It’s the roaring 20’s, the Jazz Age. The world is going through a momentous change. WW1 has just ended, the middle class is on the rise and women are beginning to assert a new found independence. Fashion gets swept along with all this change and starts going through a revolution of its own. The old Victorian and Edwardian fashions just do not work in this new world. Looser and freer styles which present new choices come into being.
Straight dropped waist dresses featuring rising hemlines, bold colors, and rich fabrics are enthusiastically embraced by the new woman and not only did 1920s fashions look totally different the young women wearing them felt and acted differently.
Amidst all this change a new type of hat was created which would become the iconic head covering for the entire decade. This particular hat was called the Cloche. Cloche means bell in French and indeed the basic shape of the cloche is that of a bell. Eventually, the term “Cloche” came to designate all of the streamlined, tight-fitting hats that were created in the 1920s.
Worn low and straight on the forehead, nearly obscuring the eyebrows, the cloche accentuated the streamlined silhouette of the flapper era.
While the cloche hat never really went totally out of style it had a strong resurgence in the 1960’s. Many hats from that time were blatant copies of their earlier cousins from the 1920’s, albeit using newer fabrics and updated construction techniques. If one is seriously interested in purchasing an authentic 1920’s cloche some home work on fabric and construction techniques are in order since many sellers use the term “cloche” or “flapper style” to describe a whole host of bell hats from many different periods.
Here are some examples of authentic 1920’s cloche hats ——
Christian Dior turned the fashion world on its head on February 12, 1947 when he introduced his first line which came to be known as the “New Look” featuring rounded shoulders, a cinched waist, and very full skirt. The “New Look ” celebrated femininity and opulence in women’s fashion. Dior created a sumptuous and lavish look that broke away from the spare and masculine styles of the war years. This was a totally new direction for fashion and helped return Paris to its place as fashion capital of the world.
I’ve scoured Etsy and have found some beautiful garments from that time and style. How wonderful that we can still experience first hand these gorgeous and historical works of art.
1950s Vintage Traina – Norell Silk Print Womens Dress and Skirt from marvita13
CEIL CHAPMAN black bombshell wiggle cocktail dress The ultimate little black dress from Xtabayvintage
Circle Skirt Pin Up Bomb Shell Sundress Cocktail Party Prom Dress 32 Bust from Badgirlvintage
Pulling up to the MH gallery, on west 20th street, I was pleasantly surprised to see a large and lively crowd all gathered to celebrate the culture of vintage fashion.
LoAlbo, seated in the front of the gallery, was busy signing copies of her new book. As she explained to me; not everyone can or wants to dress in full vintage mode. However, there are many who could easily spice up their contemporary wardrobe with some smart and unique vintage accessories. A mod handbag, a pair of vintage snake skin boots, a feathered hat, a sparkling vintage costume brooch or even a Salvador Dali necktie can all create a unique fashion statement.
Stacy LoAlbo, who owns the Incogneeto vintage boutique in Somerville, New Jersey, has also written numerous articles on vintage fashion for several newspapers, participated in dozens of shows in the field, given symposiums and lectures and has held several vintage clothing fashion shows. Her long experience in the field of vintage fashion has given her an evolved sense for fashion modes and trends.
Quoting the gallery notes
There are historical and cultural associations with vintage clothing and accessories. LoAlbo, in her new book, has given us lessons on that sentiment. The pages are filled with photography of dresses, hats and accessories with artfully cropped images of product shots by Jimmy Lin and Marguerite Ruscito. A book more for the fashionista or vintage collector, it easily crosses the boundary of art as it emphasizes the beauty, uniqueness and sensuality of these vintage items spanning an era that starts in the stylish early 1900’s to the plaids of the 1970’s.
Tons of great vintage accessories, people dressed in all their vintage finery, lots of books being signed and good conversations made for a great night.
We all know that fashion changes and almost nothing more so than the fashion of hats. Those charming and sometimes absurd creations we balance on the top of our well coiffed heads. From Victorian times up until the mid 20th century hats were a must. No self respecting fashion plate would be seen without one.
Modern hats went from being the overdone floral, feathered and ribboned concoctions of the Victorian and Edwardian era to the more spare, sculptural and minimal of the mid 20th century.
In this post I’d like to focus on the more spare and sculptural hats of the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. Cocktail hats to be more specific. I’ve always enjoyed the classic black cocktail hat of that period. Many of these are like little sculptures, titled, bent, tortured works of satin, felt, raffia or straw.
It’s not too late in the party season to don a neat cocktail hat for an evening out.
Check out these sweet hats I’ve selected that are currently available from various Etsy dealers.
I just listed a great brooch by the Finnish design firm of Aarikka. A family run company, Aarikka was founded in 1954 by Kaija Aarikka and her husband. Much of the jewelry they created was made from wooden beads in modernist arrangements.
Big and bold this kinetic brooch with red wood beads is truly a statement piece. Jewelry from mid 20th century Finland tends to define the modernist trend in that part of the world and beyond. Sleek and very architectural the Finns had a knack for expressing a clear modern sensibility.
Some might know me from my Etsy store “Slapmefabulous” where I sell jewelry, vintage fashion and decorative items dating mostly from the early to mid 20th century. I thought that writing a blog would be a great way of enhancing the whole experience. I’ll be posting articles dealing with new items, item related antidotes, as well as general information pieces. Also watch for dealer and artisan interviews plus postings that will be examining the world of vintage jewelry, fashion and culture.