Hats: Contemporary and of the Past.

Hat-thought has occupied quite a bit of my brain-space – for two years now – though I’ve been intrigued by hats since the unveiling of some my Nana inherited from a Great-Aunt when I was a teen.  I’ve read about, made, and researched hats and millinery history.  For a time, millinery played a wallflower role, but now circumstances seem right again for hats to make an appearance.

Before attending the Savannah College of Art and Design fashion show this year, I created this small dressmaker hat “Cameo” – worn here by my charming model… but you’ll also see it in my shadow silhouette below.

Cameo has an asymmetric design defined with black piping and black buttonhole-twist hand-stitching.

Cameo Hat made this year for SCAD fashion show visit. Millinery design by  Toile La La.

Toile La La wearing Cameo Hat in Savannah, GA.

The Cameo Hat perched fixed at an angle on my head, with the strength of a snapped-in-half dime-store comb and two bobby pins – all of which I stitched inside the hat using thin elastic thread.  Since my hair is straight, not curly like that of my charming model, I twisted it into a ballerina bun and and anchored the hat against it with the comb.  You’ll see the model is wearing a headband under the hat – but that was merely to keep her bangs out of her lashes.

For hat-security, I did consider using a millinery-specific elastic at the back of the hat, but didn’t have time to search for elastic to match my hair – although black would have worked fine.

Recent trips to Chicago, Illinois and Denver, Colorado prompted a lot of hat thoughts – as I wore a store-bought sunhat which was determined to either sail off my head or shield my vision like horse-blinders.  It did however provide good sun-protection, shielding my eyes, face, neck and shoulders.  The problems it created did set the gears of my designing-mind whirring:  Is it better to have a hat that ties under the chin.  How do you design a hat that protects the face without obstructing the vision in each turn of the head?  What materials can be used to screen the sun and still permit air-flow?

As it seems most of our hat-wearing in recent decades has been either decorative (for instance, at the Kentucky Derby) – utilitarian sports or job-specific (baseball-type caps with tight bands or cowboy hats), these practical aspects of hat-wearing have rarely been addressed.

In the past, hat-wearers utilized built-in elastic or ribbon bands and of course – hatpins.  The pinning of the hatpin seems to be a skill acquired through practice, but I did find a very nice Vixen Vintage post with hatpin how-tos, so here’s a link.

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