Monday, April 29, 2013

Millinery Monday!

Yesterday I channeled some frustration and annoyance into making something beautiful (which is probably what should be done all the time with frustration and annoyance, it's a better method than my usual method of ice cream and tears). And what I had my sights set on was this:

Hello, beautiful...

 It's the adorably charming hat that Marianne (aka Kate Winslet) wears in Ang Lee's Sense and sensibility. This is the movie that made me fall in love with late Georgian clothing, and with Jane Austen's works. And let's be honest, Kate Winslet could wear a paper sack and look good, so this is stunning on her.

But, just because it was adorable doesn't mean it's based in history. Hollywood is notorious for taking liberties, especially with the costumes of its major stars. So I did a little digging around to find out what this little hat was all about.

Technically, it is not a hat. It is a capote. This seems to be the term for a class of close-fitting, low brimmed bonnets that were popular in the very early years of the 19th century. The word "capote" comes back in numerous ways for numerous different styles of hats, so this is a bit of an imperfect definition, but it works.

Unsurprisingly, period capotes differ a little bit from Kate Winslet's. Namely, they really come down over the eyes; this decision makes sense for Hollywood, because watching Marianne falling in love with Colonel Brandon in a true period capote would be like watching Kate Winslet emoting inside of a mailbox. Not so pretty. Here are a couple images of capotes from fashion plates, to show you what I'm talking about.

Gallery of Fashion, 1800

"Balloon Bonnet", Gallery of Fashion 1794-1798 (from Jane Austen's World)

If those look a little silly, apparently fashion commentators felt similarly, as seen in this cartoon:

"Les Invisibles" 1810
So, I took an unformed straw base, fitted it on my own head, steamed the bejeebers out of it, and this is what we got!

Fact: You will always get terrible pictures on this blog. Sorry I'm not sorry.

It's way cuter in person. Just trust me.
And look! I did papillote curls, just for the occasion!

So, I'm pretty pleased with this, especially as it's something that I have ALWAYS wanted. Now, how to trim it...any brilliant ideas, gentle readers?


sward said...

Did the blocking method I suggested worked?- SW

lovestinks said...

I love Sense and Sensibility! Love the hat! I would wear the hell out of that her too!

Betsy said...

S, it did! Thanks for the suggestion, I will definitely be using that in the future!

Ada Igoe said...

Can I just say that I loved the writing in this post? There,I said it. "because watching Marianne falling in love with Colonel Brandon in a true period capote would be like watching Kate Winslet emoting inside of a mailbox." Good stuff! Great job on the capote too! I'll be trying it out at crafting weekend during "Crafting on the Lawn."

Betsy said...

Ada, that means a lot coming from you! Thanks a million! Can't wait to see you for crafting - literally. I cannot wait.

Emily said...

What Ada said.