Denim hat

Denim hat

Made by Mr Denim
Denim with artificial flowers and wire
Great Britain
About 1970
Museum no. T.126-1996

This hat belonged to Patricia Harmsworth, Lady Rothermere. Famed for her colourful parties and generosity as a hostess she was also known for her exuberant and unconventional style of dress.

The informal, casual style of the hat with its large floppy brim and patchwork construction indicates the change in attitude toward hat wearing which occurred in the mid-20th century. As the high fashion world turned towards the emergent youth culture, traditional accessories such as hats, handbags and gloves were suddenly identified with an older generation and no longer regarded as essential items of dress. The use of recycled denim jeans, the inexpensive method of construction and the colourful, roughly applied nylon flowers show that his hat was designed with an eye toward the fast fashion of the youth market.  Denim was not such a universal fabric and was still very much identified specifically with jeans, giving the hat a novelty value.