Thursday, July 2, 2009


Although versions of the cloche hat have been around since the Edwardian period, it became known as THE hat associated with the 1920’s flapper era. Quite a contrast to the constricting fashions of 10 years prior - wearing stifling corsets and juggling 1912 oversize Titanic-era hats - the newly liberated woman of the 1920’s clothed herself in unconstrained, loose dresses and wore this simply-styled hat christened the "cloche" to flatter her new, shorter bobbed hair.
Cloche in French means “bell”, and was so-named for its fitted, bell-shaped form. Typically, they were worn low on the head, with the wearer’s eyes barely visible slightly below the brim.
Caroline Reboux, a French milliner and designer, is often credited with the “discovery” of the cloche. Born in the 1830’s, she was a penniless orphan who moved to Paris, reinvented herself and rose to fame as a milliner at the turn of the century, with shops both in Paris and London. She died in 1927. She is credited not only with the creation of the cloche, but also being the first person to daringly add veils to women’s hats and also to create the first beret for women - bought and made famous by her most faithful fan, Marlene Dietrich.
We are starting to inventory all our hats (thousands!) and will sample a few of the cloches we own on these pages.

Anyone see “The Changeling” with Angelina Jolie? Angelina is wearing one of our very own cloche hats. Here, see both the picture of her wearing it in the movie and as viewed on our “model”.
In other news, just when you think you have done all the productions of "The Glass Menagerie" the summer can bear, we have begun working on our 4th version within one month - this time in Western New York!
We are also beginning "Sherlock and the Crucifer of Blood"at the Alley Theater and have been asked to hold the principal clothes for "BOLDEN!!", the huge feature about Buddy Bolden, thought to be one of the originators of the music form we know now as "jazz".
On the flip side, this month we are also ending some project rentals: the run of "Cornelia" at the Old Globe in San Diego, about the second wife of notorious Governor George Wallace of Alabama; "The Philanthropist" on Broadway at the Roundabout; the "Farnsworth Invention" at the Alley Theater in Houston; "Freud’s Last Session" at Barrington Stage in Massachusetts; "Trophy Kids", the film about club kids, now filming now in New York: the pilot of "Boardwalk Empire", also filming in New York (Brooklyn) but pretending to be Atlantic City of 1920! They even built a 500 foot pier!

On a happy light note, we finally got to celebrate Masha's 30th birthday! Masha, Helen, Kristen and Tracy all went out to eat at our favorite Turkish restaurant and had a great time! Masha leaves in a few weeks to go back to Russia for a month to work on her amazing sculptural pieces!

Masha blowing out candle w, Russian doll pals
Kristen and Tracy

copyright © 2009 by helen uffner