Photographs and text copyright 2011 by J. Henri.
A timeless treasure for collectors, this exceptionally wide brimmed, early 1950s hat seems to capture the very essence of millinery fine art.
With a downturned brim, the hat is covered with hand-sculpted, silk chiffon magnolias...magnolias that are so soft and so beautiful that they could have floated off a Georgia O'Keeffe painting.
Versatile; the color is soft, silky, earthy and very warm. In nature, the color most closely matches the sultry, moonlit Spanish Moss, which drapes venerable Cypress trees throughout the Deep South.
Soft, velvety, pastel teal green...such a romantic color that it appears to be watercolor washed and in soft focus.
According to articles written in "Vogue Magazine" at the time, wide brim picture hat silhouettes changed to a more pronounced, downward styled brim during 1950. By 1952, the favored, more severely arched, separated brim was reminiscent of a nun's winged headdress. This is an example of such a silhouette.
Entirely hand-made, the hand-woven, glistening cellophane fiber twinkles in the light. The magnolias are made with many layers of silk petals with rolled edges... each hand-stitched into place. The inner petals were crimped with a hot iron adding contrast and textural interest. For greater realism and color, velvet petals were nestled into the center of the magnolia and hand-painted using watercolor wash techniques. Each velvet petal was glazed with soft gold and ochre hues. The centers are realistically and artfully designed with two fluffy pompoms and black dotted, white stamens.
The entire hat is wired with exposed edges professionally faced, hand-stitched, with matching grosgrain. The interior is not lined, typical to the 1950s. Centered on the brim, the crown is slightly larger than was considered stylish later in the decade. To the back of the hat, the brim becomes shallower than to the front, in width. Two sharply downward arched creases separate the sides of the hat, both to the front as well as to the back. The hatband is made from the very same grosgrain that faces it, and used again to finish the band with a simple bow.
The interior of the hat contains a cap, which fits over the head. This is faced and unlined, as was typical of nearly all hats from the 1950s. The cap is perfectly wired and this allows the hat to be placed comfortably at nearly any angle on the head. Two matching, original hatpins are included. These are pearlescent tipped, dyed to perfectly match the over all color.
This hat is truly sensational and highly wearable. The brim measures approximately 15 inches or 38 cm wide. The magnolia petals drape over the edge on both sides of the brim. These graceful flowers measure approximately 11 inches or 28 cm at their widest.
The hat size measures approximately 21 inches or 53 cm. Based on the way that this hat is designed, it should fit a size up to 22 inches or 56 cm depending on the style of the hair.
This hat has no millinery label. It has no millinery mark within the grosgrain facing. Although the hat appears to never have been worn, it has probably been worn at least once, but very carefully and quite gently. Obviously well cared for and highly treasured by the original owner, the lack of the designer's label is quite sad indeed. The stitch marks and the glue mark (used behind many labels so that they do not become wrinkled when the hat was worn) is the only shadow left to suggest where the embroidered, obviously high-end millinery salon or designer label once was. Obviously, a highly experienced millinery designer expertly executed this hat.
It actually appears as though the label was removed for some unknown reason. Perhaps the original owner did not want her husband to know that she was shopping at the most exclusive hat salon in town!
This has is in vintage mint condition and is highly wearable, structurally strong and also worthy of a fine collection.
**This beautiful hat is in vintage mint condition and appears to have gently worn. There are no unpleasant storage odors of any kind. There are no moth nips or any other damage. This hat comes from a professional collection, in a strictly non-smoking environment. It comes to you professionally wrapped within archival, museum tissues within an archival, acid free storage bag.
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Item ID: MAGNOLIA03282011
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