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1950s Balenciaga Haute Couture Black Velvet Jewel Toque Hat
Born in Spain in 1895, Cristóbal Balenciaga is renowned as one of the masters of haute couture. Drawing from strikingly decorative Spanish cultural influence, Balenciaga’s designs up until the mid- to late-twentieth century incorporated highly detailed beadwork, and hours or intricate embroidery. While mimicking the evolution of his design aesthetic, the millenary works created by the House of Balenciaga were not in fact conceptions of the designer himself, but designed by expert milliners Wladzio d'Attainville, and Ramón Esparza. Nonetheless, the hats produced compliment the couturier’s lavish aesthetic.
This 1950s toque hat is made from a rich black velvet and is hand-beaded with translucent bronze colored beads that snake across the surface of the hat. Prong-set jewels of ruby red, sapphire blue, malachite green, and amber gleam against the deep black velvet fabric. Smaller clear jewels are speckled throughout. Though small, the time, and craftsmanship evident in this hat reiterate Balenciaga’s artistic claim to intricate surface detailing.
Length: 11 inches (measured from on top side to side over the curve)
Width: 8 inches (measured front to back from on top of the hat)
Inside, the Balenciaga label is present, and below the designer label is the haute couture tape label, #8230. The hat is fitted with six brown elastic loops, and is lined with a black grosgrain ribbon sweatband, and a tulle mesh which allows for the hand embroidery stitches from the surface of the hat to be observed.
This hat is completely handmade and finished to haute couture standards. In excellent condition, this accessory is not only sure to impress, it is also a coveted museum worthy piece. High-quality vintage pieces like this are yours to live in and love while increasing in value every year. It’s never too soon to start collecting them, as an investment in your wardrobe—and in yourself.