27th March, 1858 Act of France which introduced the navy and white striped knitted shirt as the uniform for all French navy seaman in Brittany. The shirt was originally known as marinière or matelot.The original design featured 21 stripes, one for each of Napoleon’s victories.
Of course, it was the fabulous Coco Chanel who first introduced the Breton Top to the fashion world in her legendary nautical collection in 1917. The Breton top became a symbol of haute-borgeois lovliness during the pre-war Riviera years.
Coco Chanel designed the piece to be paired with long flared trousers. As the style adapted during the 1930s, the upper class would pair the top with a cravat, blazer and shorts. I tend to wear mine with my Zara Jean capris and sling back shoes for travelling and summer evening walks.
The Breton shirt was also made popular by the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Pablo Picasso, Brigitte Bardot, Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Audrey Hepburn, James Dean and Jean Seberg, to name but a few!
There’s nothing quite like a summer stroll down by the canal, feels fabulous to be spending a few weeks enjoying being at home with friends and family soaking up the evening sun, couldn’t be happier with my new breton top. Happy summer!
“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby