To make a long story short… last week’s answer was me. And now…
Chapeau du Jour
If you want to know who was… is… and probably always will be in
the forefront in the developing tastes for richly decorated clothing
and accessories as well as gems and jewelry… it is… hands down…
India. Its culture has spread over time to include Pakistan,
Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, and part of Afghanistan.
It was not only jewelry folks. It was also the heavily influential
embellishments on clothing that caused Indian styles’ influence on
Central and South Asia. The key words were abundance and extravagance
and meticulous attention to detail. This last part is–of
course–they key to the creation of all things… not the least of
which is jewelry.
Each single jewel on hat or costume was designed to blend into the
whole rather than stand out as an individual center of attention. A
major preference in the finishing of stones was to polish them
au-natural rather than facet them so as to not diminish their size
and to also enhance the effect of amazing the beholder of said gems.
Cutting and faceting of stones would become the product of a more
Rubies, sapphires, diamonds, emeralds and pearls studding and
interlacing turbans were the iconic symbols of wealth and social
rank. This was clearly before the era of the Bentley and Rolls Royce
which–while clearly one of the ultimate symbols of wealth and rank
in today’s world–had the distinct disadvantage of not being nearly
All of which brings us quite logically–I’m anything if not
logical–to the Mughal Empire. Jewelry, gem-saturated clothing, and,
of course, aigrettes… long plumes of white heron. Who in their
right minds would not want one of these ornamenting ceremonial
headdresses? Bejeweled aigrettes also adorned many a turban during
the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century.
And then came the 18th century. European women were looking for
something new… something a tad avant-garde with which to snub their
closest friends. They looked to the east for fashion. And the
aigrette re-emerged… and stayed as the chapeau du jour to be
delicately balanced like a stack of books upon the lovely head of the
snubbor… an overstated extravaganza competing only with Carmen
Miranda–who… parenthetically–started her career as a hat maker
before becoming the Brazilian sensation she became.
I bring you ladies and gentlemen… an example. A red velvet
headdress carefully interwoven with seed pearls and gemstones and
diamonds from which extends a bird of paradise aigrette and plume…
a chapeau which can easily be worn with fierce pride on fifth avenue
on Easter Sunday. Judy Garland eat your heart out.
For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at www.tyler-adam.com where you will
scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that says
Current Tidbits… and you will get to view a headdress of
And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.