Category Archives: millinery

Myth Information – The Merry Widow Hat

Exaggerations of truth plague the history of fashion, none more than the Merry Widow Hat. The story is that Lily Elsie, the English stage actress (and Kardashian of her day), donned a large hat to play the lead in the hit … Continue reading

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The First Fashion of 2017

Last year’s trend for making political statements through dress continues to be a strong influence in 2017. The National Mall in Washington may become a sea of pink tomorrow. For two months, Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman, founders of the Pussyhat Project, have … Continue reading

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Canadian Fashion Connection – Karyn Ruiz, Lilliput Hats

The Fashion History Museum’s second annual fundraiser Chapeaux et Champagne has been scheduled for February 11 – tickets are available through Eventbrite. We will be once again featuring an array of vintage hats as well as the work of one contemporary Canadian … Continue reading

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Myth Information – Toque Blanche

As part of our occupational dress collection, the museum recently acquired a chef’s uniform worn in 1959/1960. In reading up about how the costume developed I found a lot of apocryphal stories about why the chef’s hat, known as the … Continue reading

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Canadian Fashion Connection – Stetson

As an integral element of the lone cowboy – the Stetson hat is a symbol of America – but a large part of its history played out in Canada. In 1902 the Union Hat Works of St. John’s, Quebec agreed to … Continue reading

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A must see film – Falbalas 1945

This film should be required viewing for students of 1940s fashion! The title Falbalas, which means frippery (ostentatious decoration), is translated into ‘Paris Frills’ on IMDB. The film was released in France in June 1945, shortly after European hostilities had ceased … Continue reading

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Bill Cunningham – 1929-2016

Fashion photo-journalist Bill Cunningham, pictured here pointing his camera while wearing his signature French workman’s jacket, tried to be an inconspicuous observer of New York fashion, but he was as well known to New Yorkers as the naked cowboy. He passed away … Continue reading

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Fashion in Song – The Jockey Hat and Feather – 1860

When I was reading up on yesterday’s Fashion in Song The Gal with the Balmoral, I found the 1861 sheet music that referenced the song was sung to the tune of an 1860 hit The Jockey Hat and Feather. Jockey hats were … Continue reading

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Fashion in Song – Where Did You Get That Hat? – 1888

Where Did You Get That Hat was written in 1888 by American vaudeville performer Joseph J. Sullivan supposedly after being teased by children on his way home in Brooklyn for wearing an unusual hat.  The song became a favourite Vaudeville and Music … Continue reading

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Fashion in Song – Under My Merry Widow Hat – 1908

Published in 1908, this popular song is making reference to the huge brimmed hats, usually trimmed with enormous ostrich plumes, that became popular in 1907-1908 and were known as Merry Widows (aka Picture hats/ Gainsboroughs.) The term for the hat came from … Continue reading

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