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1920s flapper hat

#7214 $750

Straw cloche flapper hat, mid 1920s

Milliner Caroline Reboux designed the cloche hat in 1907. Usually short-brimmed, it had a high crown worn deep on the head, sometimes nearly covering the eyes. Cloches became fashionable in 1915 when expensive, elaborate attire was thought unpatriotic. The cloche also suited the modern woman’s newly cropped hair.

Made from natural brown straw, the chic hat is accented with alternating rows of gold and yellow braided ribbon and is lined with black striped silk. The brim is turned up in back and is lined with café-au-lait silk.

Made from sheer organdy stuffed with colored yarn, the plump padded grapes cascading down one side are spectacular. The leaves are of velvet and taffeta. The crown of the lining is stamped "Darrah Derr/Fine Millinery/Boyertown PA."

The fashion magazines of the mid 1920s show the cloche hat as the distinctive flapper fashion accessory. Edward Steichen's iconic photo (courtesy of Condé Nast) features three fashionable 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 elite of 1928. In a stroke of serendipity, he amusingly conjoins the most modern with the oldest Western cultural reference: the ultra stylish, up-to-date cloche hat together with Odysseus' quest at sea for the new and the wonderful.

Tennyson's poem Ulysses (Odysseus) ends with these immortal lines, as Odysseus urges on his oarsmen in the eternal quest of the human spirit:

Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
For my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.

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".

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