Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Know Your Clothes- Hats

"We are ill-informed even of the articles we wear. People come to years of discretion scarce know the difference between a plain hat and a Lunardi; and I have heard a lady, who I was told had a very good education, mistake a Parachute for a Fitzherbert." - The Lounger no. 76, 1786

What an earth are Lunardis, Parachutes, and Fitzherberts? The writer clues us into the fact that they were all types of hats, but what did they look like and how were the different? The fabulous resource "The Dictionary of Fashion History", provides the answer.

Balloon hat/Parachute hat/Lunardi- (1783-85) A hat with a large bloon-shaped crown and wide brim made of gauze or sarcenet over a wire or chip foundation. Very fashionable in those years as a compliment to Vincenzo Lunardi (1759-1806) and his balloon ascents.

So a Lunardi and a Parachute are basically the same thing; what makes the Fitzherbert drastically different? The brim was oval in shape and the crown of puffed fabric was raised slightly.

How ever could the young lady have confused the two, indeed?

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