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Photographs and text copyright 2011-2012 by J. Henri.
This is a rare and important find for discerning collectors...a hat that literally illustrates the birth of 1920s Art Deco fashion...in a style that practically bridges the fluid transition between Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods in fashion.
This hat illustrates the era when the huge wide brimmed hats from the Victorian and Edwardian eras evolved into that coveted 20s hat known as the flapper's cloche or flapper hat.
Incredible...one rarely finds a hat with the original splayed wing-like feathers that are still, yes, entirely intact...especially important to find feathers as long as these! They total over 19 inches or nearly 49 cm in length!
Indeed...there are times when a rare hat is unusually...hauntingly...beautiful. This is certainly one of these...since it obviously came from the trousseau of most fashionable young woman...a woman of means, indeed.
It is guaranteed that you will look at this hat, and the brooch, and wonder as to whom she was....
what did she do on that night when she last wore this hat?
Because...obviously, it was lovingly stored for nearly a century....
Entirely original...the hat is covered with a deep moss green colored velvety fabric with long nap. This was used to create the top of the brim and crown. In contrast, black velvet lines the hat under the wired brim.
The band is made from the same moss green velvet roping, and this appears to be wired. The crown is finished with a silk velvet bow...again entirely original...the hat is trimmed with exceptionally long, over-dyed, iridescent feathers with a subtle shimmer of gold, purple and black when they pick up the light.
This hat exemplifies that moment of important change in fashion history...and the statement was a strong one. The wide symmetrical brim (approximately 15.5 inches or 39 cm in width) stretches far beyond the slightly boxy, soft crown. The crown, so deep that it sinks over the head, nearly covers the brow. It was only within a year or two when the low, brow hugging hat designs started to lose their huge brims, and eventually turned into the flapper's cloche...the style that marked a turning point in women's history as well as millinery and dress fashions.
The feathers are luxurious and flash with purple iridescence beneath the black dye... a most unique and interesting design treatment.
To add to the beauty of this hat, a gold washed brooch...original to the hat...is attached to the black velvet bow...adding to the richness of the Art Deco design. The beautiful emerald at the center of brooch is so real looking that it will certainly make you look twice at it...just to make sure.
The brooch is removable and could be worn entirely on its own as a piece of jewelry, since it was common for women to decorate their hats with paste costume jewelry at the time. The brilliant emerald is clear and bright...it is an exceptional addition to this elegant hat and looks amazingly real.
This hat has a silk lining. The lining has no drawstring...it was never there...but instead was designed to be basted with thread in order to properly size it according to hair style. This is easily altered to fit. The hat size, therefore, is obviously quite adjustable. It is large in size and if the basted lining is opened fully, the hat will comfortably accommodate sizes up to approximately 23.5 inches or slightly over 60 cm. The hat could be reduced in size so that it would fit a much smaller head size of approximately 21 inches or 53 cm.
The hat is structurally strong considering the age and rarity. It is magnificent and would be quite impressive for exhibit purposes. With great care due to the rarity, this hat could be worn, as it is structurally strong.
Discerning collectors should find this hat to be irresistible. It is an important item that clearly illustrates the history of women and their fashions.
This 1920s hat is in vintage excellent...bordering near mint condition. The hat has a few flaws, but they are not very obvious. The hat could even be worn and few people might notice these!
The overall condition of the fabric is quite fine...the hat is structurally strong. There is a very small, almost pinhead-sized hole in the crown, which is only evident upon the closest inspection. The crown is soft...it is meant to fit entirely over, and in fact, practically drape the head.
The black velvet beneath the brim is rubbed and has lost some of the nap. This again, is not overly disturbing.... Please refer to the photographs. The feathers are in remarkable vintage near mint condition to mint condition...it is very difficult to find a hat such as this with the original feathers of this kind and style still intact and still so lovely...extraordinary. The wired brim is finished and the fabric is splitting slightly to the front. This requires a steady hand with needle and thread by a skilled seamstress. A small piece of linen to the interior of the crown, as well as minor reinforcement to the edge of the brim will make this hat quite strong...all extremely minor restoration for conservation purposes.
After close inspection, there is no millinery mark not beneath the silk lining or under any seams anywhere within the interior. The hat is obviously entirely hand stitched.
The hat is absolutely clean and utterly pristine both inside and out. It is a joy to hold...to examine...to stroke....
This hat will excite collectors because it is such a rare find...these were glorious years...then.
**This extraordinary ca. 1919-1921 rare collector's hat is in vintage excellent to near mint condition. It was gently, carefully, lovingly worn and stored for nearly a century. It is absolutely clean. There are no make-up smudges nor defects typically found from wear or improper storage. There are neither stains nor unpleasant storage odors. This item is utterly pristine. There are no moth nips or any other damage. This exquisite collar comes from a professional collection, in a strictly non-smoking environment.
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Item ID: EMERALD061411
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