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The Maison Laulhère was created in 1830, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, by Lucien Laulhère.
Since making our first berets in 1840, we have not stopped manufacturing this legendary symbol of France, a product of unique ancestral heritage and extraordinary savoir-faire held only by a handful of specialists these days.
Our ambition is to keep modernizing the beret and to bring it to the forefront of fashion, year after year, while preserving the priceless inherited knowledge of which, today, our company is one of the last guardians.
Creating this outstanding product requires top-quality, hand-selected materials and a team of men and women well versed in the arts of knitting, fulling, felting, dyeing, ennobling and many other processes specific to the production of a Laulhère beret. All this savoir-faire led to the House of Laulhère being officially recognized with the labels Origine France Garantie (French Origin Guaranteed) and Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant (Living Heritage Company) in 2013.
In the beginning was the wool, obtained from the finest Merino sheep fleece then carded. This exceptional thread first needs to be knitted. This is a complex process due to the beret’s round shape, which means that the number of stitches needs to be carefully calibrated. Today, the knitting part is mechanized, thanks to looms designed internally at Laulhère, reproducing the traditional action as accurately as possible.
This step consists of closing the knit on the two edges to make a circular shape.
During this stage, the beret is pressed in warm soapy water. This fulling process creates a felt from the fibers, thus making the beret soft and tightening its stitching. Thanks to the unique properties of merino wool, whose fibers are covered in microscopic scales, the beret gets denser while its diameter gets smaller and the fabric becomes thick and water resistant yet breathable. The art of fulling is all about getting just the right stretch and resistance.
We work with natural, off-white, carded wool. The deep, dazzling tones made famous by our company are achieved through pigments mixed by our master dyers, according to a top-secret formula. Other than the dye composition, the result depends on various variables that must be fine-tuned, such as the quality of the thread and water, the temperature and the duration of the soak. The science of dyeing our berets has been perfected with decades of experience.
After it comes out of the dye bath, two wooden semi-circles are placed inside the beret, which give it its final diameter once dry.
Scratching, shaving and decatizing give the woolen felt its fluffy texture and unusual soft feel.
The berets are then finished off with various embellishments: the “coiffe” to line the inside of the beret, generally made of satin, the leather band to determine the head circumference, the colorful ribbon traditionally called the “bouffette”, the woven label sewn onto the coiffe to give the beret its identity… and then, finally, there are all the little details we add to our much-loved berets to make them unique!
Then there is the final stage before the beret gets our stamp of approval: the grooming part where, as the name suggests, all final preparations and checks are made to make sure that the beret is impeccable, both in appearance and to the touch. Even though the beret is checked at every stage of its production, there may still be a little particle stuck in the wool fibers, which is removed with tweezers before the beret is given a final once-over with a vegetable fiber brush.