Hats: Status, Style and Glamour

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9780847815722: Hats: Status, Style and Glamour

This survey on hats explores and illustrates every aspect of the subject. It catalogues the myriad styles from royal crowns to Rasta caps, and includes chapters on the etiquette of hats and the development of protective headgear. It recounts the achievements both of the great milliners of old, such as Caroline Reboux, Paulette, Lilly Dache, Schiaparelli, and Borsalino - and today's designers, including Philip Treacy, Philippe Model and Olivier Chanan. The text argues that, whilst they can be both glamorous and stylish, hats are also rich with significance for the societies which create them.

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Review:

A myriad of headware styles are cataloged, from crowns and helmets to caps and protective headgear. Besides providing a history of changing styles and hat makers, this includes plenty of insights on design changes, hat functions, and changing hat concepts. The result is more than just a singular volume on hat styles; but an expansive history which delves into many different avenues. -- Midwest Book Review

Anyone looking for a theme for a future World's Fair exhibit need look no further than this exciting book. Hats. Colin McDowell, an internationally recognized fashion historian, whose previous books were Shoes, Fashion and Fantasy, and the encyclopedic McDowell's Directory of Twentieth Century Fashion, opens Hats with a strong assertion: "All the basic hat shapes were created very early in the history of mankind. The author claims that in 500 years of headwear, even with changing scale, proportion and decoration, hats have remained basically two styles: brimmed and unbrimmed. However, readers may have a different viewpoint, turning the pages and taking a gander at the 15th century hennin from an annotated manuscript (c. 1477). Here's a towering hat that must be at least half the height of the beautiful woman portrayed wearing it. Unbrimmed, yes, but bizarre too. The author believes it possible that such high hennins came to us in painting as dramatizations of headwear that probably were much more prosaic in scale. I read this book from cover to cover and relished McDowell's cataloguing myriad styles, from royal crowns to skullcaps, tricornes to the creations of the great hat makers of our century. His sparkling style is appealing. We remember First Lady Jackie Kennedy wearing a pillbox hat that became fabulously fashionable. Kennedy's designer, Halston, adopted the pillbox hat that had been designed by Adrian for Greta Garbo in the 1932 film "As You Desire Me," and reinvented it for Jackie as America's crown substitute. Jackie Kennedy found it so flattering that it became her "signature" hat for all her official engagements. Not so lucky were other First Ladies. Eleanor Roosevelt was criticized for wearing too many hats, and other First Ladies were chastised for forgetting to wear a hat. In the 1950's, Bergdorf Goodman's millinery department was popular with jet-setters such as Elsa Maxwell, Mrs. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and women who would not dream of going to a luncheon, theater, or church without a hat, white gloves and proper attire. There was a time when no self-respecting woman would go without a hat to lunch, to church or to board a plane. Some lovely photographs illustrate bridal headware-symbolizing purity and majesty. We learn that "In Roman times, brides wore yellow veils; in the Middle Ages they garlanded their hair with freshly gathered flowers, but it was not until the 19th century that the bridal wreath and veil of the 'traditional' white wedding evolved. Bridal hats are a 20th century development. The book concludes with a chronology of hats, from before 1100 to 1990. Though in recent years, some believe millinery is dying, McDowell has photographs to prove otherwise in his examination of the bedrock of youth cultures and that talismanic youth hat--the baseball cap. Hats off to a wonderful book! -- From Independent Publisher

From Library Journal:

Following in the footsteps of his highly praised Shoes: Fashion and Fantasy ( LJ 5/15/90), McDowell tackles the subject of hats in the same witty, anecdotal manner. Not the typically chronological treatment of fashion history, this book discusses hats in the context of rank, social class and status, occupation, personality, and how fashion changes occurred. From crowns to bowlers, turbans to straw hats, head coverings are treated in their multidimensional forms and meanings. With an emphasis on creativity, 280 illustrations from contemporary and historical sources show the almost limitless possible variations upon basic forms and styles. As the first major book in a decade devoted solely to hats--Madeline Ginsburg's commendable The Hat: Trends and Traditions (Barron's, 1990) is aimed at younger readers--this survey is highly recommended, especially as it includes up-to-date milliners such as Philippe Model, Sybilla, and Carlos Lewis along with the classic Schiaparelli, Dache, and Lanvin.
- Therese D. Baker, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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