Know Your Chapeau: Party Hat

7:00 AM

Kenne Gregoire, Party Hat, 1951

I believe the quality of one's hat cannot be judged based solely upon the head-wear's physical appearance, but by the attitude of he who wears it. After all, it is the person who wears the hat, not the other way around. So, with this in mind, my adoration of Kenne Gregoire's Party Hat grew quite strong.

I choose this piece specifically for the story it told. The use of hats as symbols of larger themes, for this case youth or loss of innocence, produces a strong image. A loss that anyone with the ability to think about has thought about, the image transcends social boundaries. Seen through the intensely defined sad look in the man's eyes, the hat fails to bring the happiness it might have brought in the man's childhood. However, what really threw me was why his face and ears were so small compared to his head. Almost as if to reflect the unhappiness with his old body, Gregoire keeps the man's face and ears in proportion to the hat, a representation of the man's longing for his youth, rather than his overgrown, physically wrinkled body.

With deeper themes aside, the simplicity of the party hat itself in comparison to the large wrinkled man who wears it, is laughable. And in the craze to find the craziest hat, Party Hat contrasts the majority of over the top extravagant hats, ultimately making it the most eccentric.

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