Coco Chanel. Brigitte Barbot. Colette. Picasso. Pollock. Jean-Paul Gaultier. Kate Moss all wore it.
And we love them too!
However, the blue and white striped shirt had already told a story of its own, long before it became a trend, in the early 1900’s.
In 1858, la marinière was recorded by degree as the official undergarment of the French Navy. Its signature feature was a block pattern of 21 white stripes and 20–21 blue stripes with 15 white stripes and 14–15 blue stripes on the sleeves.The legend says that the stripes represented the 21 naval victories of Napoleon’s fleet against the British...
Other reports suggest the stripes were conceived to stand out against the waves should the wearer go overboard.
It didn’t become a fashion item until the Victorian age, when many aristocratic families would order miniature sailor costumes for their children. Even Albert Edward, Queen Victoria’s son, had one that he wore when travelling by the Royal Yacht.
La marinière entered the women’s wardrobe soon after Gabrielle Chanel started wearing it during her holidays in Deauville, at the beginning of the XXth century. Paired with some loose trousers and a straw hat, it quickly became a uniform for all the strong women out there, daring to adopt a more masculine outfit.
In 1963, the director Jean-Luc Godard resumed Chanel’s idea and dressed Brigitte Bardot in a timeless marinière for the movie Le Mépris.
The catwalk soon caught on, with Yves Saint Laurent reinterpreting the marinière in his first collection (Spring/Summer 1962) and the garment continues to serve as inspirational fodder for fashion designers today from Jean Paul Gaultier to Comme des Garçons.