Roaring 20's Vintage Hats & more
Those Famous Cloches
In researching for this guide, there were many interesting facts that might surprise you.
Did you know the Roaring Twenties actually began on Armistice Day in 1919, a time of frivolity shown by many, especially the flapper. The true flapper might dance 'til dawn, then go for a bootleg nightcap at the local speakeasy and for each event she would wear a carefully chosen hat, most of the times it would be cloche or skullcap
The cloche was worn so close to the head, over the somewhat scandalous bobbed haircut and low on the brow. It could be made from felt, straw or any stiff fabric. If trimmed it was worn to one side, sort of an asymmetrical look. It was trouble for the matronly type woman who felt scandalized by flappery and would have opted for he toque, turban or Pamela hat. One thing seemed the same, most all the hats came down close to the brow in the 20's.
In 1920's to the scandal of many, came the revolution of short skirts. A new woman had come into existence. The new erotic ideal was androgynous (blending masculine and feminine style) that made women look as much like boys as possible. How could you distinguish a young woman from a schoolboy except perhaps her rouged lips eye brows. The fashionable woman of the 20's wanted to look youthful, almost like a pubescent schoolgirl, flat chested and hipless and at the same time she wanted independence and freedom. These factors forced changes in fashion. The bob of the early 20's was abandoned for the shingle, which made the coiffure flow much more closely the lines of the head. Even older women were compelled to conform because the cloche hat which had now become universal made it almost impossible to have long hair.
Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli
Twenties was undoubtedly Coco Chanel's "day in the sun" as the fashion news icon. She was only rivaled a few years later by the astonishing figure of Elsa Schiaparelli. These two women were not merely fashion designers; they formed an important part of the whole artistic movement of the time. Coco Chanel was well known designer of cloche hats with its characteristic bell shape and crown hugging fit, but she also satisfied the ladies with such classic and simple styles as the boater and beret. Elsa Schiaparelli create the "shocking pink" with the most brilliant pink anyone had ever seen. Even her hat boxes were "shocking pink". She created a icon for herself.
So Many Changes.....were they ready
The changes in women's clothing and hats were almost radical from 1919 through 1929. The corseted women of the previous decade, their hobble skirts and huge hats, looked as if they came from another world when compared to the "modern" woman of the second half of the decade as the 1920's began. A new and potent influence came into fashion at this time. It was American films and it remained at its peak for nearly two decades. ladies wanted to look like their favorite film stars and it was the aim of new young women for films were the chief entertainment of the public. The film influence was tremendous.
Cinema Screen Stars
One of the chief film creator of film fashions was the famous, "Adrian of Hollywood", who dressed innumerable successful films int he great cinema era of the "twenties and later". Hats were also part of the screen look and appeal. Among the stars who screen fashions were created by him all the big names of those days, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Rosalind Russell and many more, all idols beyond compare. Garbo's page boy "bob" and the slouch hats and coats which were almost non-fashions spread 'round the world.
Every shop in Paris sold cloche hats and they were in immense demand. The Europeans worn hats year 'round, winter and summer. For summer they were of straw, in the same shape, but occasionally big picture styles appeared for special occasions. When we look at fashion plates of the 1920's, we see the long dangling strings of pearls and beads, long drop earrings nearly touching the shoulders balanced the short shingles and Eton haircuts. Also popular was long cigarette holders which flourished in the twenties, all part of the Art Deco style.
The cloche was originally designed with a downward sloping brim but as the seasons changed so did the hat. The brim might be folded back against the crown or uplifted only in the front to expose the face and forehead. For a time, the fashionable smart wore hats that were either all black, all white or black and white, but by the fall of 1928, Paris was showing the cloche to the world in gray, grape, orchid, and leaden blue as well as chocolate, rust, mahogany and hunter green.
While the cloche can be said to have dominated the decade, other styles such as Chanel's Pamela hat, the picture hat and the tuban were also popular. A variation on the cloche was the higher crowned aviator's helmet. Hat pins were no longer a necessity but were shortened and used decoratively.
Sequined cocktail hats, elaborate skullcaps and feathered helmets set the stage for evening and were worn extensively throughout Europe, eliminating the so much time needed spent at the hairdresser. Horsetail ribbon caps became the rage 1928- 1929 but because of the scarcity of raw materials for the making of horsehair lace which was valued for its stiffness you saw less of them.
Just before the 30's rolled in dresses were changing with wider shoulders and tall models were admired. The trick of the couturier was to give the impression of increased height. This effect can be increased by making the head look small, and so the hair was dressed rather close, with a small curl at the back of the neck. On top was a cute little hat perched over one eye. These toppers or tilt hats became the rage.
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