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A John Lennon hat (or cap) was the informal name applied in the mid 1960s to a style of cap, similar to that often associated with fishermen [1], that was popularised by John Lennon (1940-80) of The Beatles rock group. It was typically made of denim, but was adapted to other fabrics, such as corduroy.

History

Lennon, alone of the Beatles, wore such a hat during the group's tour of the United States in 1964 that unleashed the so-called "British invasion". A similar style of headgear had been worn by American singer and songwriter Bob Dylan (b.1941): for example on the cover of his first album, Bob Dylan (1962). Others to adopt the fashion were the Beatles' drummer Ringo Starr and British folk-rock artist Donovan[2].

The satirical magazine Private Eye noted the trend in its regular "spoof" journal, "Mrs Wilson's Diary": "Harold was standing by the map in his old Oxford duffle coat with Giles's Beatle-style George Lennon [a deliberate combination of George Harrison, also of the Beatles, and John Lennon] cap ..." [3]

Unisex accessory

The hat became an early example of a unisex accessory, its female adherents including Lennon's first wife Cynthia; Princess Anne, daughter of Queen Elizabeth II; and actresses Diana Rigg (as Emma Peel in ATV’s The Avengers) and Juliet Harmer (as Georgina Jones in BBC TV’s Adam Adamant Lives!) The style was re-created by actress Sienna Miller in the role of 1960s socialite Edie Sedgwick in the film Factory Girl (2007).

Notes

  1. ^ See Madeleine Marsh (1999) Collecting the 1960s
  2. ^ See, for example, the cover of the Hallmark compilation album, Catch the Wind
  3. ^ c. March 1967: The Life and Times of Private Eye 1961-1971 (ed Richard Ingrams, 1971)
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