The Cloche: One Hell of a Modern Hat
THE hat of the 1920‘s, the cloche has seen a revival in the past few years and why not? It’s worn close to the head and tilted to one side. Plus it can be pulled down over the forehead as far as you’d like, depending on the level of mystery you want to evoke. The cloche crosses all classes by being extremely versatile. It can be simple or dramatically adorned, it can possess a brim or not, can be made of felt, straw or cloth, and can be worn for any occasion. What’s not to love?
Even though the cloche is the iconic hat of the 1920’s, it was created in 1908 by famed French milliner Caroline Reboux and derives it’s named from the French word for “bell”. The first wave of these hats had a bulbous crown shape to accommodate long hair piled high on the head of the wearer and the brim was close to the head.
As the 1920’s gave way to the modern woman, with shorter cropped hair styles and makeup, the cloche conformed to this new style by fitting tighter to the head with the brim shielding the eyes. This forced the wearer to tilt their head seductively in order to see. With some red lipstick this created a very entrancing look that defined the era and added to the glamour of Hollywood film stars.
The cloche evolved through the 1920‘s with the brim shrinking and becoming upturned or influenced by patterns of the Art Deco movement. By 1928, the brims had been eliminated all together and the cloche resembled a skull cap nearly hiding the wearers hair completely. In 1933, Elsa Schiaparelli’s high sitting deep stiff brimmed hats that allowed the wearer’s hair to be free became the new vogue and the cloche became outmoded.
Today, the cloche is back and will only become more popular as films and television shows set in the 1920’s, such as The Great Gatsby (2013) and Downton Abbey, take the fascination of the female public. Ladies, give yourself a little glamour and wear a cloche!