It stands to reason that the initial purpose of
head-dress was as simple covering
for protection against the elements,
made from readily available substances .
The first documented painting of a hat dates back to 3200 BC.
This ancient pictorial was discovered on an Egyptian tomb and
depicts an individual wearing what appears to be a hat made from straw.
In the 16th century the word milliner was introduced into the
English vernacular to refer to a person who makes hats.
The word origin is in reference to Milan, Italy as it was from there
that materials used in haberdashery were imported.
Portrait of a 16th century woman showing head-dress which
completely covered the hair
(image from about.com)
It was during the 18th century that hat making became a professional craft,
moving from hearth to studio.
Detailed design and construction established hat-wear as
another dress dimension.
An 18th century lady, painted by Charles Bretherton, 1782
(image from hatsfromhistory.tumblr.com)
18th century hat-wear
In contrast to the flamboyance of 18th century hat design,
19th century hat-dress was less extravagant
a more subdued complimentary accompaniment of dress.
19th century fashion, presented in Godey’s
one of the first American women’s magazines
(images from darevillsrareprints.com)
Hats are more than simple accessory.
Head-dress is often the focal point of an ensemble.
The singular pieces showcased at Royal Ascot 2013
signify that hats are, in their own right,
fashion statement makers.