Tag: fashion

Borsalino hats

Going through old family photos I was struck by the fact that all the men – especially in the first half of the 19th century – were always wearing stylish fedora hats.  This made me think of my own teenage years when I went on a search for a perfect men’s Borsalino hat to complete my (I imagined) chic bohemian look.  It made me wonder about the mystique attached to the name “Borsalino” and what its history was.  It turns out that the iconic hat factory was founded in 1857 in Alessandria, in Piemonte, and named after its founder Giuseppe Borsalino who had trained in Paris as a hat maker.  Hats were extremely popular and the Borsalino factory was turning out some 2,500 hats a day by the beginning of the 20th Century and the word “Borsalino” came to be synonymous with a wide-brimmed felt hat.  One of the most enduring and recognizable images of the Borsalino is of Humphrey Bogart wearing it in the movie “Casablanca.”  As time went on, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s the wearing of hats became less popular and the company produced and sold many fewer hats and even filed for bankruptcy.  It has since been taken over by a private equity firm and relaunched, focusing on new markets, innovation and sustainability but  without losing touch with its tradition of glamour and cultural significance.  Time for a new Borsalino hat?

Archives of Italian fashion in the 20th Century

The website “Archivi della moda del Novecento” is a valuable source of information for those interested in Italian fashion.  It contains bibliographies, audiovisual material, information on exhibits and collections, historical summaries and wonderful pictures.  The site is not only a great tool for scholars but also lots of fun for non-specialists to explore.