Friday, November 23, 2018

DAY 60: Hat Pins. Because You Can't Wear a Hat Without One.

I come from a highly creative family of women with very mild collecting habits. I had an aunt who collected orchids and vintage Chinese snuff bottles. My mother, for reasons I cannot fathom, collected porcelain demitasse cups. Personally, I hunt for Flow Black Staffordshire, Regency fashion plates from La Vie Parisienne,  and vintage Schiaparelli costume jewelry. But hat pins have completely turned my head. Hatpins are on my radar now. And no hat pin is safe.

Just look at these gorgeous things. This one at right, in the shape of a hot-air balloon, was fashioned by Rene Lalique. The Janus-faced one at left I would simply display like a piece of sculpture. 

And with the correct handling and practiced technique, they could double as murder weapons. Purely in self-defense.

As hats grew larger and perched higher on the head at the turn of the nineteenth century, hat pins became longer and heavier and more ornate. Upperclass women were offered them as gifts and they were generally made by jewelers. Hat pins were necessary for every Victorian woman, however, regardless of economic station, and were often mass-produced at practical prices. Although courting men were discouraged from giving jewelry to the object of their affections prior to an engagement, hat pins were acceptable. 

Here are a pair in the Art Nouveau Jugendstil style popular in Vienna just after the turn of the century; I offer them in tribute to Count Charles Kinsky's family--his sisters and wife may have sported something like these.

A woman kept her pins neatly ordered in holders that looked rather like small vases for flowers; a bouquet of hat pins. They could be entirely closed or open at the bottom with a cushion for the pins. 

Even dolls had their own hat-pin holder, in a little girl's nursery. This one measures only an inch and a half high.

If you're interested in more information about hat pins and collecting them, here's a link to a useful article.  
For more images from THAT CHURCHILL WOMAN, visit the  Pinterest board behind the novel.  

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