Hat (beret)


Established 1840

The beret knows a long history. Bearn shepherds first hand knit the beret and felted the wool to protect themselves against the harsh sun and cold winters. Soon the military understood that the qualities in a beret were perfect for heavy combat use and provided easy identification on the battlefield.

In 1840 Lucien Laulhère founded the Laulhère factory in Oloron-Sainte-Marie. From the first year the business took off with a huge demand for berets: the wearing of the beret spilled over into different social classes with almost no barriers between class, age or gender. In Paris just like in Hollywood the women’s beret gained popularity thanks to stars like Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. Today ‘le beret femme’ is still a popular fashion accessory and has been reinvented many times by some of the world’s greatest fashion designers.

With the takeover of Blancq-Olibet in 2013, Laulhère is the only remaining historic beret-maker in France, preserving this cultural practice as part of France’s heritage.

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© Photo by Everett Collection/REX (401118aa)

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