Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Indiana Jones and Millinery?

It happens quite frequently. I am contacted by someone who wants me to make a hat 'exactly' like one in a movie. Could be My Fair Lady, Gone With the Wind, Gigi, or...Indiana Jones?? No, not Indiana Jones himself. In this case it was to create a hat worn by the character Dr. Elsa Schneider, in a particular scene of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

After a lengthy look for the right color and weave of straw, finding a suitable navy fabric for the under brim, making the crown block, and creating a 'toile', I was able to re-create it pretty darn close. See what you think.

Here is my client as Elsa. Scroll down to see what Elsa looked like in the movie. But if you are an Indy fan you will certainly recognize her character from my client's picture above.

Here's a full shot of her in front of a vintage train, complete with hat, bag, shoes, gloves and that smashing suit. My gosh, she does look the part! Very impressive!!

My client was wearing this outfit to a convention of Indiana Jones fans. This particular group is very interested in vintage clothes as well, so they tend to wear authentic looks from the Indiana Jones movies. The group met on an Indiana Jones fan forum and now meet in person couple of times a year. Love to run into this group in full costume in a restaurant! What fun!

Wish I had a better still from the movie, but this is about as good as I could get of the hat in the movie.

What a fun project this was! Mostly because it turned out beautifully. Whew! But I must say I get very nervous when someone wants something 'exactly' like it is in a movie, or a magazine fashion editorial. 'Exactly' is a scary word!

I always explain to clients that I'll get as close as I can without ripping someone else's work off, but it can be a problem trying to re-create something 'exactly' for several reasons other than copyright. a) We can't see the entire work at hand. Most of the time we are only seeing one side of the hat or headpiece. What does it look like in back? b) We can't be assured that the materials will be available to us. This is especially true if we are working in vintage materials. A particular straw may not even be produced any longer. c) We don't have the equipment needed. In this case I had to create the hatblock in order to get the shape of the crown that was needed for Elsa's hat.

What are your experiences?


  1. Wow! Great job. It turned out beautiful. Kudos to you!!

  2. Thanks bunches! Of course having a beautiful client in 'full array' doesn't hurt the looks of the hat either.