Woman's Cloche

CMC S95-25077-78; PCD 97-362-008

From Miss Newton's Hat Shop; Petrolia, Ontario; late 1920s; rayon faille. CMC D-6876

The cloche hat, so simple and modern, nevertheless blinkered its wearer no less than the poke-bonnets of the 1800s. It dictated a stance that became characteristic of the 1920s, since it was necessary for the wearer to lift the chin and peer imperiously down the nose. The style was also a demanding one, since the wearer was deprived of a flattering frame of hair. The cloche led to society's tolerance of eye and lip cosmetics, which gave definition to the face.

Miss Katherine Newton created hats for the women of Sarnia and Petrolia, Ontario, for over thirty years, starting around 1915. In her shop, Miss Newton herself would cut and sew, steam and shap, trim and decorate ladies' hats. She also imported the latest ready-made fashions from Toronto and New York.

When Miss Newton died in 1968 at the age of 85, a cache of some 500 hats was discovered in the attic of her home in Petrolia. This was old stock from her store, and some of the hats still had their price tags. This woman's streamlined helmet cloche was created from modern, synthetic materials. It sold for $6.75.