French Hats, April 1815

Journal des Dames et des Modes, Paris, April 30, 1815.

The previous year, 1814, saw an explosion of the crowns of bonnets, which rose to enormous, often ridiculous, heights. This year, 1815, saw the focus begin to shift to the brims. The crowns are lowered ever so slightly, while the brims widen. During the next 3-4 years, the brims, or pokes, will continue to grow, framing the face in a giant circle.

The crowns at this time, for the most part, are straight-sided, and generally flat on top. Bows and flowers continue to be the favored ornamentation. The newly wide brims are almost always trimmed in some way, with lace or ribbons or ruffles.

All six bonnets have a ribbon at the base of the crown, and a matching ribbon to tie under the chin.

“1. Chapeaux de Gros de Naples.” Gros de Naples was a stout, durable silk, sometimes corded, similar to silk taffeta.  Five of the six hats shown use this fabric. There is a suggestion of shininess, which would be appropriate for a silk taffeta.

2. Chapeau de Crèpe.” This bonnet, in the upper right, is made of a lighter-weight silk. The crown is less structured, due to the less sturdy fabric, but uses  more flowers to fill in the shape. The chin ribbon is trimmed in lace and falls from the crown in a unique way.



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