Christian Dior: Backstage - Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2017/2018
Christian Dior: Backstage - Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2017/2018
Image: Getty

Legendary tailoring accompanied military precision at the Dior Autumn/Winter 2017/2018 ready to wear collection in Paris. Teasing tulle skirts gathered at the bottom of sleek stiletto boots as each model that walked down the runway was crowned with what appeared to be victorious black leather berets.

It was soon after that, that Rihanna was snapped wearing the Dior leather beret and the trend was sealed: The beret revolution has begun and by next winter, we’ll all be sporting our own version of this incredibly wearable accessory.

Many other designer brands are in on the beret act which, naturally, adds a touch of polished sophistication as well as rebel cool to both women’s and men’s fashion.

Traditionally, the beret has been the sartorial symbol of French style as well as the intellectual set, and the modern beret has been worn by free-thinkers for as long as any of us can remember. Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso and John Lennon all loved a beret. Hollywood has also done beret time: Who can forget classic screen stars Faye Dunaway (Bonnie and Clyde) and Ingrid Bergman (Casablanca) and their feminine take on beret style. Fast forward to the 90s and supermodels Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista also did the beret proud in several magazine editorials.

Red, cream or teal coloured berets complement any outfit and looks great with classics

The beret’s military association has always leant it a sense of strength and authority and this is probably the reason for it becoming an important element in political fashion.

In South Africa, the beret became a symbol of political emancipation and revolution, so it should come as no surprise that in 2017, the beret is again being spotted in the forefront of protest marches for socio-economic change. Fashion is always a keen observer of social trends and this year saw Dior, Gucci and others capture the modest beret’s strength of character combined with timeless elegance in their wardrobes for a modern woman.

Marc Jacobs’ modern interpretation of the beret took inspiration from the 90s Kangol soft hat, while French fashion house Jacquemus played with the proportions of the beret, delivering a daring take on the French classic.

As the ultimate unisex accessory, the berets has also been embraced by those fashion labels that have moved into subtle unisex territory. Autumn/Winter 2017/2018 fashion shows for Louis Vuitton, Moschino, Prada and Missoni had male models march down the runways in strikingly cool variations of the headwear.

Street fashion has also noticed the beret and interpretations include every more glamour in materials that include glitter, bold colours, floral, plaid and the classic black. In South Africa, berets are not waiting for winter and both H&M and Top Shop are selling the modest little classic soft woollen hat. Vintage boutiques are also a great place to hunt for retro berets.

So, how to wear the beret in 2017? With Christmas party outfits ready to go, the beret is the perfect festive addition for a touch of contemporary chic. Dress up the classic black beret with knee high boots, trousers and a warm chunky sweater for a chilly night out. For a more dramatic look, swop out the plain beret for one that has metallic embellishments.

Red, cream or teal coloured berets complement any outfit and looks great with classics such as the leather jacket and trench coat. Glitter is a huge trend, so the glitter beret is a definite must have.

And finally, the most important tip of all: How to wear the beret is absolutely key to nailing the trend. Here’s how: The beret should be pulled fully over the head, covering half of the ears. Avoid the beret being overly jaunty else you might have to say au revoir to this season’s coolest accessory.

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