Have you ever looked at an object, admiring it, so long that you convinced yourself you had to have it? That’s what happened to me with this hat. I was having a hard time justifying the purchase, but after months of longing to add this to my collection, I bit the bullet, so to speak. My general rule about buying things that are in the upper end of my budget is that I ask myself, “How sad will I be if someone else buys this?” In this case I decided I would be very, very sad.
You may of heard of Lenci as a maker of felt dolls. The company was formed in Turin, Italy in 1918 or 1919. The first product was the dolls, but in 1927 they decided to branch out into fashion items for women and girls made from the same felt as the dolls. The line got a lot of good fashion press in both Europe and the United States.
The entire hat is constructed of felt, with colorful felt appliques of stylized flowers. It’s in very good condition, with a few tiny moth nibbles. This is, after all, made of wool felt.
This illustration is from a March 1928 issue of Women’s Wear Daily. And how about that umbrella?
This illustration is in the collection of the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas in Madrid. My hat also has a contrasting brim like the model in the foreground.
Here’s the label. There must have been Lenci stores in New York, Paris, London , and Manchester. I did read a reference to a store in Paris.
Lenci garments and accessories are quite rare. There is currently a darling girl’s bonnet listed on etsy, and a really sweet little sewing kit attributed to Lenci. This hat came from the collection of long-time Canadian collector Alan Suddon, who died in 2001. My thanks to Cora Ginsburg LLC for the information, the ads, and most of all the hat.