Charleston Museum doffs its hat to historic chapeaus
Around the globe it’s fashion week as Britain and Spain show off spring confections, or concoctions, depending on your point of view.
And with spring looks, as fashion is always two seasons ahead, there’s a bit of fantasy. And lately, fashion designers are taking their looks all the way to the head.
Hats are coming back into vogue, err Vogue, at least for those women courageous enough to wear them rathern than a ball cap or a visor.
So that’s why it’s interesting that the Charleston Museum has teamed up with Magar Hatworks to offer a tour exploring the art and tradition of hatmaking and style in Charleston. It’s 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday.
First, there will be a tour of the more than 50 hats in the collection of the museum. Then you get to go behind the scenes for an exclusive tour of the textile collection to see more hats.
Believe me, this is worth it if you love fabrics and good design. The museum has been the recipient of clothing items from many well-heeled Charlestonians, and their collection ranges from the early 18th century to the present.
The historic hats show off the skill of milliners who worked in silk and straw. Some of their creations are ones that anyone could easily stick on their head today and go to a fancy event, especially the straw ones with lavish detail.
While you are there, you can also see the Positively Paisley exhibit that is ongoing through Jan. 11.
The museum is displaying woven and embroidered shawls from the early to late 19th century that feature the boteh (later known as the paisley design), as well as garments and fashion accessories ranging from the 19th century to the groovy 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.
Some of the mid-19th century shawls were enormous, measuring 5 feet wide by almost 11 feet long! Called a long shawl or a double square shawl, these would be folded to form a square and folded again to form a triangle. Just the thing to wrap up in for fall.
Looking at great design will help you pick out an elegant one for your fall wardrobe.
The hat tour culminates with a visit to the Magar Hatworks studio. Leigh Magar is a young designer who can often be seen around Charleston in chic little outfits topped by a fascinator, a tiny trifle of a hat often made of feathers or lace.
She’s giving the 20-somethings a new look.
Magar will share more about the history and process of millinery amid her studio’s “museum,” a collection of more than 400 antique hat blocks. She also will demonstrate the basics of millinery and discuss materials she uses in her own designs.
Since there are increasing numbers of ladies out there wearing hats in Charleston, this tour is likely to fill up quickly. But it will be fun to see who shows up, and in what.
The tour is $65/museum member, $70/nonmember. Advance registration is required; register online at www.charlestonmuseum.org or call (843) 722-2996, ext. 235.
One more thing. If you love the paisley exhibit, there will be a Paisley Pashmina Shawl workshop with internationally renowned needlework instructor Laura Jenkins Thompson on Nov. 7 and 8.
Details will be available on the museum’s online calendar of events.
Reach Stephanie Harvin at 937-5557