Metallic Lame' 1920's Style Cloche Hat Red, Gold and Black

This example is a fantasy cloche-style hat newly made from vintage elements. It was constructed out of metallic lame' fabric, metallic lace, and jet beaded fringe trim. It was formed over a vintage 22 inch hat block. Because it is sized and shaped 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, this piece inevitably, somewhere down the line, likely may be represented as a period original. This phenomenon can happen with many artisan-crafted pieces of contemporary costuming.

Reproduction garments and accessories frequently are made for theater productions and historical masquerades. It wouldn't be cost effective to subject fragile and potentially valuable authentic garments to frequent wear or subject them to stress or stains, so there are companies who specialize in reproduction garments or reproduction clothing patterns for every style and age imaginable. Reproduction outfits and accessories may also appeal to historical reenactors or those participating in such things as the murder mystery dinner theater at the local bed & breakfast.

For the most part, newly-made garments and accessories cannot pass the close inspection of a knowledgeable collector. 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 be vigilant and remain aware of this issue.

Item ID: 2007RP000303

Modern Reproductions, Fakes and Fantasies


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