The Onassis-Bruni Effect

August 24, 2009

This summer the confirmation took place: the Pillbox hat is back. Both at the Del Mar racetrack and at the Ascot Racecourse we saw it: the Pillbox is the new trend. The signature headgear of Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn, modeled with overwhelming relevance by Grace Kelly and Carla Bruni, has been not only officially reestablished as the trend of the racecourse sophistication, but also positioned as a street fashion that will take the runways this fall.

In a fine article published today in stuff.co.nz Judy Coomber, Myer’s director of apparel, says, “Certainly this season we see a trend towards refined dressing so the pillbox and cocktail-style hats are very relevant…The pillbox hat was a huge trend in the 1960s and this season there are many interpretations from sweet, refined, petite shapes to more exaggerated, grander styles.”

We are not talking about the chip-strapped Pillbox worn in the army, typical of the Commonwealth headgear. We are talking about a small woman’s hat with a flat crown and straight, upright sides; the one that inspired the ironic Bob Dylan 1966 song, Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat, which goes like this:

Well, I see you got your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat
Yes, I see you got your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat
Well, you must tell me, baby
How your head feels under somethin’ like that
Under your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat

Well, you look so pretty in it
Honey, can I jump on it sometime?
Yes, I just wanna see
If it’s really that expensive kind
You know it balances on your head
Just like a mattress balances
On a bottle of wine
Your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat

Well, if you wanna see the sun rise
Honey, I know where
We’ll go out and see it sometime
We’ll both just sit there and stare
Me with my belt
Wrapped around my head
And you just sittin’ there
In your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat

Well, I asked the doctor if I could see you
It’s bad for your health, he said
Yes, I disobeyed his orders
I came to see you
But I found him there instead
You know, I don’t mind him cheatin’ on me
But I sure wish he’d take that off his head
Your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat

Well, I see you got a new boyfriend
You know, I never seen him before
Well, I saw him
Makin’ love to you
You forgot to close the garage door
You might think he loves you for your money
But I know what he really loves you for
It’s your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat

Mister Tambourine Man took the Pillbox hat, and smashed to the point of putting it in its most degusting and cheesiest level. But that was ages ago, and now the Pillbox emerges as a new, refreshing thing, something both subtle and neat. “If you live long enough, everything comes back into style,” says the adage, and the Pillbox proofs that to Mister Dylan.

 

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