Friday, 5 December 2008

Bring Back The Hat

Now that I have a bit more time on my hands I'm able to write a lot more than I used to and I'm really enjoying it! As well as inundating you with posts here I've embarked on writing pieces for Fashion156. I wrote the MAN feature in the latest HATS/HEADPIECES issue and within it discussed the decline of hat wearing amongst men (I must admit that I hardly ever wear a hat myself, but this will change over the coming months). Our very first Style Salvage campaign was to get more men wearing hats but not enough has been done so we had to revisit it. There have been many golden eras where a man would consider an outfit incomplete, consider himself naked even, without a hat but now they are rarely even considered in the construction of the everyday outfit. Despite a wealth of inspiration from a number of recent collections (with James Long depicting the hat as an essential facet of the Winter Warrior look during his AW08 collection and Lanvin celebrating distressed straw hats which were reborn with silk ribbons for SS09) this has not been translated into the 'real world'. As always with Fashion156, there is a beautiful editorial containing carefully selected pieces from upcoming designers and these images have inspired me to experiment with head wear even more. Here are my highlights...

Headpieces all by J Smith Esquire

The J Smith Esquire featured headpieces simply steal the show and it is easy to see why Stephen Jones is so excited by the bespoke milliners creations. Following his MA in Millinery at the Royal College Of Art in 2007, Justin Smith continues to develop and push the boundaries of exciting millinery. Since graduating, he has been awarded the iD styling award, the Maria Louisa award at ITS6 and shown at London Fashion Week as part of On/Off. There is no doubt that he approaches hat design quite theatrically, "You can treat hats like sculptures, using any material that you want. I also love that you never wash a hat. So it has its own history that keeps going" remarked Justin in a piece for Interview.

Hat, shirt, harness and tie by Rui Leonardes, Visor by House of Flora

Rui Lonardes
is a designer who is constantly questioning gender stereotypes, blurring the boundaries as he goes (typified by his high heels for men) but he is not a designer that ordinarily leaves me salivating, however his creations here do just that. The visor by House of Flora (a fashion label established by designer Flora McLean, who teaches fashion design and promotion at Middlesex University) makes me think that visors could have a place within men's style outside of the golf course...

In short, there is a great deal of inspirational hat donning out there...the time for a new era of hat wearing is now my friends.


Izzy said...

Mens' interest in hair styling (as seen in the proliferation of men's hair products in the market) has sort of pushed the practice of hat-wearing aside. Even baseball caps, which might be considered the plain vanilla of hats, aren't worn now as much as they were in, say, the 90s.

But with the general interest in tailoring, coupled with the hipsters' (excuse the term) affinity for unique headgear in general, I totally agree that proper men's hats, albeit more creative, fashion-y hats are on the rise.

Ian Brown said...

Hat's are a passion of mine. Everytime I pass a hatter or milliner's studio I stop in. Today when people think of wearing a hat the obvious choice is the trilby a la Pete Doherty. That trick has been done. Why be conventional? Hats have a great way of transforming a look.

There are many different styles of hats that have a lot to add to a look: porkpies, boaters, bowlers, opera hats, and even top hats. Lanvin has been making a few stand out pieces for the past two years. Their felt riding and baseball caps last spring were outrageously cool. My personal preference however is to go with a hatter. You pay the same price you pay in a dept store (150-300) but the hat will be perfectly made for your head and to your tastes.

Thanks for putting in a good word for a good cause.

Matthew Spade said...

funny you should do a post on hats becases i have just done a post which features my christmas wish list, and on it is a bowler hat.

ive seen a few on the hi street but my problem is that they don't fit, i must have a really tiny head. i measured my head and its 56cm but most shops on the hi street start at 57-59ish. i've been wanting one for ages now, surely i'm not the only person with this problem?

can anyone help? come on SS you guys must know somewhere, even a kids shop?

TheSundayBest said...

When I saw that grey bowler in Fantastic Man I saw my future. I bought a bowler six years ago but bought it too big. So if you think you have a head bigger than mine, it's yours.

With hats comes a return to hairstyles that can withstand hats.

Style Salvage Steve said...

izzydore: You might just have something about the popularity of hair products and its effect on hat wearing. There was certainly a time in my youth when I would shudder at the thought of messing up carefully constructed, wax coated hairstyle.
Ian Brown: Thanks for the advice, you are far more experienced than myself! I agree that hats should be used to transform a look.
mat ahoy: Aside from visiting a hatter I'm not sure what you can do. I will have a look online for you.
Thesundaybest: Your future sounds vry nice indeed. I think it is about time that such hairstyles made a popular return.


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