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:

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

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