Bonnets and Dazzlers and history, Oh My!

Late 1960s gentleman’s astrakhan Cossack hat with quilted satin lining.
Enthusiasm for hats ran high at the Canadian Antique Collectors Association meeting in Toronto this month. Members came prepared to model, learn about, and share their own stories of hats on Wednesday, May 20th, at Toronto’s Montgomery Inn, where I presented yet another Retrospective Millinery Fashion Show.
The rustic setting came alive with oohs and aahs as volunteers slipped through the audience in historic hats from the Victorian era through the various fashion decades of the 20th century to the present day, modelling everything from bonnets and a Bobby Dazzler to a Mad Hatter replica of the topper Johnny Depp wore in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.
Vice president Krystyna Czerska shows off her vintage leather-bound stand-up beret.
It was a delight to see participants arrive in hats and some brought along a few extra. Is there anything more exhilarating than lifting the lid on a hat box to see what’s inside? With one member preparing for an audience with the Dutch King and Queen (she’ll be wearing a hat), and the group attempting to expand their focus to include vintage, a good time was had by all.
Czerska’s hat bears a 1960s New York label.
Sherring’s 1930s panama straw.

Straight out of the gate I spied a 1930s panama straw, lovingly preserved in a late  1960s transparent hat box with quilted, pink vinyl lid. The hat with its Equadoran label was a family piece which looks fabulous on its present owner, Rena Sherring.

 Following the show, Joyce Monroe, great-granddaughter of Hattie Jardine  (that’s a name I can appreciate) donated an early 1800s sealskin cap and a mid-20th century gentleman’s astrakhan Cossack.  She had arrived in matching hat and shoes.
Maria Curcic fascinator.
In case you’re wondering, my selection for the show was this feathered sinamay fascinator by Maria Curcic, the perfect topper for my Samuel Dong leopard print coat dress.

Published by Norma Shephard

I'm the founder and director of the Mobile Millinery Museum & author of five books on vintage fashion.

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