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Posts Tagged ‘hats’

IMG_20170821_171928Your new hat is small … and round … and deep … made of melusine … the silky soft felt that is this year’s fashion sensation … in the subtle shades of a degas painting … flattering and romantic … from a collection … millinery, second floor. 

Agnes Farrell, fashion director & advertising director at Bullocks Wilshire, 1930s-1960s.

Speaking of a Degas painting, there’s a little more time left to catch Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. On now through September 24, 2017.

Click here to read my review.

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Degas, The Milliners. 1882.

For those of us who love our hats the current exhibit on at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco is a must see.

Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade is an exploration of hats in Paris reflected in the works of Impressionists including Degas, who himself came from a fashion oriented family, Renoir, Cassatt, Manet, and Toulouse-Lautrec among others.

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Degas, Portrait of Zacharian. 1885.

Each of these artists took an interest in the making of hats and the women who wore them. Among the 40 works of art are images of milliners at work, hat shops, and women in conversation donning spectacular chapeaux often draped in ribbons or topped with colorful plumes. But what about les hommes? They are represented as well looking oh so dashing in top hats, bowlers, and boaters too.

The array of paintings come from Musée d’Orsay, the Art Institute of Chicago, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the St. Louis Museum of Art and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Hats were an essential accessory at the time for both men and women. Business was booming with 1000 milliners working in the city of Paris during the hat’s peak, 1875-1914. The hats themselves were glamorous as were the ladies who wore them, but for the milliners and shop girls life was hard work and long hours – a part of the story Degas in particular wanted to tell.

Degas_MKT_38I liked seeing the large and beautiful posters of the era by Toulouse-Lautrec, selling products with ladies in hats. In each room there are also display cases of hats. A collection of 40, including boaters and bonnets, bowlers and everyone’s favorite – the Picture Hat, which has a very large brim and is often adorned with lace, silk flowers, feathers, birds, you name it!

The exhibit is a manageable size allowing for a second walk-around, if desired.  The day I visited I was a little taken aback by what I fear might be a growing trend in museums – selfies and photos of oneself taken by another.

There was an older woman all dolled up in a hat, who asked other attendees to take a photo of her in front of EVERY SINGLE piece of work in the exhibit. My friend and I were looking at one painting when this woman walked right in front of us and stood by the piece, posing for a photo completely oblivious to our presence. A group of young girls were darting around taking selfies in front various works. It was an interruption to our experience and I have to wonder if these photo-hounds have any real interest in art.

I understand that museums are trying to appeal to everyone and apparently allowing selfies is one way to get people in the door, but at what cost? I think we have a problem when it becomes all about the viewer and the art is simply a background for someone’s photo.

That aside, as an appreciator of art and museums, and one mad woman for hats, I thoroughly enjoyed this exhibit.

Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade on now through September 24, 2017 at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.

Click here for more details.

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There are many hatmakers who just make hats, and who don’t think about the fashion. I love thinking about the fashion, and the crazy thing about fashion is that every six months you have to reinvent yourself. Fashion makes sense when it matches the mood and the moment. It’s about the now.

Stephen Jones, English Milliner

This year Mr. Jones celebrates his 60th birthday and 40 years making hats!
Jones has made remarkable hats and fascinators for everyone from Boy George and Isabella Blow to Princess Diana and most recently Pippa Middleton. He has worked with designers John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier and Marc Jacobs to name just a few, while also maintaining his own line of hats.
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One of my favorite Stephen Jones hats from Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2012.

 

A Club Boy back in the 70s, Jones studied at St. Martin’s in London. He began making hats for friends in 1977 and hasn’t looked back since. Today he creates head-turning masterpieces in his studio/shop located in an 18th century Convent Garden building. (What a perfect spot for inspiration.)

Congratulations to Stephen Jones. Here’s to may more years of fabulous hats!!

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Downton Abbey fan Lynnie Morgan donning one of her favorite hats. Photo courtesy of Lynnie Morgan.

