Laulhère , The reference name in French berets since 1840.

At Laulhère we understand that quality requires an excellence that comes from human intervention and attention to detail.

Our hand crafted production, our culture and our 175 years of existence make Laulhère a very unique brand. The Laulhère factory stands on the same spot since its creation in 1840, nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenées Mountains in a town called Oloron-St-Marie.

Some history

The Beret… A national symbol  for the French and recognized the world over, The beret is so closely knit into the French culture its now a part of our DNA. Our goal is to protect and conserve this unique headwear by respecting a centuries old tradition, 175 years and counting. Our manufacturing process has evolved in some aspects but 80%of the production is still hand crafted using machines that where built on-site and a “know-how” handed down from generation to generation. Oloron-St-Marie was once the epicenter of beret producers and today Laulhère is the very last.

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The « Basque » beret is in fact a “Bearn” beret (a neighboring region). It was the Bearn shepherds that first hand knit the beret and felted the wool in the mountain waters producing a remarkably robust hat that protected against the harsh sun and cold winters.
The term “Basque beret” became fashionable when Napoleon III became intrigued by this curious hat on his frequent visits to Biarritz where he built the beautiful Palais de Biarritz. Many of the laborers wore the useful flat hat for the same reasons the Bearn shepherds did. Thus the term Basque beret became fashionable and because the Basque people are seasoned travelers the name was exported all around the globe.
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The first major change happened when the military understood that the qualities in a beret where perfect for combat heavy use. Its practical side and the potential of identification on the battlefield made it a must for most armies. From there the little beret spilled back into civilian life and was adopted by the working class for the same reasons as the shepherds. Many moved to the cities to join the industrial age and brought the beret along with them.
Oloron-St-Marie, already a major center for textiles and wools since the middle ages became the world’s biggest producer of berets. This was due to its history with wool and textile trading and the geographic magic of the mountain water that runs through the Aspe valley and the Ossau valley.
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Image par Papitou sur CPArama.com
Mr Lucien Laulhère founded the Laulhère factory in Oloron Ste Marie. From the first year the business took off with a huge demand for berets both domestic and internationally. His sons Joachim and Adrien took over under the name “Laulhère Frères” and registered numerous patents for berets like the Zebra beret in 1895 or the famous flat cap beret cap in 1898.
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The wearing of the beret developed and spilled over into different social classes with almost no barriers between class or age worn both the young and old and rich and poor. In Paris just like in Hollywood the women’s beret shot into the limelight thanks to stars like Greta Garbo.
The Laulhère factory continued expanding thanks to the purchase of modern knitting machines.
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Laulhère was able to diversify its business from the 1940’s thanks to the famous combat beret developed by Laulhère with the French army and later with the new ladies fashion collection of merino wool hats.
Always eager to master its production process, the company developed their own machines and processes and kept on registering new patents.
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In 2011 the factory was awarded the rights to work and supply the Nato group of members with a military grade combat range.
The House of Laulhère is now the only beret-maker that makes its berets entirely in France and uses traditional processes.

This unique know-how has passed from generation to generation for nearly two centuries, to Laulhère who are now the only ones to master the entire process. It was recognised in 2012 by being awarded the Living Heritage Enterprise label (EPV) which promotes French know-how and excellence, and the Guaranteed Made in France label (Origine France Garantie) shared by only 350 companies that meet the stringent specifications for made-in-France claims.

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Laulhère is now the only remaining beret-maker in France, and has a unique and exceptionally ancient heritage. With the takeover of its sibling Blancq-Olibet in 2013, Laulhère now embodies the entire tradition with a mission to preserve this invaluable cultural practice as part of France’s heritage and is working to resurrect the beret in France and around the world.
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A Noble Product

With unsurpassed raw materials, traditional hand-crafted production, and age-old know-how, Laulhère’s workshops all come together to make the beret a noble product. It takes two full working days to make one, and sometimes longer, and a vast number of checks and adjustments to make each item a unique piece.

Our products are made of pure Merino virgin wool from the best flocks around the world. A noble and living raw material which through a complex manufacturing process gives us the high quality we are famous for: softness, water resistance and durability, thanks to exceptionnaly fine and sense fibres.

The products are knitted and felted using naturally brown raw wool, then are dyed with mixtures of pigments based on recipes perfected in-house over the years. The process demands great care and dexterity to make sure the dye “takes” evenly across the entire surface of the beret and reaches the exact colour desired, again and again. But it also achieves beautiful depth and brightness.

The unique dying, shaping, and shaving processes all add to our particular quality. At every stage our quality team verifies every little detail in order to achieve the high standards that Laulhère proudly advertise.

The following stages vary according to the type of interior required.
The traditional Beret is double lined and garnished with an embroidered label, its leather headband, and the lace cross in yellow or red.

The military Berets are made to exacting requirements defined by each regiment. They are usually thicker and can vary in color, diameter, badge hold position etc.

Our fashion hats can be embroidered or decorated with various elements such as ribbons, metal decorations or buttons.

Over time we introduced another fine material with outstanding qualities, the Angora wool which we use to make our fashion items like hats, scarves and gloves – always with the same concern for detail.

This amazing know-how is of course offered to our fashion clients for their own collections and custom-made projects.

The collections

There’s a magic in every piece of headwear: nice-looking on a table, it takes on a life of its own and transforms us when we put it on. We are never quite the same, as we have never been as close to something that defines us so profoundly. Its characteristics reinforce our personality and drive us to express it even more. When it comes to headwear, the beret has a place of its own in the hearts of the French. Being part of their history and collective unconscious in many ways, for them it will always mean more.

Woman

Made popular by the movie stars of the 30’s and 40’s “Le Beret Femme” is still today a fashion accessory to be reckoned with. This humble garment has been reinvented so many times by some of the world’s greatest fashion designers.
One if its unique charms is its ability to reflect the wearer’s mood of the moment, fun and light hearted, femme fatale or urban chic, this simple garment can say it all.
Our strength is built on our range development and amazing palette of colors carefully selected by our designers. Our raw materials like Pure Merino wools and Angora can be found throughout our range of hats, gloves and scarfs and the same exacting attention to detail brings it all together.

Man

The more luxurious the beret, the more production steps it takes to offer exceptional finishes, feel and longevity. Laulhère offers three ranges of Men’s berets in classic black, marine blue and brown with, inside, emboidered labels that span the years testifying to an age-old tradition.
Laulhère has also relaunched the beret-cap that the Laulhère brothers designed in the late 19th century. This beret-like cap sits naturally in the right position on the head, immediately giving its owner an urban, contemporary look. The classic beret, it is true, demands a bit more experience to position it stylishly.

Fashion manufacturing

Our total control and understanding of the manufacturing process makes Laulhère a unique and rare business partner. This know-how has enabled Laulhère to work with some of the fashion world’s brightest stars. Our technical team is capable of working hand in hand with you from a simple idea to a fully developed design or creation. We can handle your headwear requirements from design to prototype and offer you and your clients a 100% made in France experience.
Feel free to contact us for any bespoke project.

Coverage

Laulhère to present its new Fall-Winter 2014-2015 collection

Laulhère, the last remaining historic French beret manufacturer, has chosen … Read more

Laulhère in the show Le Grand Journal on Canal +!

Berets Laulhère received the Antoine de Caunes exceptional support Wednesday … Read more