Designers have gone overboard for the sailor look for spring.
This newest revival of an old favorite started two years ago in St. Tropez, the French Riviera city that acts as a visual aid and inspiration to American designers and manufacturers. White jeans, middy shirts, sailor stripes and a heavy dose of navy and white, much of it from surplus stores, were favorites of those on holiday in that resort town. It was one of several themes young Europeans were wearing, along with western and Indian looks.
Yves Saint Laurent has never strayed far from the nautical nuance, and this spring he underscored the theme by making the white teacup hat worn by navy enlisted men his pet accessory for many daytime costumes. Italy's Gianfranco Ferre reinterpreted the navy scheme with sailor colors and collars, including a deep white collar on several outfits that Ferre dubbed his "lifesaver" collar.
It didn't take long for American designers to co-opt the new sailor look because of the generous use of white, the clean stripes and familiar shapes. The look is showing up in Washington stores in every price range and every style, from sleepwear to dressy clothes.
Gianfranco Ferre's lifesaver collar jacket and slim navy skirt, above, at Linea Pitti (Georgetown Park).
Liz Claiborne's variation on the nautical look includes sailor blouson and striped T-shirt, above right. Her clothes are carried by several Washington stores.
Yves Saint Laurent's sailor theme carried out in a navy pea jacket, white pants and a red sailor's hat, left, at Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Boutique (Chevy Chase).