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March 02, 2008

A Fevered Prettiness

Posted in: Accessories

French Bonnet

French Bonnet, 1830–35. Ivory silk satin, ivory gauze, ivory silk tulle with ivory silk filament embroidery, egret and duck feathers, and ivory linen petal appliqué. Isabel Shults Fund, 2004 (2004.343).

In the 1830s the fashionable coiffeur was hair pulled back in a high single- or double-looped chignon with dense grapelike bunches of curls at the temples. This hairstyle influenced the profile of hats of the period, which were characterized by narrow, deep, cylindrical crowns that were angled upward, and wide, face framing, halo-like brims. Hat trims were particularly lavish, with the interiors of the brims, because they were exposed, also treated decoratively. This example is particularly rich in ornamentation and rare for the survival of all its embellishments.

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