Black net, built over wire framework with narrow raffia, matt black spangles and faceted black glass beads; lined black net; wide flat brim with lower points twisted into flat circular shapes; inside headband of net-covered wire; lining gathered with drawstring.

Display Label

Millinery has always been a complex and distinct aspect of clothing manufacture, utilising materials and techniques which are specific to the industry. Feathers, ribbons, felt, and in this instance, wire and net, are all frequently used to create imaginative hats which are not over-heavy. Hats are less constrained by the need to fit closely to the body, although they are of course sized, so they can be a vehicle of fantasy for their creators, as we often see in modern millinery by such designers as David Shilling and Philip Treacy. The wire foundation, seen so clearly in this hat, was a usual foundation in most millinery from the 1870s to the 1930s, often covered first in net, and then other fabrics, braids and trimmings. This hat is rather minimalist in approach, with its openwork net and wire support trimmed with matt black spangles and black facetted glass beads. Only a few years later, women had taken almost exclusively to the head-hugging cloche, often in moulded felt, which did away altogether with a brim and any form of structured foundation.

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Circumference (brim): 82.5cm
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© Manchester Art Gallery

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