What do Rihanna, Che Guevara nostalgics, and the Kardashian clan all have in common? They are all bonkers about berets. The Frenchest of hats is now also the hippest, with makers struggling to keep up with demand from everyone from pop stars to the crowned heads of Europe.
Since Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri sent out every one of her 68 models wearing one in her first autumn winter show last March, the humble Pyrenean shepherd’s hat has become the epitome of cool. “I love berets because they’re the T-shirt of hats,” said Stephen Jones, the British master milliner who helped create the cult Dior line for Chiuri.
“Young, old, rich, poor, male, female — the beret suits everybody,” he said. The black leather Dior version Rihanna wore to the show with such badass Black Panther attitude flew off the shelves and now sells for $999 (812 euros) on eBay.
Style icons as diverse as the Hadid sisters, the Jenner-Kardashians, the Duchess of Cambridge — a longtime fan — Meghan Markle and Princess Charlene of Monaco have all been photographed sporting berets. Fashion critics also rejoiced at the beret’s revival with The Guardian declaring that it “may finally free us from our beanies”. Gucci and Marc Jacobs have also got in on the act, while Laulhere, the last historic French beret maker, has been at full stretch to keep up with demand.