Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Picture Hat

throughout the centuries, there have been names given to hats like: portrait hat, picture hat.......the message is frames the face, and looks great in the Gainsborough portrait you're having done next week.  The idea is to highlight the features, and make a pretty girl even prettier by focusing on her features.  The eye  of the beholder goes directly to the face of the subject, and the captured expression speaks the volumes of emotion , as interpreted by the audience regarding the smooth brow, the lively eyes, the simple smile.
These hats had a heyday in the World War II era, when hats reigned as the supreme accessory. Circular, oval, even heart shaped, the brims were worn on the back of the head with a pompadour hairdo filling in the foreground.  Diana Durbin, an ingenue in the film industry, had her own line of hats, that framed the face and were a young girl's translation of Mommy Glamourous.
Still popular in the 1980's, but worn down over one side of the face, the picture hat became popularized by the fashions of the then Princess Diana, new to the royalty scene, and probably advised in her hats by the powers that were.  
The ladies that still request hats for weddings, and formal wear, that remember the hat heaven in the 1980's hearken back to that style. In my hands, they become a bit 1930's-ish, and don't retain their stiff finish.  But they're out there, those hats, in the thrift stores and attics, waiting for grandchildren to discover them.
With the Couture collection of Chanel taking the obvious title and making it into the obvious possible interpretation, modern art meets the millinery trade, and the sublime is achieved.  Couture can do no wrong in the fashion world: the last bastion of hand work, embellishments, broderies, holds down the fort for the metier of fashion.  Millinery is an accessory, planned, well thought out, designed, then fabricated to add a filip.
Mr. Lagerfeld, filip away!

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