Grand Theatre, Film production, Fashion Show & Celebration Hat Collection. New interpretations of many classical Vintage hat styles of the 20th Century for 2020.
The Top Hat
It is thought that the top hat originated in France, and was designed by a Chinese Milliner.
Evolution: The crown is high shaped to fit the head being slightly wider at the top. The side pieces look as if they extend from the back. This may have been the idea for a newer hat shape with a brim.
This is similar to the top hat as we know it was worn by an Emporia! (It is amazing how many things go back to ancient civilizations of China).
1787 – An enormous bold ladies Top Hat decorated with stripes and roses, has a curved brim.
I have traced this imposing image of a very early French top hat in 1792, being worn during the French Revolution, worn by members of the Government who need to stand out in a crowd, as supporters of the people. The hat used was bold red white an blue colours striped around the hat with sashes worn across the body and waist. At the centre front of the hat rose a tall plume also in French patriotic colours of the flag. This is recorded in Le Journal de la France, No.10
1793 This imposing figure wears a black top hat decorated with gold bands and a full white plume. A brigand who would not pay his taxes?
The top hat slanting in this painting shows a revolutionary spirit from the castle but his dress gives him away – probably it was stolen, lets hope he made it from the gallows!
The traditional top hat in the U.K. commenced from a Hatter in Middlesex U.K., George Dunnage, in 1793. By 1797 John Hetherington wore one on the streets of London. This caused a sensation, because of it’s intimidating great height and shiny silk black fabric. Panic, even terror spread through the London streets. They must have thought an alien had arrived. He was rounded up by the authorities and he had to pay a huge 500 Pound fine!
1844 French Ladies Top Hat drawing: Leaving home.
It is recorded that the original hat was made from beaver fur, but developed on to be made of silk plush. Wool, silk, or leather top hats are made today
This is a print from a hard back book called: Journal de Tailleur showing some men’s top hats and a lady with her little boy.
Country Riding hats for Ladies of action. Usually, a hard hat designed to protect from tree branches over-head.
Subtle changes evolved to the hat making, with several different styles becoming popular for numerous occasions.
There was a Coachman’s hat and a very tall straight “Stovepipe” hat. Another invention was the spring loaded collapsible Opera Hat, (obviously, it would be impossible to wear such a tall hat in front of a Lady). The Mad Hatter character had a unique one labelled as such, from the story of Alice in Wonderland. Unforgettable is Hollywood film characters in comedy and dramas made famous in part, by flamboyant top hats.
Fewer society events demand the Top Hat today, perhaps they are worn at some Weddings, Royal Events, and for Theatre Play Productions. Nonetheless, they inspire a great elegance and importance when worn at the correct time.
Top hat tails – from Femme Chic 1943
The tallest top hat, that a Lady looks amazing in, probably would be worn for a dramatic stage entrance! Bringing to mind the film “Top Hat” with many others to follow.
My Top Hat creation so far May 2915:
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