The beret is the hat of the moment in Paris


PARIS - The classic men's Basque beret is the hit hat of the season. Women are wearing them, on both the streets and the runways of the fall fashion showings. Designers are decorating the berets with high-style touches.

On the runways, berets topped off fall clothes in luxurious fabrics like velvet, brocade or cashmere. Valentino stuck quill feathers through them; Lacroix studded his with fake gemstones; Lagerfeld's for the House of Chanel were in fake leopard; Yamamoto's had a military mien.

Young Parisian women are wearing berets with heavy leather jackets and short, pleated skirts. Older women wear theirs with pleated skirts too, but the jackets are long and Chanel-like.

It's no wonder the beret has been taken up by women in such a big way. It is practical, can be folded and stuffed in a pocket and looks good pulled over all kinds of hairdos. Besides, berets have always had a --ing quality that has been further enhanced by the sight of them in the Persian Gulf as part of the military uniforms of several nations.

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