Late 1880s toque bonnet of lacy black crocheted cord is trimmed with a noir garden: Blossom-like gathers of black silk chiffon; wired net fantasy leaves or petals; a bead-wrapped anthur; and clusters of plum and violet silk millinery flowers.
The stiff black “lace” forms a slightly ruffled effect around the top and side edges of the wired frame, prettily framing the face, and the wired “petals” are outlined in jet beads and covered in gear-shaped black spangles—each topped with a tiny jet bead.
Lined in brown cotton, the bonnet fastens with black silk jacquard ribbons which twist across the back bottom edge and then stream down from either side.
It is a wonderful example of the compact but lavishly trimmed toque bonnets that became a fashionable options in the late 1880s, providing an alternative to the tall hat or bonnet. As an October 1888 newspaper article explained: "The bonnet is modest in shape and luxuriantly rich in material. It is...very dainty, very small, very satisfactory to the theater going man.” An article the following December reported a continuance of the trend: “Winter millinery is fairly settled upon, the small toque bonnet being the newest and most elegant of the shapes." It featured a “low, round crown” with “ties that c(a)me in back,” and was trimmed, like the example here, with“materials of the richest description”.
No milliner’s label, but a cloth museum inventory tag is present.
Measurements are: 13” around the inner “horseshoe” of the frame, 6.5” tall, and 7.5” across. The streamer ribbons are 23” long each.
Excellent condition, with two ¼” frays halfway up the left ribbon (photo #7).
Proud Member of the VFG Vintage Fashion Guild