We understand that plumage on hats reached its height of popularity in the early Edwardian period. Our suspicion is that this image of a fashionable woman in red dress and plumed hat, elegantly posing for her portrait photograph, comes to us from the early 1900’s. It is not only the hat’s plumage that suggests the period, but the wide brim as well. The notion of the “S” shaped woman’s figure, a fundamental aspect of the Edwardian fashion ideal, required the hat to offer some curve at the top. The wide brim of the hat offers a solution.
There is a subtle sense of irony in the woman’s expression. We almost imagine she understands that on some level the crazy plumage is just plain silly, and that is all part of the fun. But generally speaking, she simply exudes poise and elegance.
We would choose a bit of roaring ’20s speakeasy music for our bonne vivante. Perhaps a bit of jazzy trumpet against a big band. In this way we prepare our beauty for her night on the town. But let the man who would make an improper advance beware. There just may be a long hat pin holding that cap down – and it may offer a painful defense if need be!
And composer Bill Madison clearly takes up our Victorian maiden’s cause, warning her to “Let No Man Steal Your Thyme” His lyric is a fitting response to a sense of vulnerability that is simultaneously revealed as we view the Edwardian beauty while listening to Bill’s track. Now we want to protect her, to guard everything precious in her – her hopes, her dreams, her yearning for a true love.