Sunday, March 29, 2009

Turbans

In our continued exploration of hats it would be crazy to exclude the major trend that was the turban. Turbans would appear here or there throughout the 18th century but by the end of the century the vogue simply exploded. Visitors to the mysterious lands of the Orient and Turkey, such as Mary Wortley Montague brought back many of the peoples' mysterious ways (such as the smallpox inoculation) to the curious English. One of the things that made it back to Europe was the curious manner of dress which everyone took a major interest in. Soon Turkish dress was one of the most common costumes seen at the masquerade. Of course this dress was not proper for normal, everyday wear (you couldn't look like a barbarian!) but one aspect did stick and that was the turban. Women found that the rolls of elegant fabric could make for the perfect fashion accessory. One woman particularly loved these headdresses and frequently had herself portrayed wearing them, Marie Antoinette. Even after the queen's fall and subsequent death turbans became increasingly popular, especially in France. They evolved into fabric that would wrap around women's curly, loose hair so that it would show through the fabric. The trend had adapted to the Classical trend to combine the Turkish style with that of the ancient Roman. By the 1790's and into the early 19th century no woman of fashion was complete without a turban, Turk, or chiffonet.
This site has some great fashion plates of Turbans after 1793.


  1. 1782
  2. 1783
  3. 1787
  4. 1787
  5. 1787
  6. 1787
  7. 1788
  8. 1789
  9. 1790
  10. 1793
  11. 1794
  12. 1795

5 comments:

  1. 1782 looks the most interesting and -different. Can you imagine owning these? A real collector's dream:)

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  2. And can you imagine wearing 1782? I agree that it's the most unique, but I'd be a menace if I wore it. And it's nice to see the pouf--a great MA style.
    I hope the hat series continues. I wonder if there are any portraits of sitters wearing a Devonshire hat.

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  3. Mrs Baldwin was definitely a feisty woman. She was all about the eastern ware, and probably the only one to really have a turban like this. That is why it's so unique!

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  4. Too bad we didn't coordinate our hat posts. These hat images are lovely.

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  5. Heather
    It seems like there is some info out there about Mrs Baldwin, so I wonder if she will make appear as a Tart some day? (Not to place any undue pressure :)
    Isn't it amazing how many feisty ladies there were? Think how many remarkable women are lost to history.

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