About this time last year I became slightly obsessed (as I do) with the early 20th century bicorne and tricorn hat revival:
The tricorne revival was part of the overall 18th century revival that happened at the end of the 19th century, and flowed into an Empire revival in the late 1900s and early 1910s.
(more examples are on my pinterest page for the topic)
What’s not to love about it? It’s 18th century meets my favourite timeperiod, it’s wacky and quirky and a little bit pirate-y!
There are mentions of tricorne & bicorne hats being fashionable as early as 1897, and the tricorne revival lasted until the mid 1920s. Within the period there are definite changes – early tricorne revival hats, are generally very large, like turned-up picture hats, and are overflowing with feathers and flowers. As the 1900s progress, the hats become smaller and more streamlined. Mid-1910s examples are often quite severe, with only one upstanding feather tuft, or a sculptural bit of ribbon. Asymmetry is another major trend in mid-teens examples. Bits of the brim cut away, or one corner of the tricorne made much bigger. Late teens and early 20s examples are very small, and have floral or other trim that covers the upturned brim.
Bicorne and tricorne revival hats were often made in black plush or velvet, but also came in straw of every shade, and fabric. Velvet, plush, and dark fabrics were appropriate for winter wear, straw for summer, dark straw and heavier fabrics for spring and autumn.
From enormous picture-tricornes laden with roses, to little ’20s numbers spotted with flowers, I like all the examples of the tricorne revival!
With tricornes and bicornes on my mind, I went looking for something for a trial of the look, and found an enormous, terrible, 1990s black straw hat at an op shop:
With some help from Felicity, I removed the trim, re-blocked the crown slightly, and sewed the hat into a tricorne shape:
Then I rummaged in my feather stash (look at that face – she desperately wants to destroy them all, and she’s also terrified at the thought of the bird that could produce them!):
I settled on a big poof of black feathers on one side as my trim. The hat got worn that way for a fantail skirt photoshoot in December:
It was fun, but not perfect, even as a simple trial of the look, it just wasn’t finished enough.
So, in a spare moment over winter, I bound the edges of the hat in a rayon satin ribbon I bought at Costume College. Then, to hold the feathers in place, I made a rosette of the same ribbon, joined to be wider.
The hat got its first proper wearing when I photographed my 1915 ‘Waiting for Bluebell’s’ dress. I’m still trying to figure out how to make it sit properly on a mid-1910s hairstyle. It’s fine on early 1900s-1910s ones, but in late teens it ends up perched on the side of my head.
I’m definitely not done with my experiments with tricorne revival hats. I want a rose-laden number, and a plush one for winter wear, and a 1920s one….
And, even though this wasn’t meant for that, now that I have a tricorne hat, it’s high time I did something pirate-y!