Scattered Thoughts From A Maryland Cottage

Scattered Thoughts From A Maryland Cottage
The Yin and Yang of Thankfulness

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Special Treat - The Past - The Present!

Black and White

Paris Treats

Woven Fringed Braided


It was in the late 17th century that women's headwear began to emerge in its own right and not to be influenced by men's fashions. The word "milliner", a maker of women's hats; was first recorded in 1529 when the term referred to the products for which Milan and other northern Italian regions were well known, i.e. ribbons, gloves and straws. The haberdashers who imported these highly popular straws were called Milaners from which the word was eventually derived.
By the mid 1800's Swiss and Italian straws, together with imitation straws made from paper, cardboard, grass and horsehair were available to women, along with the introduction of velvet and tulle. Lace was also introduced, mostly used as hair caps underneath large flamboyant hats decorated with feathers. As ladies in the 18th century started to dress their hair in elaborate high styles, so hats became hair pieces - or "fascinators" - small arrangements of feathers, ribbons and flowers with which to adorn the hair.
The Catherinette Tradition - "Le Fete des Cathrinettes" - is the French fashion world's salute to milliners and their patron saint: Catherine of Alexandria. While originally the "patronne" of young unmarried women, by the 19th century Sainte Catherine was adopted by milliners because so many young women were employed as hat makers. During the feast of Sainte Catherine, November 25th, the Parisian couture houses hosted festive parties to which the "Catherinettes" wore elaborate hats. These were especially designed for the occasion in the Saint's colours - yellow and green - symbolizing faith and knowledge.
Most women love hats, and weddings are perfect opportunities to wear them. Hats however don't suit every hairstyle and Anuccia's
fascinators are the perfect alternative. Flighty, flirtatious, chic and elegant, her hand-crafted designs can be adapted to suit any outfit in any colour to compliment each person's individual style.
My friend Ann and I were antiquing in Pennsylvania when we met a very interesting antiques dealer named Dan. It seemed he had a treasure trove of vintage millinery items at his home nearby and we scheduled an appointment to meet with him and look them over. Little did we know what an awesome adventure it would be... box after box of tissue laden packages of the most unique horsehair and feather millinery hat ornaments we had ever seen. Little tissue paper packets with tiny paper tags indicating the model of each item. Royal blue, rich magenta, pale cream, chocolate brown, jet black, fuchsia. We crooned, we gentled passed them back and forth and we purchased! I'm sure we spent just from the uniqueness of each item but they were indeed special. And our customers loved them too! Gone baby gone. I'll have to ask Ann when we talk again (she's remarried and living in Commerce, Texas) - "remember that day?" - and what a day it was - back in time - back in style.

No comments: