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

Photo of Shoe hat, Elsa Schiaparelli, 1937 – 8, France. Museum no. T.2-2009. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Shoe hat, Elsa Schiaparelli, 1937 – 8, France. Museum no. T.2-2009. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Hat, Jacques Fath, 1951, France. Museum no. T.187-1974. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hat, Jacques Fath, 1951, France. Museum no. T.187-1974. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Hat, Marshall and Snelgrove, 1937 – 1939, England. Museum no. T.104-1980. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hat, Marshall and Snelgrove, 1937 – 1939, England. Museum no. T.104-1980. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Silk tulle turban hat, designed by Paulette Marchand, about 1960, France. Museum no. T.46-1977. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Silk tulle turban hat, designed by Paulette Marchand, about 1960, France. Museum no. T.46-1977. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Hat, Cristóbal Balenciaga, about 1960, Paris. Museum no. T.755-1972. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hat, Cristóbal Balenciaga, about 1960, Paris. Museum no. T.755-1972. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Hat, Aage Thaarup, 1960s, England. Museum no. T.261-1985. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hat, Aage Thaarup, 1960s, England. Museum no. T.261-1985. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Hat, Philip Treacy, 1995, England. Museum no. T.182-1996. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hat, Philip Treacy, 1995, England. Museum no. T.182-1996. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Tatlin, hat, designed by Stephen Jones, 1982, England. Museum no. T.222-1989. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Tatlin, hat, designed by Stephen Jones, 1982, England. Museum no. T.222-1989. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Hat, Otto Lucas, 1954, England. Museum no. T.218-1985. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hat, Otto Lucas, 1954, England. Museum no. T.218-1985. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Hat, designed by Lucienne Rabaté for the House of Reboux, 1946, France. Museum no. T.384-1974. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hat, designed by Lucienne Rabaté for the House of Reboux, 1946, France. Museum no. T.384-1974. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Corno ducale, hat, unknown maker, 1675 – 99, Venice. Museum no. T.212-1920. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Corno ducale, hat, unknown maker, 1675 – 99, Venice. Museum no. T.212-1920. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Hat, Philip Treacy, 1991, England. Museum no. T.933-1994. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hat, Philip Treacy, 1991, England. Museum no. T.933-1994. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Cloche hat, Liberty and Co. Ltd, 1928, London. Museum no. T.71B-1982. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Cloche hat, Liberty and Co. Ltd, 1928, London. Museum no. T.71B-1982. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Hat, 20th century, Kutch, Gujarat, India. Museum no. IS.135-1960. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hat, 20th century, Kutch, Gujarat, India. Museum no. IS.135-1960. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Bowler hat, Woodrow, 1940 – 50, England. Museum no. T.887-2000. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Bowler hat, Woodrow, 1940 – 50, England. Museum no. T.887-2000. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of 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
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

Photo of Silk orchid hat, designed by Philip Treacy, 2011, London. Museum no. T.64-2012. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Silk orchid hat, designed by Philip Treacy, 2011, London. Museum no. T.64-2012. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Tang geon, indoor hat, unknown maker, 1850 – 1910, Korea. Museum no. FEC.LOST 99/N/L2.7. © 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

Photo of Tam, hat, maker unknown, 1970s, England. Museum no. T.72-1994. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Tam, hat, maker unknown, 1970s, England. Museum no. T.72-1994. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Hat, 1950s, USA. Museum no. T.1059-1994. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hat, 1950s, USA. Museum no. T.1059-1994. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Top hat worn by musician Joe Loss, made by James Lock & Co., 1970s, England. Museum no. S.84-2019. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Top hat worn by musician Joe Loss, made by James Lock & Co., 1970s, England. 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