A HAT is a head covering. It may be worn for protection against the elements, for ceremonial or religious reasons, for safety, or as a fashion accessory. In the past, hats were an indicator of social status. In the military, they may denote rank and regiment.
One of the first pictorial depictions of a hat appears in a Thebes tomb painting which shows a man wearing a coolie-style straw hat. Other early hats were the Pileus, a simple skull cap; the Phrygian cap, worn by freed slaves in Greece and Rome; and the Greek Pestasos, the first known hat with a brim. Women wore veils, kerchiefs, hoods, caps and wimples. Structured hats for women similar to those of male courtiers began to be worn in the late 16th century. The term ‘milliner’ comes from the Italian city of Milan, where the best quality hats were made in the 18th century. Millinery was traditionally a woman’s occupation, with the milliner not only creating hats and bonnets but also choosing lace, trimmings and accessories to complete an outfit.
In the first half of the 19th century, women wore bonnets that gradually became larger, decorated with ribbons, flowers, feathers and gauze trims. By the end of the century, many other styles were introduced, among them hats with wide brims and flat crowns, the flower pot and the toque. By the middle of the 1920s, when women began to cut their hair short, they chose hats that hugged the head like a helmet.
Hat design. A hat consists of four main parts: Crown, the portion of a hat covering the top of the head. Peak (British English), Visor(American English), or bill, a stiff projection at the front, to shade or shield the eyes from sun and rain. Brim, an optional projection of stiff material from the bottom of the hat’s crown horizontally all around the circumference of the hat. Puggaree (British) or Sweatband orHatband (American), a ribbon or band that runs around the bottom of the torso of the hat. The sweatband may be adjustable with a cord or rope at the top and is on the inside of the hat touching the skin while the hatband and puggaree are around the outside.
Modeled by actress Alicia Witt at Christie’s in London, “Chapeau d’Amour”—the “hat of love”—was created by celebrity couture designer Louis Mariette. Made of woven platinum and covered in stunning diamonds, the hat was inspired by ivy and bluebells.
The hat is valued at $2.7 million, making it the most expensive hat in the world. Unfortunately for hat collectors everywhere, Chapeau d’Amour is not for sale.
If you’re looking for an expensive hat that is for sale, check out Bonhams & Butterfields in San Francisco on November 10th, 2010, where the “Nature of Opals” auction will see the “Deep Blue Sea” hat go to the highest bidder.
The hat is a collaboration between Australian hatmaker Ann Maree Willett and miners Vicki and Peter Drackett. Made with hand blocked Australian felt, the hat is decorated with feathers and twenty-six opals mined from Lightning Ridge, Australia. The opals were carved by Daniela L’Abbate and Christine Roussel and set in sterling silver and 18k gold by Gerd Gerold Schulz.
Lightning Ridge has the world’s largest opal deposits, and the opal is Australia’s national gemstone.
Worth US $100,000, “THE HAT” by Brent Black is considered one of the most expensive hats in the world. To give you some illustrations, theFINEST MONTECRISTI PANAMA HAT the world has ever known is equivalent to 1,682 packages of Ed Hardy “Love Kills” Car Accessories, or 1,111 pieces of Michael Jackson’s Trade Mark Hat, or 917 pieces of Robert Pattinson’s Ray Bansunglasses, or 306 units of McLaren Sport Samsonite Black Label.
It was made to order by BRENT BLACK – the most excellent purveyor of hand-woven straw hats, from THE BEST WEAVER IN HISTORY – Simón Espinal who lives in the village of Píle in Montecristi Canton, using extremely fine toquilla straw and woven only in Ecuador. The king of master weavers spent five months to complete THE HAT before it was prepared and finished by five other artisans for several more weeks. An incredible amount of handwork produce the best of the best, hence the price.
SIMON ESPINAL might claim he could make another one equal to THE HAT’s fineness; but the founder of PANAMA HAT COMPANY OF THE PACIFIC disagrees.