Straw cloche flapper hat, mid 1920s
Milliner Caroline Reboux designed the cloche hat in 1907. It had a high crown worn deep on the head, sometimes nearly covering the eyes, and it was usually short-brimmed. Cloches became fashionable around 1915 during WWI, when expensive elaborate attire was considered unpatriotic. The cloche also suited the modern woman’s newly cropped hair.
Made from natural brown straw, the hat is lined with black striped silk. The brim is turned up in back and is lined with café-au-lait silk. It is accented with alternating rows of gold and yellow braided ribbon.
The plump padded grapes cascading down one side are spectacular. They are made from sheer organdy stuffed with colored yarn. The leaves are of velvet and taffeta. The crown of the lining is stamped "Darrah Derr/Fine Millinery/Boyertown PA."
The fashion magazines of mid 1920s show the cloche hat as the distinctive flapper fashion accessory. Edward Steichen's iconic photo (courtesy of Condé Nast) features three ultra chic ladies in a small boat in a dreamlike seascape.
Steichen's image of intrepid fashion voyagers would have had a dual resonance for the cultured, fashionable elite of 1928. In a stroke of serendipity, he amusingly conjoins the most modern together with the oldest Western cultural reference: the ultra stylish and up-to-date cloche hat together with Odysseus' quest at sea for the new and the wonderful.
The condition is almost excellent. Along the fold of the brim lining are a few splits. Everything else is excellent.
The inner crown circumference is 22 1/4".