[8/24/14 Correction: Thanks to Christina — see comments — for pointing out that, based on interior construction and the label, this is probably not an authentic 1920s turban, but a 1970s version.]
I associate turbans with Paul Poiret, cocoon coats, and evening wear, but they remained fashionable throughout the 1920s, and were worn with day dresses, as well as with evening clothes. This turban is being worn with a bathing costume in 1924:
Butterick sold the pattern for this turban, #4748, in 1924 [the number dates it to late 1923,] and illustrated it being worn with simple day dresses and more formal outfits:
Turbans were worn earlier in the 1920s, too. Remembered Summers shared this photo of her mother, dated 1921. This turban is being worn with a summery white dress, by a 17 year-old girl.
(These young people eloped at about the time of the photo.) Her turban doesn’t have a feather — they are posed in front of a palm tree, and those are palm fronds.
This “turban hat of twisted ribbon” by Paris milliner Marcelle Roze was featured in Delineator magazine in May, 1924. It’s definitely more structured and hat-like than the turbans made from pattern #4748.
This turban was shown with a day dress in the summer of 1925:
A new turban pattern, Butterick #6634, was shown with a dress suitable for stout women; Summer, 1926.
That doesn’t mean the turban was going out of style. This gold lamé turban by French designer Agnès was illustrated in 1929. The jewelry is by Patou. The illustrator’s initials are D.R.
Which brings me back to this beautiful silver lamé turban from the collection of a friend.
Styr0foam wig heads are smaller than human heads, so this turban would fit a person snugly and smoothly. The jewel was enormous, sparkly, possibly paste, and hard to photograph — it was not dulled or darkened. The silver fabric was not noticeably tarnished. The feathers were soiled and worn; I think they were white, rather than gray, originally. They may have stuck up more when new.
You can see the small piece of cloth at center back that comes from inside the hat to cover the fabric joins.
The brand name, Miss Dolores, of London and Paris, was apparently still appearing in felt hats in the 1980s, judging by the few photos I have found online, but this turban seems to be a 1920s style. I couldn’t find out much about the Miss Dolores label, but everything about this hat — with the exception of the “Miss Dolores” script — suggested the twenties to me. I could be wrong. Comments? [Corrected 8/24/14: I was wrong. Thanks for your expertise, Christina! See Comments.]
P.S. In the theatre, we usually build turbans on a close-fitting felt base. That makes them easy to put on, and the folds can be stabilized with stitching inside the creases — I mention this just in case you’re inspired to make a turban to go with your 1920s outfits.
10 responses to “Glamorous Turbans in the 1920s”
Truly glamorous! And I was glad to see that the sparkly center jewel was not a necessary requirement.
I love these! I have made a felt hat which is a very similar style to the turban. I really love it, I have a buckle on the side, but want to make one for this winter and after seeing your post I think a sparkly brooch will be fabulous!
Absolutely! Feathers are optional, but jewels on hats are very twenties!
The turban looks 1970’s doing 1920’s. The lining and construction on the inside of the turban is modern. The label looks to be attached without stitching. Is it glued on? If it is then the label and the wide petersham ribbon is a bit of a give-away.
Thank you! I no longer have access to the turban, but you confirmed my suspicions — which didn’t arise until I tried the label search.
I worked at Dolores Hats from 1962 till 1968. Miss Dolores would have been in a lower price range. At the time I was there they had the licence to make Christian Dior Hats in Britian. There was a Dior studio run by Madame Marie, who is still with us and making hats and teaching. I hope this is of interest to you. Really enjoyed your site.
Thank you, Evelyne! Can you tell us more? Was Dolores Hats a UK firm or USA? If you have the time, I’d love to hear about your millinery experience. Perhaps you could email me at witness2fashion.gmail.com? I’ve never tried to interview anyone online, but it might be fun for both of us. I found a 1960’s Christian Dior hat by Dolores at http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/97/d6/f4/97d6f42ebf9d1a8647eac43fcfc48f9a.jpg and a hat by Madame Marie-Alphonsine of Paris at http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc114851/
Hello, I would just like to say that I worked for Dolores Hats in the early 80s just before it was sold out to Kangol and later dissolved I think! It was a wonderful vast old Victorian building with hundreds of hat blocks and accessories from the 1900s. I trained under a 70 year old lady “Milly” who was a mind of anecdotes and tips. At that time we made hats for Mary Quant, Christian Dior, Harrods, Miss Dolores, Ascot and at the time Lady Di’s wedding…
I have very fond memories of those apprentice 6 months. It is such a shame that I can’t find out any more info about the company online. So thank you for your post. Regards Shenda http://www.lashendadeco.com
I wish I knew more about hats — I remember visits to a millinery supply store in downtown Los Angeles in the 1980’s. They still had feathers and other trims that had been in stock since the turn of the century — sometimes with the original prices (no, we didn’t get vintage hackles for 5 cents, regardless of the ancient price tag.) I’d love to know more about your training.
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