Thursday, March 8, 2012

Elsa Schiaparelli Hat from 1940

Let's take a closer look at that fabulous, drool worthy, blue and white hat by Elsa Schiaparelli.

This hat from 1940 is made from a straw base with a blue and white striped cotton covering. A matching blue and white striped bow and a red silk carnation complete the hat. Looks like there may be some kind of bow attached to the underside of the hat as well but it's hard to tell in the picture provided on the MET website. A black elastic helps secure the hat to the head. This is a common feature on hats meant to "perch" on top of the head. This kind of fastener is very discrete, especially if it matches your hair color.

MET Accession # 2009.300.1837
Description of the hat from the MET reads...
        "Red, white and blue are colors often used in nautical flags, and Schiaparelli has playfully interpreted those colors in this sailor-inspired doll hat from her summer 1940 collection. The traditional sailor hat has an even crown and is usually made of straw, but this feminine design, made of a jaunty striped cotton and straw, has a sloping crown, upturned brim and a decorative carnation, which throughout history has symbolized true love and affection. Red, white and blue are also the colors of the French flag and as World War II approached Paris (Paris would fall to Germany in June 1940) this hat could represent Schiaparelli's subtle salute to the French nation."

Here are some close ups of the bow and hat brim. I believe the striped fabric around the brim has some kind of stiffener in it. Possibly some milliners wire but it looks to have more structure than that. Perhaps a piece of basket canning or something similar? The image below also shows how finely woven the straw base of the hat is.

This last image is a nice view of the silk carnation. It looks so real doesn't it? This really is a perfect little hat for summer. Makes me wish the warmer weather would hurry up and get here.

1 comment:

  1. I am old enough to remember when hats were still worn fairly regularly on special occasions, and that black elastic string could also be tucked underneath your hair -- depending on your hairstyle, of course.


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