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Cloche Hats: Still Relevant After All These Years!
Cloche hats first came into fashion in the early 1900s when it was conceived by a French milliner (a hat and headwear designer) named Caroline Reboux, of Paris, who is also closely associated with the geneses of haute couture, or high fashion. Reboux is also accredited with being the first milliner to add veils to hats in the 1920s. Tres chic, Mademoiselle Reboux! Tres chic!
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The name cloche is derived from the French word for bell, which is the telltale shape of a Cloche hat. Cloche hats are closely fitting, bell-shaped hats that we're contoured to the head and we're intended to be worn low on the forehead, with the brim resting just above the eyes. The earliest versions we're made of felt, and the popularity of these hats was at it's highest in the 1920s and 1930s. They influenced hairstyles of the day, and even fashion. Some houses of couture opened workshops so that they could collaborate with milliners in designing clothing and matching cloche hats. Soon, plain cloche hats that we're worn to emphasize simplistic, stand-alone design, took on the designs of the times. Art deco appliques we're added, as well as intricate stitching, brooches, feathers, and other embellishments. Summer cloches we're made out of straw and other lightweight fibers. It was not uncommon for ribbons to be added to cloches, which attached significance to the wearer in the form of coding. A ribbon with a tight knot indicated that the wearer was married, while a large, fancy bow signaled the wearer was single and ready to mingle. And arrow-like ribbon was attached to the cloche to show that the wearer, though single, had already dedicated her heart to someone.
By the mid-1930s, the fad of the cloche hat had run it's course, that is, until the 1960s and again in the 1980s. Even today we see the influences of Caroline Rebouxs cloche design reasserting itself in haute couture, (that which is old shall be new again!) especially in period pieces such as THE GREAT GATSBY, and the like. Next time you flip through the pages of a VOGUE or other fashion magazine, pay close attention to the headwear featured in ads and style guides. You are bound to see some reflection of Rebouxs work coming from contemporary houses of couture! And keep your eyes peeled for vintage cloche hats to integrate into your own wardrobe and make you stand out from the crowd!
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Posted in Design Post Date 01/04/2016