Balenciaga’s hats are notable for their innovative and bold use of materials, colours and ornaments, as well as the painstaking craftsmanship that went into them, which can clearly be perceived in the finish of the works. Added to this was his comprehensive knowledge of the anatomy of each of his clients and of the headdresses best suited to framing a certain face or even an expression.
Simple, everyday materials such as wool and straw – which includes all kinds of plant fibres, even banana leaves and strips of raffia – were used in the hat-making ateliers. The most luxurious and exotic material was the fur of wild animals, among them mink and monkeys, or domestic animals, such as rabbits and goats. Rich fabrics such as velvet, satin and silk organza were combined with linen or cotton, taut or draped, to make caps, headscarves and turbans.
The colours of the hats either harmonised with the outfits or completely different or clashing.