Friday, September 30, 2016


Entryway to Mad Hatters: New York Hats & Hatmakers at City Lore Gallery in the East Village

Fans brandishing ball caps, the religious donning yarmulkes and the fashionably elite flashing handmade headgear share a statement piece across cultures, causes and contexts. Headgear--as a tangible means of illustrating identity and expressing individuality--is the focus of City Lore's Spring presentation Mad Hatters: New York Hats & Hatmakers. Curated by Abby Ronner and Tom Van Buren, the history of New York City is quantified through the history of the hats on display. Keep reading to have a look...

Exhibition wall: New York City, History in Hats

Identity is paramount in the homogenous pool of City Dwellers. For some, a fedora or top-hat presents a style statement, while for others, mainstream millinery accents an association to a team, a sect or a profession. NYC history embraces the curious concept of headwear. Distinct white caps on nurses convey sentiments of care and service. Eccentric Easter bonnets during the annual Easter Parade evoke pedestrian energy. In fact, the modern firefighter's helmet was developed in the 1800s by Henry Gratacap, a volunteer NY firefighter.

"MadHatten" by Luis Aleman New York City Top Hat

Set in the former LES Girls club location, the City Lore gallery space will host Mad Hatters until November 13th. Visit soon, to view haute headdresses and experience the History of Hats--including pieces designed specially for this exhibit by the Milliner's Guild. Of note are Kewulay Kamara's collection of African hats, headgear worn by Poet's Cafe Director Bob Holman and masterpieces designed by celebrated hat-maker Lisa Shaub of the Milliner's Guild.

Hats by milliner C.J. Lewis, known for his onion skin hats, made from a rare wide straw from Italy and Switzerland

"Mad Hatters showcases the identities that New Yorkers carve out for themselves by donning a simple piece of headwear in a crowded city... the exhibit pays tribute to   NYC's master milliners while also documenting and celebrating the men and women who proudly wear hats to express their cultural traditions or simply for the hell of it [source]."

Hats representing the culture of NYC

Kathy Ander hat signed by BB King

Magnificent millinery (Linda Ashton [R])

Scarves as head coverings

Clayton Patterson Embroidered Lower East Side Hats 

Exhibition View

 Hats worn by Bob Holman

Hats by Kewulay Kamara, a poet from Sierra Leone

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