I’ve shown this 1931 illustration by Dhynevor Rhys in an earlier post:
Rhys did lovely color illustrations, but even in black and white, his views of five Paris hats for April, 1928, capture the stillness and tranquility of his women. The two hats at the top of the page, and one at the bottom, were illustrated as if they were portraits in nineteen twenties’ photo frames.
Starting with the top left hat, by Reboux, here are larger images. The text of the accompanying article is at the bottom of this post. The hat descriptions in gray boxes are their original captions.
“This Reboux hat of natural straw has a one-sided brim — a strong characteristic of spring millinery. The brim hides the face completely on the right side while the other side is prolonged [into a rolled strip] to run around the crown holding in place at the right the very large flat flower of flat red feathers.”
The Metropolitan Museum has many hats from the house of Reboux; here is one trimmed with a cascade of feathers.
Three of these spring hats are trimmed with red.
“Agnes, too, is making one-sided straw hats for spring. For this one she used a supple, exotic straw which she calls parasisol. The color is mauve blue and the trimming is her new crepe de Chine ribbon in pale rose color. Agnes is using many of these pastel combinations in her new hats.”
The flower/pompom of ribbon loops on the coat lapel was a popular ornament for coats and dresses, including evening gowns.
Butterick’s cloche hat pattern 5218 from 1925 shows ribbons woven together, but Madame Agnes seems to have formed parallel ribbons into a series of loops — definitely an easy trim to copy! Click here for an extraordinary 1920s’ hat by Agnes, at the blog From the Bygone.
“There are still a great many close caps. Reboux’ spring version is a little bowl of burnt picot straw fitting the head. The satin ribbon that crosses the back and is made into rosettes with one tab sticking up and the other down over the ears, is exactly the transparent amber color of butterscotch.”
Does this mean the hat has a rosette over each ear, like Princess Leia? I wish we could see what that wide satin ribbon does on the other side of the hat.
“A grosgrain cap by Reboux in leaf green is crossed on the head in turban fashion. Poppy red grosgrain ribbon is fashioned into three flat poppies with black centers. The turban crossing is smart, the trimming is very original. These grosgrain caps are fitted to the head in sections.” [Grosgrain does not stretch.]
“This lop-sided effect of brim is very general. A third designer, Lewis, uses it here in a hat of ramailee — another supple, exotic straw — in beige trimmed with narrow velvet ribbons — one beige and the other red. Lewis’ favorite millinery colors in his spring collection are red and green.” The Metropolitan Museum has three nineteen twenties’ hats from Maison Lewis. Click here.
I suppose that the trim colors on a neutral straw hat like this one could be substituted with colors to match your dress. Spring colors of “red and green” reminds us that the color combinations we now associate with Christmas or Halloween did not have those connotations in the twenties.
About Dynevor Rhys: Although many internet sources will sell you copies of his work, I couldn’t find much biographical information. A search at Ancestry.com turned up records for Burton Rice, who also worked under the name Dynevor Rhys. (Was he proud of Welsh ancestry? I don’t know.) Artist Burton Rice has a WW I poster in a museum collection (1918); records show that he returned from France in 1917, when he was 23 years old, and again in 1924, aged 30. In 1943 his draft registration card showed him living in New York city, and self-employed. Perhaps he used a pseudonym for commercial art and reserved his birth name for his “fine art,” just as writers often use a pseudonym for their popular fiction (mysteries, romances) and their given name for “serious” or scholarly works. He was still alive in 1959, when he traveled to Chicago. He was born in Illinois, and by happy coincidence, tomorrow is his birthday: he came into the world on April 15, 1894. Happy birthday, Dynevor Rhys/Burton Rice, and thanks for all those beautiful cover illustrations!
The topic of “blue haired old ladies” comes up in the text of the article that accompanied these illustrations. The hat by Agnes is described as a blue mauve, like that sometimes used to color white hair.” (See American Age Fashion’s discussion of blue hair — deliberate or hairdressing disaster? — here .)