You Can Leave Your Hat On
The nice thing about hats….
Is that you don’t even have to take them off to have sex! No, wait, I mean the nice thing about hats is that they add style and panache to any outfit, give you confidence and je ne sais quois, and can be coordinated with your wardrobe. And, you don’t have to take them off to have sex.
I myself have noticed a hat resurgence in the last decade, especially in urban areas. In San Francisco, both men and women are wearing more hats. Hipster guys wear trilbys, rockabilly tattoo guys wear pork-pie hats, steampunk guys wear tophats, costume-geek guys wear boaters, and my eccentric accelerant-art guy friends wear bowlers. My boyfriend wears an Ivy cap, which is a type of flat driving cap, every day.
For ladies around here, tiny top hats worn off-center have been big the last few years, tiny tricornes the last three years, and fascinators, which are little headpieces attached by a comb or clip, the last two. The tiny top hat trend is so pervasive that the craft store Michael’s can’t keep plain black felt mini top hats (used by crafty goth, circus and burlesque girls as a base for elaborate decorations) in stock. You literally have to drive to San Jose to find a Michael’s that has them.
And just try searching “tiny top hat” on Ebay or the craft site Etsy.com! Soooo many cute hats. The kind of talented young textile artists and independent fashion designers who taught themselves how to sew steel-boned corsets are teaching themselves to hand-block wool felt and build hat forms out of buckram. On Etsy, I love these wonderful West Coast hatmakers :
Kat Toronto's Hey Sailor! features whimsical creations such as this tricorne, complete with a fully-rigged ship:
Noxenlux Chapeux has some wonderful styles such as this clockwork top hat:
And the delirious Tim Burton curlique designs of Bubbles and Frown:
For the gentleman, there are wonderful men’s hats to be found online at the Goorin Bros. website and at any of their their brick-and-mortar stores throughout the United States and Canada. One of their artists lines was created by local SF illustrators, textile artists and designers at the collective 1333 Minna and includes a hat with embroidered jellyfish. I’m totally serious—embroidered jellyfish. It’s amazing.
Of course, hats are a huge part of fashion history, and modern hatmakers draw inspiration from many sources. A wonderful resource that’s currently available is the Anthology of Hats show which will tour the world for six years starting in March 2010. This exhibit was originally staged by the legendary costume and garment archive at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, with the curation of radical hat designer Stephen Jones. Jones worked with the V&A to create a history of hats going back as far as the 17th century, through delicious 1950s Balenciaga couture, and up to present-day hotshot celebrity milliners like Noel Stewart.
Stephen Jones is a great example of that cool British thing of recognizing and honoring designers even though their work is daring and punk rock; he was awarded the Order of the British Empire this year, as Vivienne Westwood was a few years ago. He started out in the ‘70s as a club kid, and made hats for Boy George and Fiorucci; his client base quickly solidified as rockstars and royalty. Princess Di wore his hats, but not in a boring way. He’s made wonderful hats for Dita Von Teese and Isabella Blow, as well as heaps of other celebrities. If you are into hats, I highly recommend you visit his site. The men’s section, “jonesboy,” has a see-thru tophat!!!
If you can’t catch the travelling exhibit—its first stop is in Queensland—there is a wonderful event catalog/companion work available,written by Stephen Jones with a foreword by his longtime collaborator John Galliano. There’s an awesome page on Jones’s website that features his collaborations with Galliano—it has some really crazy stuff. Acetate butterflies, entire snow-white turkey wings perched aslant on a model’s delicate brow, a fish skeleton headdress made from ostrich bone and plaited paper straws…Nadja Auermann in a felt cloche and bruise-color lipstick…a fashion show described as “Psychotic cyber dolls dressed up with giant bows”…
You know you want to look!
Meanwhile, I’ll see you here next week to talk some more about clothes you may or may not want to take off to have sex.