Vintage early 1960s deep pillbox hat from womenswear chain Peck & Peck features netted pheasant feathers in rich autumnal shades of black, bittersweet, and taupe, with a smart black velvet bow accent sitting at top center.
The longer, “striped” feathers are applied in horizontal, turban-like bands over the black fur felt body, while the more colorful tips are gathered in a circle at the top. Rings of millinery wire subtly reinforce structure the hat, while the black netting protects the feather surface.
Pheasant feather hats were enormously popular in the late 1950s through the mid-1960s, appearing in shapes from cocktail half-hats and toques to lampshade hats and even wide brims. Not only were they sold in department stores and millinery shops, cottage industries sprang up in rural areas to satisfy the demand, with women encouraged to make their own. (As a 1960 article in the Emporia, Kansas Gazette points out, “Meat for a special dinner isn't the only reward for the family of a successful pheasant hunter. The colorful feathers can provide the materials for a hat for his wife.") Photo #6 shows two period ads and also a photo of a woman with a home business making pheasant feather hats.
Label reads “Peck & Peck, Fifth Avenue New York”, with a union label next to it. As a museum deaccession, the hat also has a cloth inventory tag.
In business since the 1880s, Peck & Peck sought to revamp its “classic” image in the mid-1960s and appeal to younger women. A January 1966 LIFE editorial reported on the company’s wonderfully Mad Men-esque ad campaign:
"Peck & Peck--or, as Scott Fitzgerald once called it, Peck & Peck & Peck & Peck & Peck (like a chicken)--is a clothing store with 65 branches around the country. For several months now it has been running a series of advertisements showing a cool young thing, surmounted by a caption reading (for example), 'There is a certain kind of woman who does needlepoint and plays touch football. For this woman, there is a certain kind of store: Peck & Peck’. Variations describe her as one who is 'a combination of elegance, efficiency, and Huck Finn' and who 'can name all eight reindeer in 2 seconds’.”
Measuring 21.5” around the inner grosgrain ribbon and with a crown depth of 4”, this chic hat is in excellent condition with no flaws to note.
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