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.