Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hats Off to the Roaring 20's! - A Special Guest Post from Cyndy

A big thanks to Cyndy for writing this very interesting post

Let's go back in time to the flapper era of the Roaring 20's!

As an avid vintage hat collector, restorer and hairstylist I find this era to be exciting, sultry, and dramatic.

Milliners offered their gorgeous creation, "The Flapper Cloche", which was first created in 1908. This had a helmet-like appearance. It became the iconic hat of the 1920's. The hat was worn correctly by pulling it over eyes and fitting it snugly. The body of the hat was primarily felt, and the summer cloche was primarily made with sisal, a fine straw. They cloche was embellished by varnishing for a shiny appearance , and by adding raffia or gorgeous ribbon . When the hat needed a revamping, it was frequently painted.

Normally the appliques or other adornments were applied to one side only. Glorious "feather fans" fell to one side , usually the right. Glimmering trimmings such as diamond clips, platinum and diamond brooches were worn by the the prosperous and stylish on their cloches.
Casual brimmed felt cloches were combined with stylish day wear for a day at the beach , sporting events and offered a neat and tidy look.

Many cloche hats were influenced by the art deco movement, and had gorgeous appliques and zigzag seaming The crowns often included a beret-like top, or a bell top (bulbous crown). which made the wearer appear taller.

In 1922, a cloche with a small brim at the front was introduced. In 1926,a new design featured a reduced brim, and by 1928, it had disappeared.

The acceptability of the harsh, dramatic style of the cloche was enhanced by the use of sophisticated, chic makeup and self-assured hairstyles. One would often see a woman in public places such as a restaurant or dance hall open her glamorous compact and touch up her makeup. I believe that this was a new symbol of refinement and feminine grace. A luscious ox blood red lipstick with only a hint of rouge was an absolute, must, and the hair was cropped short to accommodate the close fitting cloches, which were a statement of the "new woman". By 1923, the bob, a pageboy style with a bit of length, was seen everywhere, The razor cut shingle style began in 1924.

The Marcel wave and the finger wave (which I learned and are quite time consuming and challenging) began in the mid-20's. These waves became the "norm" and helped conform to the contour of the cloches. The Eton crop, introduced in 1927,was the most extreme hairstyle. Hair was greased, slicked and had a brilliant sheen. A particularly lovely example of this style was that worn by the great singer and dancer Josephine Baker. I've included some photographs and music of Ms. Baker for your enjoyment,.

One of my other loves is the music of the 20's. I shall let the videos of fashion and music take you on a marvelous journey. You also might want to rise up from your chair and do the new low down !

By late 1928 women wanted to rid of the cloche and show their hair and facial features to the world. That would open a whole new world of hats, hairstyles and makeup which would lead me to the 1930's and another blog post.

Many thanks Bob for inviting me to share my love of vintage hats and hairstyles ! This is my very first blog post and I truly enjoyed every moment !

Here are several pictures of cloches. First, the brimless cloche.

The bell-shaped cloche.
The beaded, embellished cloche.

Two clips of Josephine Baker:

Two short flapper films.

Louis Armstrong's great "Muskrat Ramble"

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A History of the World in 100 Objects

BBC Radio 4 has started an excellent new series, "A History of the World in 100 Objects", which will be broadcast throughout 2010. Rather then telling history in the standard way by focusing on documents, it uses objects from the collection of the British Museum, and covers 2,000,000 years of human history. The radio shows, which can be streamed or downloaded, are 15 minutes long.

The podcasts are narrated by Neal MacGregor, the director of the British Museum, and includes the voices of many contributors. One of the great things about the project is that it's interactive, and anyone, provided they meet the project guidelines, can add an object to the website.

Here's a description of the project.

The homepage for the project:

Here are two objects from the collection. The first is a sculpture of swimming reindeer, found in France, from about 11,000 B.C.

The second is a Mesopotamian clay tablet from about 300o B.C., with information about beer rationing.

The podcasts:

This video explains how to add an object to the site. Registration with the BBC is required.