Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Eighteenth Century Calash Bonnet.

The November 2012 Vogue issue includes an interesting Bidding Farewell essay by Hamish Bowles, giving account of his love for artful objects and the process of downsizing / refining his collection via a Bonhams auction.

Bowles says: “I feel that I can confidently say that I may well have been the only nine-year-old in the country who knew what a calash was – let alone possessed one.”  We can probably agree with him.

For some time though, the calash has fascinated me with its similarity to the folding canopy of wagons of that time – and also for its similarity to hoop or crinoline skirts.  Ribbed, the calash – or caleche (“carriage” in French) – bonnet was collapsible and worn to protect elaborate, towering and / or large hairstyles of the eighteenth century.

It is interesting to note that within the same magazine is a very pretty Chanel advertisement, with a bonnet looking quite like a calash:


Chanel advertisement with bonnet quite like a calash or caleche. November 2012 Vogue.

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Tracing the Origin of Fashion Trends.

Analyzing fashion trends, one must wear many hats – so to speak.  Pinpointing the birth of fashion trend phenomena requires the keen observation skills of the anthropologist, the historian, and the detective –  the keen eye of an artist – a finely-honed memory – and an aptitude for research. 

Tracing  fashion trend footprints back to their origin often leads to not just one, but many sources.

Today’s world, with its media archives, museums, vast libraries, and digital sources – presents infinite design inspiration.   Compare this to fashion design of the distant past – which referenced and mimicked dress of the nobility, for instance, or new developments in textiles, or architectural silhouettes.  

Now, we frequently see the reemergence of fashion trends and of style silhouettes – sometimes with no divergence from the original – if it is at all possible to pinpoint “the” original. 

One might be justified in saying the trends resulting from certain social climates and cultural conditions will likely reoccur when similar social climates and cultural condition exist.  However, even keen observation of these conditions may overlook “trend pockets” or fashion subcultures (goth, steampunk, or cosplay enthusiasts for example).

Whether it is possible to accurately forecast fashion trends years ahead of time – is a question that arises.   It is possible to assess social conditions, popular culture, market analyses, textile, technological, and production innovations… (to name a few determinant factors), and then make an informed prediction.  

Ultimately, without literally seeing into the future – without knowing the events, iconic personalities, or innovations of the future – we cannot give a definitive forecast.

However, here are three ways we can view the evolution of fashion trends:

  1. We can view the development of fashion trends of the recent past.
  2. We can see the development of fashion trends in the near future.
  3. We can observe the often prescient view of the future through the eyes of film visionaries, and we can expect to see at least a few trends occur as a direct result of these films.

How Fashion Reflects The TimesThe Origin of Trends – an Art Fashion Creation link to a scholarly paper analyzing  the development of fashion trends in the recent past.  Written in the ’90s –  viewing the development of trends to that point and predicting trends for the year 2000.

Predicting Future Fashion TrendsCostume Design in Futuristic Films, an August 27 2012 article by Katarina Gligorijevic – published at Toronto Film Scene.

Predicting Future Fashion, Doe Deere Blogazine December 15 interview with fashion trend forecaster Glendy Del Cid.

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Bob Dylan’s Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat.

Have you ever heard the song?

Dylan sings:

“Well, you must tell me baby

How your head feels under somethin like that

Under your brand new

leopard skin pill box hat

Well, you look so pretty in it

Honey, can I jump on it sometime

Yes, I just wanna see if it’s

really that expensive kind”

The lyrics are humorous. The last bit makes the hat sound a lot bigger than a pillbox hat, though: “… it balances on your head, Just like a mattress balances on a bottle of wine”.

I’ve tried to imagine a really chic leopard skin hat.  However the thought of Dylan jumping up and down on a hat, testing its worth, produces a more interesting image than any leopard skin pillbox hat.

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