Thursday, March 5, 2009

18th Century Hats

The hats in the 18th century, particularly those of 1770-1780, were eye-popping confections. Anything and everything could be used to embellish the hat including appliqued silk and satin, ribbons, feathers, pearls, beads, flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

With the high pouff hairstyle of the 1770s, the hair and the hat became a platform for displays of miniature ships and other models. These 'poufs a la circonstance' served to comment on fashionable crazes and topical events like the rage for ballooning, the popular play the Marriage of Figaro, and the French naval victories.

Rose Bertin created many of these poufs a la circonstance and it was her creativity with hats that led to her popularity among the fashionable Parisian elite and her introduction to Marie Antoinette.

Marie Antoinette wore a pouf a la Belle Poule, an intricate hairdo and headdress that displayed the French frigate that won a key victory against the British in June 1778. To read more about Marie Antoinette and her passion for pouf hairstyles, please see my post from October 2008.

P.S. I've posted a review of "The Art of Dress" on Blog of a Bookworm. This book is a fantastic resource for students/fans/admirers of historical fashion.