Tag: hats

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Hats off to the straw and shellac


Can you separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to straw hats? Sadly I struggle to, which is why it’s so helpful to have students from the ‘Period Hat’ class at Morley College, London and their tutor Jane Smith come to the V&A Museum of Childhood to study our children’s hat collection with me. During […]

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From Feathers to Fascinators: Part Two

Kiss of Death Bonnet: Black satin bonnet with pheasant feathers, designed by Jo Gordon, Britain, 1994. Museum number: T.139-1996.

Jenna Banat is a volunteer in the Furniture, Textiles and Fashion department here at the V&A. In the second in a series of three blog posts, Jenna is going to take a look at some examples of feather hats in our collection. During the twentieth century, the ideal image for women was to look delicate […]

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What to wear when you don’t have a halo

278:3, cutting from a choir book, initial D with a miniature of St. Agnes. Germany, 15th century. © V&A Museum.

Sometimes, when looking through medieval manuscripts, it seems that everyone is wearing a halo – page after page of holy families, saints and virgin martyrs! This beautiful image of Saint Agnes (with her lamb) has beautiful flowing hair, a shimmering halo, and a heavenly crown. But a mere mortal woman could not copy this look. […]

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The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day No.44


The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day No.44 St.James today, established in 1676 this is the oldest hat shop in the world. It is run by James Lock’s descendants to this very day. It is where the bowler hat was invented. They have supplied headwear to many historical figures including Sir Winston Churchill, Charlie […]

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How to Avoid Becoming As Mad as a Hatter, or The Pirate’s Curse!

Skull-and-crossbones toxicity warning sign on V&A hats which are thought to have unacceptable levels of mercury in them

Some visitors might find being presented with a hat kept inside a strong plastic bag, emblazoned with a skull-and-crossbones and the word ‘TOXIC‘ in big authoritative letters, a little alarming. Perhaps they would be led to think that we had turned buccaneer, or perhaps that Captain Kidd‘s most cherished secret, the one that he took to […]

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