In addition to well being advantages — though not in the way in which the Victorians prescribed — Britain’s coast has supplied sartorial and design inspiration by way of the ages.
As an island nation, Britain has channelled the coastal couture vibe through manufacturers equivalent to Fats Face, Seasalt, Celtic & Co, Finisterre and White Stuff — which pay greater than a passing nod to the shoreline.
It hasn’t all the time been that means.
Feared, revered, plundered for its booty, Britain’s appreciation for its seashores as locations of leisure got here solely within the wake of the commercial revolution. Earlier than that, there was no idea of going to the seaside.
Medical doctors more and more advocated “taking the waters”, and the seaside turned extra widespread all through the 18th Century. The growth of railways gave rise to holidays and daytrips to the coast — “glamorous” locations — and an entire new wardrobe was born.
Bloomers, seaside pyjamas, natty outfits for strolling, boating and bathing — there was an inflow of recent fashions. Some had been considerably extra relaxed and daring than the conservative kinds of the day.
A few of these early ensembles reside on within the smooth, Empire-inspired Indian pyjamas reinvented as palazzo pants or floaty hareem trousers.
Maybe probably the most well-known seaside vogue necessities is the Breton striped high. Usually a cotton high with blue or navy stripes, it hails from Britany in northern France, the place it was naval uniform. In 1858, the shirt boasted 21 stripes, one for every of Napoleon’s victories. (The stripes additionally made it simpler to identify seamen who had fallen overboard.)
However the shirt didn’t have any vogue cred till Coco Chanel noticed one. The legendary French designer included the stripes in her 1917 come-back assortment. Her designs, which aimed to raise leisure put on and break free from the closely corseted vogue of the time, endlessly modified informal womenswear.
Jerome Pugh, UK gross sales agent for a spread of French and Italian producers, distributes manufacturers usually bought within the boutiques and shops of UK seaside cities. His model portfolio contains Mousqueton, Travaux En Corps and iconic seaside shoe model Les Mauricettes.
“Coastal vogue all the time had its distinctive id,” he says, “with a lot of the inspiration coming from workwear and industrial clothes. It has been tailored over time by nice designers equivalent to Coco Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier and extra lately Barbour.
“This high-end affect filters down and informs a extra laid-back model for the excessive road or the seaside boutique market.” Of his high three manufacturers, he describes Mousqueton as “a vibrant and vibrant label”.
“Travaux En Corps is known for its Borsalino hats, that are comprised of texturized paper. And Les Mauricettes create effortlessly elegant, cozy seaside sandals and sneakers impressed by the south of France. Even their packaging has a nautical really feel — they typically include their very own hessian bag.”
The manufacturers that Pugh represents are discovered throughout the UK coast — however he singles out the Mumbles and Pembrokeshire as up-and-coming areas. Probably the most unspoiled, too.
By Naomi Snelling