Hat: Origins, Language, Style (Hardcover)

Hat: Origins, Language, Style By Drake Stutesman Cover Image
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(Accessories - Hats)


The hat is one of our most beloved pieces of clothing, appearing in virtually every society. Through the centuries, hats have represented the most important structures of culture: governance (the crown), religion (the turban), tradition (the bonnet), and much more. Yet hats have also always allowed for the very personal expression of style and feeling.

In this exquisitely illustrated celebration of the hat, Drake Stutesman uncovers the influence on our lives of this versatile headgear. Beginning in the Ice Age, the story of the hat is traced through its links with the origins of abstract thinking, through the complex evolution of the professions of millinery and hatting starting in the Middle Ages, through the rise of the superstar milliner in the twentieth century, and, finally, through the work of the ingenious hat makers of today who continue to dazzle us with their creations. For all those interested in the history of fashion and the history of culture—and couture—Hat offers new perspectives on this stylish, practical, and important accessory.

About the Author

Drake Stutesman is adjunct professor at New York University. She is the editor of the cinema and media journal Framework, the author of Snake, also published by Reaktion Books, and coeditor of Film, Fashion and the 1960s.

Praise For…

"This enlightening and cogent volume reveals that author Stutesman is much more than a clothing aficionado. Hat: Origins, Language, Style is a multi-discipline, cross-cultural study of what probably is the oldest known wearable object. It incorporates scholarly research, imaginative literary and visual insights, and historical curiosity focused on variations and diverse meanings surrounding the hat. . . . For readers seeking stimulating intellectual and humanistic insights, this publication is a welcome addition to writings that engage new notions in the history of ideas."
— Beverly Chico

"The book is attractively if unpretentiously produced, and, while wide-reaching in its scope, admirably concise. Though a cultural rather than a historical study, Stutesman’s narrative covers millennia, exploring the origins, manufacture, and language of hats, ending with hats today as works of art and milliners as celebrities. . . . Stutesman’s elegant, deeply-researched, and always interesting book draws the reader in to share what she happily calls 'the joy of the hat.'"
— Fashion Theory

"Stutesman (adjunct, New York Univ.) offers a captivating exploration of the history and symbolism of headwear...the book is engaging, well illustrated, and well researched."
— C. E. Berg, Museum of History and Industry

"I am so impressed by this new book on hats. The book is different and most stimulating—it makes me rethink a great deal."
— Clair Hughes, author of "Hats" and "Dressed in Fiction"

"I learnt a lot from Hat: Origins, Language, Style—the range and interpretation was fabulous.”
— Ulinka Rublack, author of “Dressing Up: Cultural Identity in Renaissance Europe”

"You might assume that hat-wearing is now a thing of the past, but Stutesman insists not. Look at the baseball cap or the beanie. But what is a hat and what is it for? One thing we can be sure of is that hats are not garments in the usual sense of the word."
— Literary Review

"A new book shows just how important the hat has been, economically, culturally, and aesthetically, to us since prehistory. . . . Hat is an engrossing story, full of curiosities. . . . Stutesman places the hat at the center of a fascinating account of consumerism and gender struggle. . . . The hat remains potent as fashion statement, symbol, or simple head-warmer; and Hat is a skilful and pithy handling of the subject. Chapeau!"
— World of Interiors

“For all those interested in the history of fashion and culture, Hat offers a fresh take and joyful celebration of this most adaptable, practical—and stylish—accessory.”
— Hat Magazine

"A good and handsome book. . . . Nice that a reverence for the decoration of your head unites Park Avenue ladies who lunch and Waugh’s savanna tribesmen who, behatted, dance. Professor Stutesman? . . . On the whole: chapeau! Or, in English, I take my hat off to you."
— Stephen Bayley

“From crowns, turbans, and bonnets, the hat is given a turning over in this thorough text, with chapters examining its history, its ties with fashion, the making process, and its public image. The hat differs from most items of clothing because it has only a tenuous relationship with the human body, which leaves ample room for examining its sculptural and performative qualities, as well as its links to power, status, and tradition—all of which are explored here.”
— Crafts Magazine

“An excellent anthropological and sociological worldwide study of the importance and significance of hats from the beginning of time to the present day.”
— Christina Giorcelli, University of Rome Three, coeditor of "Accessorizing the Body: Habits of Being"

"In Hat, Drake Stutesman has undertaken a wide-ranging survey of all types of headwear. Investigating their history and cultural significance, she charts the development of the hat from its beginnings in the Ice Age to the hatmakers of today analyzing 'how people are affected by hats and how and why hat forms and hat ideas communicate vital information.'"
— Journal of Dress History
Product Details
ISBN: 9781789141368
ISBN-10: 1789141362
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Publication Date: December 11th, 2019
Pages: 240
Language: English