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Actress Vilma Bánky wearing a cloche hat, 1927
Actress Winnie Lightner wearing a cloche hat with the brim folded up, 1930

The cloche hat is a fitted, bell-shaped hat that was popular during the 1920s.[1] (Cloche is the French word for bell.) Caroline Reboux is the creator of the cloche hat.

Cloche hats were usually made of felt so that they conformed to the head.[1] The hat was typically designed to be worn low on the forehead, with the wearer's eyes only slightly below the brim.[1] By 1928-1929, it became fashionable to turn the brims on cloche hats upwards. This style remained prevalent throughout the early 1930s until the cloche hat became obsolete around 1933-1934.

Often, different styles of ribbons affixed to the hats indicated different messages about the wearer. Several popular messages included: An arrow-like ribbon which indicated a girl was single but had already given her heart to someone, a firm knot which signaled marriage or a flamboyant bow which indicated the wearer was single and interested in mingling.[2]

Cloche hats' popularity and influence were overwhelming. Couture houses like Lanvin and Molyneux opened ateliers to join milliners in manufacturing the hats.[1] The hats even shaped hairstyles: the Eton crop (the short, slicked-down cut worn by Josephine Baker) became popular because it was ideal to showcase the hats' shape.[1]

In the late 1980s, inventive models of the cloche, such as Patrick Kelly's version with a buttoned brim, made a minor resurgence.[1] Cloche hats were also featured in many designers' Fall 2007 collections; Elle magazine called the cloche hat the "haute accessory of the moment" in its September 2007 issue.[1] Recently, the cloche hat has been worn by actress Angelina Jolie in the 2008 movie, Changeling.

Following the Cloche's resurgence in 2007, modern versions of the hat have emerged, often reflecting the region of the milliner. In 2009, Violina Couture Millinery of California introduced the demi-cloche, a variant of the cloche which allows more of the wearer's hair to be exposed.

In popular culture

  • When Ken Jennings appeared on the game show Jeopardy for the 75th time, two incorrect responses to the Daily Doubles in Double Jeopardy led to his loss to Nancy Zerg. The correct response to the second one was "What is a cloche hat?"

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Vargas, Whitney. "Head Start." Elle (Sept. 2007): p190.
  2. ^ Thomas, Pauline. "Hats and Hair Fashion." (Mar. 2004)
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