Hats

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The V&A's significant hat collection is a revealing and exciting record of the changes in headgear over the past 17 centuries. From practical to fanciful and mass-produced to bespoke, the myriad of shapes, styles, materials and sizes highlight that there is a hat for every occasion.

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While hats have been worn for centuries, millinery is comparatively recent – becoming established over the past 300 years – and concentrates on the more decorative and fashionable side of hat-wearing. Not simply an accessory, hats have the power to impart a message of authority, affiliation, individuality, propriety, rebellion and style.

Collection Highlights

hat
Shoe hat, designed by Elsa Schiaparelli, 1937 – 8, France
Hat, Marshall and Snelgrove, 1937-1939, London. Museum no. T.104-1980. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Silk tulle turban hat, by Paulette, about 1955, Paris. Museum no. T.46-1977. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hat, Cristóbal Balenciaga, about 1960, Paris. Museum no. T.755-1972. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hat, Aage Thaarup, 1960s, London. Museum no. T.261-1985. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hat, Philip Treacy, 1995, England. Museum no. T.182-1996. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Tatlin, hat, designed by Stephen Jones, 1982, England. Museum no. T.222-1989. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hat, Caroline Reboux, 1946, France. Museum no. T.384-1974. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Corno ducale, hat, unknown maker, 1675-1699, Venice. Museum no. T.212-1920. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hat, Philip Treacy, 1991, Great Britain. Museum no. T.933-1994. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Cloche hat, Liberty and Co. Ltd, 1928, London. Museum no. T.71B-1982. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hat, 20th century, Kutch, Gujarat, India. Museum no. IS.135-1960. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Bowler hat, Woodrow, 1940 – 50, England. Museum no. T.887-2000. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hat worn by Idina Menzel as Elphaba in the original 2003 New York production of Wicked, designed by Susan Hilferty, made by Rodney Gordon, 2003, USA. Museum no. S.503-2016. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Silk orchid hat, designed by Philip Treacy, 2011, London. Museum no. T.64-2012. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Tang geon, indoor hat, unknown maker, 1850-1910, Korea. Museum no. FEC.LOST 99/N/L2.7. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Tam, hat, 1970s, British. Museum no. T.72-1994. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hat, 1950s, USA. Museum no. T.1059-1994. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Top hat worn by Joe Loss, made by James Lock & Co., 1970s, UK. Museum no. S.84-2019. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Features

Background image: L-R: Pink velvet cap, designed by Aage Thaarup, 1950-59, England. Museum no. T.255-1985. Ivy leaf hat, designed by Aage Thaarup, 1950-59, England. Museum no. T.254-1985. Hydrangea flower hat; designed by Paulette, about 1955, France. Museum no. T.247-1984. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London