Monday, June 16, 2014

Unusual Artifacts: A Horsehair Hat by Simone Mirman, 1953

Simone Mirman, 1953
The Victoria & Albert Museum
Paris-born milliner Simone Mirman began her career working with fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli in Paris before coming to London in 1947. Mirman took an unusual approach to her millinery practice, preferring to think of her hats as ‘objects d’art’ as opposed to utilitarian objects. Her business began slowly, but from her attic workshop she soon gained momentum and was able to open a couture millinery salon in London. Of her many famous clients, she was most popular with the Royal family—making unusual hats for Princess Margaret Rose from 1953 and, later, for the Queen and the Queen Mother from the 1960s onward.

This hat made for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 shows Simone Mirman’s sense of play and artistry. Here, we see that she’s adorned this horsehair creation with diminutive rosebuds . Made in the “coolie-style,” this hat was meant to transition from summer to chillier seasons. Creations such as this brought a great deal of attention to Mirman, and her popularity soared during the 1953 coronation year when her work was considered the utmost of chic. 

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