Paris, Musée national de la Marine

From the mid 1800s to the present, naval uniform has influenced fashion more than any other military attire. The Musée national de la Marine and the repository of the Commissariat de la Marine in Toulon reveal their collections, including rare archive pieces that reveal the original inspiration for one of fashion’s favorite styles.

Queen Victoria first dressed her royal offspring in miniature sailor outfits, setting a trend throughout Europe. Breton striped jerseys, middy blouses, pea coats and bell-bottom pants have all since been embraced by world leading couturiers. When Gabrielle Channel opened her boutique in the French seaside resort, Danville, in 1913, her effortlessly elegant sailor-inspired loungewear spawned the fashion for nautical chic. In the 1960s Yves Saint Laurent brought the style back to the fore, followed by Jean Paul Gautier and Levin, to name but a few followers of the celebrated look. This season Bal main is the latest advocate of mariner fashion. Film footage, catwalk shots, paintings prints and posters illustrate why every girl loves a sailor.

February 25 through July 26, 2009
17 place du Trocadéro
75016 Paris
T. +33 (0)1 53 65 69