Embellished straw cloche hat, c.1924
The elaborate embellishment and near mint condition make the hat a special find for the serious collector. Milliner Caroline Reboux designed the cloche in 1907. It became fashionable around 1915 during WWI when costly, elaborate attire was considered unpatriotic.
The high crown on the cloche ("bell") was worn deep on the head, sometimes nearly covering the eyes. The cloche was usually short-brimmed. It also suited the modern woman's newly cropped hair.
The hat was made from café-au-lait brown straw. The small wired brim is of matching silk taffeta. The wide brown velvet ribbons (backdrop for the floral decoration) are tied in a clever topknot. The hat is lined with iridescent brown silk taffeta. The embroidered label on the lining reads "BLB."
The milliner pulled out all the stops with the exuberant embellishment. Plump padded fruits are mixed with stylized beaded silk flowers and cellophane-type leaves. The fun loving style personifies the joyful mood of the 1920s.
Can you count the number of colors in the flowers and leaves? I find orange; dark violet; blue; green; and four shades of brown and tan. Your keen eye may find more. Because the colors move gradually from one hue to a neighbor, we are surprised at the brilliant overall effect.
The fashion magazines of 1920s show the cloche hat as the distinctive flapper fashion accessory. Who can forget Edward Steichen's iconic photo of three ultra-chic ladies wearing cloches?
The condition is excellent and all original.
The hat is 7 1/2" tall, excluding the topknot. The hat has an inner circumference of 22"