The head is not only for thoughts; you can also wear hats on it. And a hat can be removed and hung on a hanger to avoid fixed ideas.
An exhibition entitled “Hats: An Anthology” has opened in New York and can be seen at the Brad Graduate Center, a place of design and philosophy about fashion and design. The exhibition, curated by the celebrated milliner Stephen Jones, contains more than 250 hats: eccentric, artistic and definitely timeless.
You can see hats in all museums in the greatest artist’s paintings and portrays of men and women wearing different headdresses. From Rembrandt’s famous portrait of Saskia to Picasso; the hat is part of art history.
In this exhibition we find everything from a Tudor hat to Warhol’s wig. The three floors of the Brad Graduate Center present a selection of trends, great names, plumes, felt and other elements that women - especially the British – have worn on their heads with great self-confidence.
The exhibition includes both videos and photographs of famous people wearing hats and headdresses belonging to the vast collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. New York’s critics love it and see every hat as a sculpture. And even if they have not yet managed to enter the “canon of art” they will soon do so. The curator of the exhibition of course shows the best of his collection creating a sort of retrospective. All the big names are there: from Poiret to Phillip Tracey passing through Balenciaga, Galliano and the new discovery Nazir Nazha with his “black cube”.
The turban of Simone de Beauvoir and headdresses of Carla Bruni and Marlene Dietrich are some of the most famous and photographed ones of the century.
With the hat, form exceeds function more freely than in any other accessory. It is the most outrageous garment and it meets the purpose of adding personality to all types of clothing. Furthermore, the human head is one of the most perfect pedestals in nature.
Not all hats are created for a particular purpose but sometimes just to put the final touch to a fashion show. Jones worked for Galliano at Dior and together they created the so celebrated painter’s palette.
Balenciaga is more minimalistic and surrealism is the heritage of many, like the daring and almost scandalous hat-shoe by Schiaparelli in collaboration with Dalí in 1937.
According to the catalogue, men started to wear turbans but these later became something that only women wore. And now that the world is talking so much about Greece it’s worth mentioning that the hat was actually their invention. Perhaps the philosophers, who taught their pupils when walking, wanted to protect their heads from the Mediterranean sun.
This is an exhaustive exposition on the history of the hat. Fascinating and full of amazing headdresses. A hat sometimes represent the intentions of the wearer.
The Bard Graduate Center
New York City 18 West 86th Street, between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue.