The txapela is no longer a thing of our grandparents: this is how these women from Biscay wear it with style

The beret is a classic that is back in fashion. Brigitte Bardot and Lauren Bacall made her an icon. Madonna and Rihanna claimed her in her most rogue version. And today the protagonists of the series ‘Emily in Paris’ and the film ‘Rebecca’, both from Netflix, have placed her back in the spotlight. The txapela that our grandparents wore is back so that the drops of water would slide off them and protect them from the sun, but also to go to the garden, go to mass on Sundays or dress up on the day that they were supposed to be groomsmen at a wedding. The beret is today an object of desire in the whimsical world of trends, the definitive complement to those who know more about fashion.

In Gorostiaga Hats, at number 9 Víctor Street, they have been selling berets since 1858 and other headdresses that cannot be retired. “90% of the ones we have are from Elósegui Berets”, says Emilio Pirla, seventh generation and owner together with his brother Iñaki of this family business in Casco Viejo. For women, they have the Dame model, which costs 21.50 euros and they ship up to 40 colors. Of course, it triumphs in the shades “intense pink, light garnet, light beige and mustard”. “This beret is a youth accessory that is worn from 14-year-olds to 60-year-old women,” says Emilio.

The 'Dame' model, for women and available in 40 colors, from Elósegui Boinas.
The ‘Dame’ model, for women and available in 40 colors, from Elósegui Boinas.

For men, Gorostiaga Hats have berets of “seven sizes, six qualities and five colors”: black, navy blue, bilbao blue, light blue and red. They are sold from 9.50 euros – “the popular quality, which is used to dress up” – up to 52.50 the most expensive. Of course, the most sold for men It is the ‘Super luxury’, which is “waterproof and thick, with a lot of wool”; and it costs 39.50 euros. The ‘Pirineo’ model also triumphs, actually a cap knitted as if it were a beret. «It is available in Bilbao blue, black, brown and gray. Men especially like it, because women prefer happier tones », explains Emilio.

Elósegui berets have been manufacturing this garment since 1858, now a trend. That year the first beret factory on the peninsula was born in Tolosa. Antonio Elósegui, a man ahead of his time, was the founder of the company and a benchmark of the time who knew how to see the potential of a supplement whose use until then was limited to some areas of the border with France. Around 1900, Elósegui employed 300 people and sold 3,000 txapelas a day. Today daily sales total 600 units around the world (even in Japan), about 220,000 a year, with a workforce of 25 workers.

Of course, the famous Toulouse brand, the last manufacturer still in business at the state level, has known how to adapt to the new times. His classic black beret continues to be a success, a sure value among his most loyal customers, but years ago this company decided to recycle itself and hire young creators to help them launch new proposals. On its website, you can discover the ten models available for women in all imaginable colors and with very affordable prices starting at 21 euros. More than 160 years later, they continue to make “the Rolls Royce of berets”: they are made of 100% merino wool, that is, they warm, do not soak in water and do not sting.

Anchored between the Parisian cliché and the nostalgia for some of the greatest fashion icons of the 20th century, we do not always know how to transfer the beret to our day-to-day looks. We are looking for inspiration to take them in these four Biscay with style:

Ana Antolín: «It is the perfect complement, it allows you to play with colors and make it seem that every day you change your look»

Ana Antolín dresses how she feels, regardless of other people’s glances, demonstrating on her Instagram profile, ‘Anantolinfifty’, that elegance is a matter of attitude. He takes care of the details in each of his looks and recognizes that the berets are his “downfall”. “I love them, they are my favorite accessory for autumn-winter and, also, affordable for my pocket,” he says.. And he acknowledges that he wears them in all possible textures and colors: “I have the complete Pantone in my closet.” All are from Elósegui Berets, except for a couple of them. “When I dress in more sober colors, I add an extra color to the styling with the beret, but other times I also like to combine it with the shades of the other garments,” he says. The same is put “with jeans” that “with a skirt or a dress of the most ‘lady'”. “It is the perfect complement, because it allows you to play with colors and make it seem that every day you change your look,” says the 53-year-old fashion lover.

Carmen Gimeno: «The beret combines with everything, it is not necessary to wear a very French look to wear it»

Carmen Gimeno almost always wears sneakers, wears ‘low cost’ clothes and has long since stopped being a slave to the hairdresser to show off her natural gray hair. This 57-year-old graduate in Fine Arts, professor of technical, artistic and plastic drawing at the Nuestra Señora del Carmen school in Portugalete, stands out for her elegant simplicity and her desire to express her creativity through fashion. A passion that lives intuitively, with an eclectic style so personal that it is difficult to define and imitate. And yes, she can’t do without her beret collection either. «I have a lot, in all colors. I’ve been using them for years and I think it’s the type of hat that suits me the most », bill. In his opinion, this accessory “goes with everything and it is not necessary to wear a very French look to show them off.” «They give an elegant touch to the outfits, which today are more relaxed. I like to add a note of contrast to the beret, that is, I wear a coat in earth tones, a beige sweater, jeans … and an orange beret!»His collection belongs mainly to the firm Boinas Elósegui, but lately he has also bought several at El Corte Inglés.

Miren González de Mendialdua: “You can wear a beret with a suit jacket, but also with a tracksuit”

At 58, Miren González de Mendialdua claims that “maturity has a fantastic style” and demonstrates it with the daring and sophisticated looks that she shares every day in Instagram with his nearly 15,000 followers. This Bilbao stylist and art director in fashion shows is considered the queen of accessories, which are “those that give personality to a look.” For this reason, she is also a fan of berets: “I will be 50 quietly, in all imaginable colors,” she confesses. They fascinate him because they give «a barbarous style even to a basic style». “Also, if one day your hair is less groomed, they help you hide it,” he adds. His are mainly from Elósegui Berets, but he also has a more original model from the designer Mercedes de Miguel. “It is a perfect accessory for winter, you can wear a beret with a suit jacket, a pearl necklace and heels, but also with a tracksuit.”

Yolanda Paredes: «Berets bring a very ‘chic’ and Parisian air to the look»

The beret is an essential in Yolanda Paredes’ wardrobe. This Bilbao magistrate of the Provincial Court, known as adri4me On Instagram, he becomes an inspiration for his thousands of followers every day thanks to his innate gift to perceive trends and adapt them perfectly to his stylized silhouette. And, for that reason, Yolanda also fell for the accessory of the moment for a long time. «I have always liked to complete winter looks with hats, berets, caps … I think that French berets add a very ‘chic’ and Parisian air to styling. I have them in different colors and fabrics: red, boiler, blue, wool, velvet, corduroy … and I always wear them with my hair down ». She thinks that they bring “a plus of sophistication to the outfit” and does not hesitate to wear them with jeans and sneakers, although she is fascinated by “the feminine touch” that a beret “adds to a skirt, be it pencil or ‘mini'”. He recognizes that in any store that sees a beautiful one, he buys it, but he has a reference store in the town: the Albero Hats store at the Abando Hotel.


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