I own by myself a vintage felt hat of Christian Dior. I must admit that I never wore it. It’s an extravagant hat with a visual joke presented in it. In this exceptional design, there pierces an arrow through the hat. This visual and tactile joke is in line with surrealism and the designs of for example the fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. I bought it maybe more as an interesting object than to use it.
On Thursday I saw the window of the Borsalino shop in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. It’s a very small shop for classical hats, with two windows on each side of the facade. The facade goes around the corner of the street, outside of the 19th century Galleria. At first glance the hats were like classical hats, but after further inspection, the hats seemed repaired on the band (that goes around the hat in the middle). The hats looked therefore older, more artistic and signed with a kind of handwriting. Although the hats of Borsalino are always handmade, it was an ingredient to make the hats even more handmade. The long Lucifer’s, which were presented as decoration in the window, matched with the colored band of the hats and suggested a smoking character with a hat steped out of old Hollywood. Like Humphrey Bogart in the film Casablanca.
Although I am not wearing a hat on a regular basis, for me the hat has the connotation of a kind of nostalgia. Many great artist and writers of the past wore a hat, like Charley Chaplin, René Magritte, James Joyce, Joseph Beuys and many others. When I pass by the Borsalino shop, I imagine myself for a moment in another time. In the time of hats and the great thinking and creative brains underneath.