Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dr. Seuss, Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy! What?

Been a while since I've posted here.  I have been insanely busy making hats for all the hat-wearing events here in Wilmington, North Carolina, during the Spring.  It has been intense up until now and the orders keep coming in.  Our Azalea Festival, and especially Azalea Garden Party, are the biggest hat-wearing events around here and they are coming up in a couple of weeks.  Add in Easter, Passover, a few horseracing events, including Kentucky Derby and even Ascot, PLUS Garden Party, and you are talking a busy season.

BUT!  I recently attended the opening of the Dr. Seuss Hat exhibit at a local art gallery.  This traveling exhibit (10 cities) is in honor of the 75th anniversary of Seuss' 2nd book, The 500 Hats of Bartharlemew Cubbins; first time these (or any) of his hats have been on display anywhere outside the 'closet' at his home.  His wife, Audrey, chose the exhibited hats from the hundreds in the 'secret' closet in their San Diego home, a closet behind a bookcase with artwork and his collection of hats.  Obviously, the book was based on Seuss' collection of hats, something the public, and even friends, didn't know about until his death. Very mysterious!

Picture taking of the hats was forbidden at the exhibit but there were approximately 25 hats in a customized steamer trunk in which the hats were displayed and will travel from city to city.  There were military hats, feathered creations, a busby, felt hats and more. Just delightful!  Check out the poster below.

So, how, do you ask, are Dr. Seuss, Stephen Jones, and Philip Treacy connected through their ideas about hats?  I'll take some quotes from the exhibit, plus some taken from interviews with Mr. Jones and Mr. Treacy, and I think you will see a connection, albeit from totally different perspectives.

Although Dr. Seuss never specifically spoke of hats (after all they were a secret!), his wife and sister spoke of his  exuberance toward hatwearing.  From the exhibit:  "Dr. Seuss saw hats as transformational in his art work and personal live.  He was aware of their inherent magic. Far beyond their functionality, hats were the accent--the exclamation point--on a person's behaviour.  They could entertain, delight and embellish, even tease and taunt, but most of all, hats helped Dr. Seuss deliver a world of life-changing inspiration."

Compare this to the following quotes taken from interviews from Mr. Jones and Mr. Treacy, about hats and how they transform the wearer. I had the fortunate opportunity of meeting Mr. Jones in Salem, MA, last year, and I hope he approves of the quotes I've taken from his interviews over the years.

Mr. Jones:   "It doesn’t matter whether it is a big thing you do for a fashion show or whether it’s a baseball cap. It has to turn you into somebody. It applies whether you are young or old, a man or a woman—it’s got to have some magic to it."

Mr. Treacy:  "A person carries off the hat. Hats are about emotion. It is all about how it makes you feel. I like hats that make the heart beat faster. "

Mr. Jones:  "Hats are somehow this wonderful dream that you can put on your head. So many people
are scared of a hat, because they don't understand them and because they're not a daily purchase. But when I do put a hat on somebody's head, it sort of changes their life, it's funny. "

Mr. Treacy:  "It (a hat) is an expression of individuality, and we’re becoming more confident and adventurous. Wearing a hat is fun; people have a good time when they’re wearing a hat."

Do those not sound remarkably like what Dr. Seuss said about hats?  I love it.  From totally different perspectives...hats rule individuality!

The first recorded mention of Dr. Seuss' hats was  from his sister, Marnie, in 1937.  In an interview she said, " Ted (Dr. Seuss) has another peculiar hobby--that of collecting hats of every description.  Why, he must have several hundred and he is using them as the foundation of his next book (Bartharlemew Cubbins).  I  have seen him put on an impromptu show for guests using the hats as  costume.  He has
kept a whole party in stitches just by making up a play w/ kitchen knives and spoon for the actors."

I leave you with words from Audrey, Dr. Seuss' wife:  "Believe me, when you get a dozen people seated at a fairly formal dinner party and they've all got on perfectly ridiculous chapeaus, the evening takes care of itself."  Tradition at their home was for each guest to wear a hat at their parties!  Love it!

Wear your hats with style and would Dr. Seuss, Mr. Jones, and Mr. Treacy.

Dr. Seuss in a feathered beauty...above.

Happy hatting!