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Those Runway Feathered Hats Have A Long History


Beauties-picture Hats, Digital ID 1116357, New York Public LibraryOne of the most eye-catching sights of the New York Fashion Week just passed was the proliferation of modish, almost byzantine, feathered hats. This visual reference is a deliberate case of everything old becoming new again. 

Yet writing on the subject isn’t easy to find. Millinery was a major aspect of women’s costume until the mid-20th century. You can find pockets of this fashion in certain places – like the hats on the British ladies who attend Ascot races. The Library has a marvelous U.S. publication, complete with dyed feather patterns mounted on plates, from 1888, entitled The Practical Ostrich Feather Dyer. Also at SIBL, a Parisian study by Francis Beltzer, from 1923, treats the manufacturing collusion between hat-makers and featherwork. Take a visual tour through the Digital Gallery, also, using the terms feathers, hats, and ladies hats, to see how inspired these creations could be.


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