Tuesday, 2 September 2014

1950s pompoms, faux fur, and a bit of cheating

Continuing on with the recent photo shoot images, today I want to show you two of my own 1950s-inspired designs that my friend Ruanne modelled for me that day. (I'll be getting back to my genuine vintage collection later.) These are a couple of very wintery models, appropriate as we say goodbye to winter (although there is still time for more - that snow in October will not quickly be forgotten) and in the other hemisphere Autumn is beginning and maybe some are looking forward to cool-weather fashions.

You may remember a couple of fashion illustrations in my 1952-1954 hat fashion trends post that featured pompoms. Very shortly after posting that, I had a go at a hat inspired by these shapes.


After the fun I had starting to re-use my old favourite red coat, I decided it was time to retire my white/cream coat as well. Some bits were not so white anymore, even after cleaning.

Between some of the whiter parts of the coat fabric, a couple of its buttons, and a bit of lovely white faux fur I had left over from cossack-hat-making, and the crown from an old synthetic straw hat (that's one lazy and quick way to get a crown to start draping on), I put together this homage to the pompom hats of the 1950s.


Despite being a very wintery hat, it managed to pair well with some very colourful dresses on an unusually sunny and warm winter day.

I wore it myself the other day to the Norman Lindsay gallery with my grandmother for an exhibition of World War I photographs. It was fun and cute hat to wear out and about. You can't help but feel cute with a pompom, I think.


This second hat is where the cheating comes in.

I'll start at the beginning. I love the big flat or slightly rounded fifties hats trimmed with fur or feathers that hang like a fringe over the wearer's face. One example, although from the sixties, is the fabulous hat from the first scene with Deborah Kerr in Marriage on the Rocks, which I talked about here.


I found a lovely big round wooden bowl for a few dollars at an op-shop, and I knew it would be a great shape to block this type of hat on. I also found the fabrics I needed by op-shopping - a long-pile fur from a vest (oh yes indeed, it was really something!) and a long velvet skirt.

I had one thing I wasn't sure of though. I didn't know how best to shape this hat, on the underside. How would it actually be worn? I debated a variety of ideas, and in the end just made the thing and hoped for the best.


This turned out to be not such a great idea. Being flat on top, it is almost impossible to wear!

So why did I continue and take it to the photoshoot?

I guess it is a test-of-concept. I wanted to know if it would be worth altering or re-making this hat, and how best to do so, by seeing it in action, with the right outfit, model, makeup etc. I could see how it looked at different angles.


A hat often doesn't show its true strength and beauty without being worn. As tricky as it was to play around with this awkward hat on the day, it was worth it.

Although it is always going to be a statement piece, I love some of these photos so much, that I believe I can make the hat work after all. And if I can't, I got some beautiful images from it anyway!


What do you think? Do you think the fur hat is worth an attempt at redemption? Would you ever actually wear it?

And how desperately do you want a hat with a pompom? It's ok, you can admit it.
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14 comments

  1. Yes and yes!!! I would probably rock a hat like that stellar fur number with a fitted skirt suit or a sheath cocktail dress. Something classic, classy and becoming, but not overly bold - the hat would have area amply covered.

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Oh good! Thanks for the feedback :)

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  2. That flat fur hat is divine! I love it, and I love how it looks ~ I think it's perfect for either a 40's or 50's look, and I would so wear the heck out of it if it was in my possession. Very cute! The pompom is lovely, I really like the fluffy factor, though the hat shape itself is not quite doing it for me. But I'm in love with 1940s millinery, so there is that. ;) ♡

    xox,
    bonita of Lavender & Twill

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    1. Thanks for the feedback! I'm glad you like the fur hat :)

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  3. I want a hat with a pom pom! Pick me Pick me! hahaha :) Gosh these hats are fantastic! I adore the white one, so so pretty. I like seeing pom poms OFF ski hats and onto wonderfully created hats like this. Great job!

    Liz

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    1. Thanks so much! I'm glad you like them :)

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  4. Don't those flat, platter style hats usually have a small, rigid inner frame to keep it on your head? I don't know enough about hat making to know if you could add that after the fact, but it seems like if you added an interfacing inside the hat, you could attach the frame to it somehow.
    But anyway, I love the style on both of the hats. That first one is just too cute! The second one is beautiful too, very 50s Russian society lady. I hope some tinkering helps to make it a little more wearable. Also, your model has the prettiest eyes.

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    1. That's what the small green one has. I could add something like that, but I'll still have to remove the fabric to do it, otherwise the stitches would show. I think to have enough strength the frame would need to be attached to the foundation of the hat top. So it will require some deconstruction at least. Thanks for the input :)

      I'm glad you like them, and I'll pass your compliment on to my model. I know she'll appreciate it! :)

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  5. the white hat is really really cute. It sort of reminds me of the fabulous 60s ski resort looks in the first pink panther movie. I think I remember hats with pom poms in that film, and yes pom poms are fabulously cute

    retro rover

    PS-Im glad Im not the only person who covets the American girl doll wardrobe

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    1. Ooh I'll have to check that out.

      One day I will spend Christmas in a green velvet dress like Molly's and my life will be complete!

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  6. That pom pom hat is fabulous. I really like how you used your coat and it's buttons to make it.

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    1. Thank you! I do love to reuse clothes, whether they are my own old ones or something I find second hand. And having matching trims already is very handy!

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  7. Don't give up on this hat! Many milliners a small scull cap sort of device attached to the underside of large hats like this to make them easier to keep on the head.

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    1. Thanks Tania! I admit that, although I have decided to keep working on this hat, it is actually still hanging unfinished on my wall. I was thinking of something like what you suggest. Soon, I hope!

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