One day in January I was waiting  in line at the post office when a nice looking woman walked in and stood behind me. After just a few seconds I felt a tap on my shoulder,

“Excuse me, are you a fan of Downton Abbey?”
“Yes, I watch Downton Abbey,” I replied.
“Oh I thought so, with your coat and hat.”
I was wearing a narrow fitting grey tweed coat and my old standby cloche-style cap, also in grey.
Of course we got talking and it turns out that my new friend Lynnie is not just a fan of DA but also of hats. In fact, it was the popular PBS show that inspired her to start sporting hats herself. She’s now an avid collector of vintage style chapeaux of all kinds. Lynnie is busy running her own licensed  daycare, Bunny Run but she was nice enough to take time for a Q&A with me about Downton Abbey and hats.
Have you been watching Downton Abbey from the beginning?
 I’ve been watching Downton Abbey from Season 3.  I streamed and binge-watched seasons 1 and 2. 
How did you hear about it?
I saw an ad for Downton on PBS. 
Are you a regular PBS viewer? 
HUGE PBS fan! I currently am watching not only Downton but Mercy Street as well as Antique Road Show.
What is it about DA that has grabbed you?
I love that era, setting, relationships, clothing and of course, the hats!
And now you collect hats – why hats in particular?
The hats on Downton Abby were just so beautiful. I looked for similar styles whenever we traveled. 
Did you ever sport hats before?
I have a lot of hair – my mother was Greek – so the hats I had worn before always made me overheat so I wasn’t particularly drawn to them in the past. Now I know better what looks good on me and what types of materials to choose.
How many hats in your collection and were do you find them? 
I have seventeen hats in my collection.  I Google “Hats” in the towns that we visit.  Monterey has a wonderful millinery shop as does Santa Rosa.  There is a ladies shop in Healdsburg that has FABULOUS hats – I believe it is called Bella’s and a giftshop in Solvang that has a wonderful selection.  Copperopolis by Angles Camp has a gift shop that has a small selection of nice hats, too!
Where do you don your hats? 
I wear my hats to church, out with girlfriends, and for weddings and other special occasions.
Do people comment?

Oh my goodness, people say the nicest things to me!  But they also say, “Oh I can’t wear hats.  They don’t look good on me.  But you look just darling in yours!!!”  I always thank them then tell them that they CAN wear hats, but that they have to figure out which style best suits their face shape and the style they like best!

What’s your favorite hat style? 
I like wide brimmed Garden Party hats like my fuchsia hat, but my very favorite is my straw cloche with a turned brim and flowers or embellishments on the side.
Since, Lynnie, you jumped ahead and now know all about the last episode of Downton Abbey, without any spoilers, please tell us a little bit about what we can expect.
You can expect the most brilliant writing from Julian Fellows!  You will feel complete peace and everlasting joy for the Crawleys, Barrows, Mosley and Baxter, Anna and Bates, cousin Isobel & Lord Merton (with help form Violet), Daisy and her new fellow, Andy (who in real life is dating Laura Carmichael, aka Edith)  not to mention Mrs. Patmore and Mr.  Mason.  There is no way I can not make this a spoiler!  Wasn’t it Shakespeare who said, “All’s well that ends well”?  Let’s just leave it at that!


Thank you, Lynnie. And keep sportin’ those hats!

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Image by Kristen Caven.

Image by Kristen Caven.

It’s National Hat Day. I’ve got mine. How about you?

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Photo: Richard Aiello

Photo: Richard Aiello

Once I read a story about a butterfly on the subway and today, I saw one. It got on at 47th and off at 59th where I assume it was going to Bloomingdale’s to buy a hat, which will turn out to be a mistake as almost all hats are.

– Kathleen Kelly, children’s book shop owner and fictional character in the 1998 film, You’ve Got Mail. Screenplay by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron.

Clearly, the Ephron sisters were not hat gals.

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Tyrone Power & Norma Varden in Witness for the Prosecution.

I’m constantly surprised that women’s hats do not provoke more murders.

– Charles Laughton as Sir Wilfrid Robarts in Witness for the Prosecution, the 1957 film based on Agatha Christie’s stage play.

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