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Woman's Hat
Woman's Hat, 1988
Designed by Hubert de Givenchy, French
Silk satin, acetate velvet
15 × 22 × 7 inches (38.1 × 55.9 × 17.8 cm) Circumference (Head): 16 inches (40.6 cm)
Purchased with funds contributed by an anonymous donor, 1993
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Woman's Hat

Imagine seeing someone wearing this hat. What do you think your reaction would be? Hats often call attention to themselves and their wearers, turning the heads of passersby who want a second look. Although they can serve practical purposes, hats allow for great freedom in their design and can become wearable works of art.

This dramatic hat, which was probably worn in a fashion show, is about twenty inches wide, bright pink, and in the shape of an undulating wave. The pink satin covers a stiffer material that was molded into this fabulous shape. At the sides of the hat, the wave tapers into expressive, pointed ends. The hat seems to magically hover above the person’s head, but it is actually secured by small combs inside the black skullcap that attach to the wearer’s hair to keep it in place.

The French fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy (GEE-vohn-she) designed this hat in 1988. As a boy, Givenchy discovered a love of fashion by looking through his mother’s style magazines and admiring his grandmother’s collections of old costumes. After working for several designers in Paris, Givenchy opened his own fashion house in 1952. His designs became well-known when the famous actress Audrey Hepburn wore them in movies such as Funny Face (1957) and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961). Givenchy gained recognition for his simple, elegant clothing designs that featured beautiful lines rather than elaborate decoration. He is also admired for his sense of fantasy and whimsy, especially seen in his headwear.

Let’s Look

  • Describe the color and shape of this hat. What do they remind you of?
  • How is this hat similar to and different from hats you have seen or worn?

Let’s Look Again

  • Imagine an occasion when you would wear this hat. Where would it be and what would you do?
  • How do you think others would respond if you wore this hat?
  • How would you feel if you wore it? Serious? Playful? Glamorous?

This object is included in Looking to Write, Writing to Look, a teaching kit developed by the Division of Education and is generously supported by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation Inc.

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