Dramatic 1920's-Type Flapper Cloche Hat

This example is a fantasy cloche-style hat newly made from vintage elements. It was constructed out of metallic lame' fabric, jet trim and parts from a rhinestone purse. This piece was formed over a vintage 22 inch hat block. And because it is sized similarly to authentic period cloche hats of the 1920's, and since the aged components used to make it simulate what people think to be the 'look' of an era, like many artisan-crafted pieces of contemporary costuming this piece inevitably, somewhere down the line, will likely be represented as a period original.

Cloche hat styles may vary somewhat, but to be called a 'cloche' a hat should primarily be somewhat bell-shaped ('cloche' means 'bell' in French), fit closely to the head and low over the wearer's forehead. Reproduction garments and accessories frequently are made for theater productions and historical masquerades. They may also appeal to reenactors or those who participate in such things as murder mystery dinner theater fun at the local bed & breakfast. It wouldn't be cost effective to subject fragile and potentially valuable authentic garments to frequent wear or subject them to stress or stains. There are companies who specialize in reproduction garments or reproduction clothing patterns for every style and age imaginable.

For the most part, newly-made garments and accessories cannot pass the close inspection of a knowledgeable collector, as most will easily spot modern methods and components used to make theater-type accoutrements. They would know, for instance, that the zig zag stitching a modern sewing machine can apply should not be present in an 'Elizabethan era' gown.

But, when more primitive methods and authentic components clearly belonging to a specific era are used, the line between old and new costuming can become blurred and less simple to deduce. Antique and vintage garments and accessories are frequently found in a badly damaged condition. And because of this state, a collector may find little interest in them. It has become common to take salvaged fragments from period dresses, hats or jewelry and incorporate them into stylized garments or accessories for everyday or theater wear. The problem is, while its original creator may have sold a fantasy or reproduction item for exactly what it is, representing it to be nothing more than new costuming, those articles can become particularly troublesome later. On the secondary market they can more easily be represented as something they are not because the components used in their making are 'right' for the period of clothing they mimic.

Collectors should always be vigilant and remain aware of this issue.

Item ID: 2007RP000197

Modern Reproductions, Fakes and Fantasies


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