Wednesday, August 06, 2008

HISTORY OF THE CLOCHE
Some favorites from my personal cloche collection


A favorite brown cloche with wider brim


The timeless Louise Brooks wearing a lovely cloche






Evie and Beatrice sporting cloches in The House of Eliott


Are you a hat lover? Do you flock to millinery in antique shops and browse countless websites searching for the perfect hat?

My favorite hat design is the cloche (French for bell) which became fashionable in 1908 and remained so until 1933, hence revealing that the cloche was not confined to the 20’s era, as is sometimes believed. However, it was most certainly at its most popular during that time period. The cloche of that era resembled a helmet and worn properly, would have been nearly pulled over the eyes making it necessary for the wearer to lean her head back in an almost air of superiority. The clever bell shape was meant to add height to the wearer to give off the illusion of grandeur.

The brims on the cloche, when worn in 1908 were close fitting with deep crowns over the brow, underwent a change in later years. Between 1922-1925, the hat was even snugger and the brim was small at the front. The only way to bring an updated look to the hat was to further reduce the brim. The new reduced brim became fashionable after 1926 and completely disappeared by 1928.

Cloches exist in many forms and are often made of felt, making it much easier to form fit closer to the head. Also noted is the influence of the Art Deco movement which may be seen in construction line, appliqu├ęs and zigzag seaming.

And what of the hairstyle most associated with the cloche? By the early 1920’s "the bob" became the rage and when a woman sported a cloche, her bobbed hair was pressed very close to her head most often revealing the cheek sweep of hair which accentuated her cheekbones and created a fresh feminine look.

I’m delighted to find so many cloche hats available today and am always eager to find the perfect one to add to my growing collection. However, to truly pay proper homage to the cloche, one must also adorn her lips with ox-blood red lipstick before daring to venture in public...At least she must do so if she is to accurately recreate the era...

12 comments:

willow said...

I love this post!!!

Yes, I admit, I am a hat lover, too. Your bob looks absolutely perfect with your lovely cloche. Very interesting background on the cloche!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

You have an amazing collection. And, you look so fetching in yours!

I also like the word, cloche. I like saying it. Reminds me of snood, another fun item of headgear!

Dee Dee said...

Oh Rebecca, I love your clothe collection. This is one of my favorite styles. I just don't have the opportunity to wear hats here in Florida...When we move back to the Carolinas then I can...can't wait! I see your still wearing that darling Bob...the music is perfect for this post...makes me want to dance :)

Dee Dee said...

Rebecca...I hope I didn't spell cloche wrong...

Lavinia said...

I adore the cloche! I have a black one with dark green ribbon and burgundy flowers massed at the front. I should dust it off and take a pic for you.
Thanks for all the images here. And the history. One of my favourite books, The Desert of Love, has a detailed description of a woman and her cloche hat....
Long live the cloche!

steviewren said...

Your face is perfectly suited to wear a cloche and you look wonderful in it. I would love to see a picture of you modeling the blue one. Its my favorite I think.

Rebecca said...

Thank you Willow! I can easily see you in a cloche.

Rebecca said...

Pamela and Edward, thank you...Oh, the snood! Love that as well...They are great words, aren't they?

Rebecca said...

Dee Dee, I read an aricle about Aiken, SC...Isn't that where you lived once? Lovely horse town:-)
You'll certainly have to pull out your cloches when you move back.

Rebecca said...

Lavinia, better yet, dust it off and start wearing it:-)...I'd love to see a picture of you in your cloche.

Rebecca said...

Steviewren, thank you for such kind words...The angle from that picture makes me look like I have no chin! LOL!! I need to enlist my son to help take another...Which hat are you referring to? The two darker ones are both black but may have come off blue from the photo. Is it the one in the middle?

Betsy said...

You look adorable...just like you stepped out of the 1920's! Very nice collection, Rebecca! I love hats but rarely wear them. Nobody wears them up here ....maybe I should start a trend! :)