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Hat - Jean Rooks, Fedora, Leopard Skin Print, 1960s-1970s Object Reg. No: HT 738

Hat, fedora style. Leopard skin print on crown and outer brim; black leather band with buckle on side around base of crown. Made by Jean Rooks, Eaglemont.

Part of a collection of hats ordered and worn by Lorna Waller (1912-1997), an artist and aesthete. The collection represented the avant-garde of fashion in 1940s Melbourne. Some of the hats were made locally, and some were imported.

Millinery styles varied enormously between the late 1930s and the early 1950s. In the late 1930s, Salvador Dali and other Surrealists had a dynamic impact on the range of hat shapes. The onset of World War II resulted in a shortage of materials to make hats, so trimmings were used to create an upbeat mood in the face of hardship. Towards the end of the War, restraint was the key look, and the turban was again popular. Later, gaiety prevailed and, with it, feathers were back.

Born in New Zealand, Lorna travelled overseas when young and settled in Melbourne. While at the National Gallery School in the mid-1930s, she took up with her teacher, the artist Napier Waller. They did not marry until 1954, when his first wife died. An independent income enabled Lorna to maintain an apartment in Spring Street, decorated in a bohemian style. The leopard skin prints and slacks she once wore to the Lyceum Club proved too much for conservative Melbourne: she was told to go home and change.
Fedora style hat. Leopard skin print on crown and outer brim. Fawn felt under brim. Seven rows of stitching on edge of brim. Black leather band with buckle on side around base of crown.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Ms Anthea Mereweather, 2001
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 13.00 cm (Height), 28.50 cm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: fashion, fashion design, millinery
Themes this item is part of: Clothing & Textiles Collection, Domestic & Community Life Collection
Primary Classification: CLOTHING
Secondary Classification: Female
Tertiary Classification: headwear
Inscriptions: Text on tag: CREATED BY/Jean Rooks/EAGLEMONT.
Manufacturer: Jean Rooks, Eaglemont, Victoria, Australia, 1960-1979

Date based on appearance.
User (Probable): Lorna Waller
References: Text regarding Lorna Waller and history of millinery drawn from exhbiition label draft in sup-file, dated 22/10/2002.

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