Some looks are just too perfect in their ensemble, such as this one worn by Hedy Lamarr. But the hat pulls it all together in a look of total beauty and fascination, made perfect by the choker, the long lace gloves, the pearl earrings, and the deco bracelet. It is such a pity that the days of the hat are gone. One would rarely if ever see anyone wear such a striking and beautiful hat as this, save on opening day at the races, and then it's a free for all. I say hats on to hats.
Here is Greta Garbo in a simple beret from the film As You Desire Me, 1932. The fashion influence of the Hollywood films of the 1930s can not be exagerated. The French couture was certainly copied for American consumers. But by then even French designers were being influenced by what stars like Garbo, Crawford, Dietrich, Lombard, Harlow, Colbert, and others were wearing, designed for them by the Hollywood costume designers. And most young American women were getting their fashion cues from the movies, not from the expensive fashion glossies. This costume Garbo wears was another design by Adrian. Although Adrian often designed his own hats, he also used the services of Mr. John of John-Fredericks, both at MGM and at Adrian Ltd. John P. John was a most colorful character, a natural fit in Hollywood.
A beret is timeless, and one of those hats that inexplicably looks as good on a special warfare combatant, a runway model, or a bohemienne.
There's nothing like a hat to give mood and meaning to an occasion. Whether you have a closet-full (who does anymore) or only two, you can give yourself and air of mystery, or at a minimum, protect yourself from the elements. A nice karakul wool coat like the one Joan Fontaine is wearing helps too, but the mystery comes from the hat alone.
This lovely lady is the late costume designer Renie Conley, who began as a sketch artist at MGM in the late 20s and whose last credit was for the costumes for Body Heat in 1981. Her career, though not as well known, lasted about as long as Edith Head's. Renie (pronounced Renee), was a big fan of Mexican and South American folk costume. Her hat shows such influence and seems to fit perfectly with her chalk-striped suit.
This striking oufit of black silk crepe was designed by Irene, circa 1958. The streamers at the front of the gown bring attention to the bustline, but the hat is the icing on this beautiful cake.
Hats on or off?