From Adolfo Sardina's spring 1955 hat collection for Emme, this chignon cap wrapped in blue paisley silk (or silk-and-wool) challis trails a scarf end to drape over a shoulder or wind loosely around the neck.
Printed in magenta, yellow, black and white on a steel blue ground, the challis covers the little dome of net which structures the cap and is then twisted artfully around its edges before flowing into the scarf. Rather than combs, there are eight fabric loops attached to the pink inner grosgrain ribbon to help secure the cap (presumably with hairpins) to the head.
The label reads "Emme Inc. New York", and as the hat was deaccessioned by the Met, there is also a museum inventory tag present. "Emme" was Ethel Westheimer Price, who went into business with two other women in the early 1930s, using an amalgam of their initials (Ethel, Mildred, and Evie) as a name for their millinery shop. By the time the 25-year-old Adolfo came on board in 1953 as chief designer, her partners were long retired and Emme had become a leading custom milliner, with her designs noted for their originality. Adolfo's tenure raised Emme's stature even higher, and in 1959 she and Adolfo shared the Neiman Marcus fashion award (in 1955, Adolfo had been one of the four "young designers" to win that year's Coty Award).
Please see photo #9 for a picture of another Adolfo for Emme chignon cap from Spring 1955; it was described as a "miniature pillbox" of "iridescent silk organza" and secured to the head with millinery stems and buds. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has three more of the caps even closer in design to the one offered here, in draped silk or wool fabric, but minus the scarf ending. Adolfo showed more hats in this silhouette in the fall Emme collection, one the New York Times pictured with a Norell evening gown and referred to as a "chignon fez", and one in fur the Times called a "Davy Crockett chignon".
With a measurement of 13" inner circumference, the cap is 6" across and the scarf is 18" long. Excellent condition.
PLEASE NOTE: I also show the hat worn pillbox-style, on the top side of the head, to demonstrate that it does not require either long hair or a bun to be worn to striking effect! In addition, please see my other listings for a version of this hat done in rose pink silk jersey.
Proud Member of the VFG Vintage Fashion Guild
Item ID: aasm2hpgw
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