Closer Look: The Green Chain Pillbox

Royal HatsOne of the surprises from this year’s amazing exhibition on the Queen’s fashion over the past 90 years is a celery green silk hat with distinctive hanging chain trim that I do not remember ever seeing before:

This design (I suspect made by Simone Mirman) is all about that interlocking chain veil on the back- a detail that is unique and unlike anything we’ve seen on a royal hat. It’s not a design detail that is very beautiful but it makes for a fascinatingly interesting design. While I have been unable to find any photos of the Queen wearing this particular hat, several similar lavishly trimmed over size pillboxes she wore in the 1960s and 1970s give us hint of how this piece might have looked on her.
Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
What do you think of this design, now that we’ve had a closer look?
Photos from Getty as indicated

25 thoughts on “Closer Look: The Green Chain Pillbox

  1. As fate would have it, I recently watched GRACE OF MONACO with Nicole Kidman (surprisingly not bad). It prompted me to Google “Grace Kelly” which turned up this photo from a visit to the White House in 1961 in her Wikipedia profile. Princess Grace wears a white turban with silk chain mail “flowers” very similar to HM’s! As I had read THIS post prior to Googling, I had to giggle…and post the photo (which didn’t work out so well…but you have the link). It was also a good opportunity to mention how nice it would be to see more throwback photos of HSH in future posts. Style is eternal after all!

  2. I love this hat – not surprisingly, as I adore the millinery of the sixties. I particularly like this one for the subtle colour, the luxury fabric, and the lavish, serious scale of the festooned ribbon chains.
    I went looking for pics of it with no success. But HM did, it seems, wear some hats with looped ribbon tails hanging at the back.
    Tour of Canada 1971- chain design.
    Long loops cluster, Epsom Derby 1970

    Anne wearing a hat with looped ribbon “ponytail”

    looped ribbon” topknot”, New Zealand tour 1970

    another long loop topknot – UK

  3. No, this isn’t a gorgeous hat per se, but the concept and workmanship are fascinating. This style is exactly what I vividly remember the queen wearing in the 1860’s. I think these hats flattered her sweet young face.

  4. My first reaction was “twenty five bells” and thought the two were quite similar. Then, I read the comment about the Christmas chains we made as children and was brought down to earth! I still rather like the featured hat and would love to see a photo of HM wearing this particular piece.

  5. I’m not very keen on this hat and of course another of the same ilk is the lovely sugared almond pink with the hanging bells that the Queen wore for her Jubilee in 1977 – already discussed on this blog. I wonder if all the detailing on the back of these similar hats was to give more interesting view from the back.

  6. I think HM wears turbans rather well but it is unsportsmanlike for some of these milliners to expect her to carry off something like this. Perhaps a bright color would have helped but not much. Reminds me of the handmade Christmas tree garlands we made as children from colored construction paper. Taking this into consideration would anyone else be able to wear these odd pieces as well as the Queen?

    On a side note I read the other day in a piece about National Hat Day in America (January 15th) that the proper term for gentleman hat makers are hatters and lady hat makers are milliners. I wonder when it was decided that milliner should cover both, or is this just an American thing.

  7. I think it’s rather interesting – and we have to remember we can’t view 60s millinery through modern eyes; hats were often off slightly odd shapes. I am now determined to find a picture of it. I could be some time…

  8. Extremely odd. Even the colour is odd. I thing if it were presented to me as something to wear I would giggle. This can’t be a good thing.

  9. Like many of the other hats featured in the exhibit, this one features some beautiful craftsmanship and detail but ends up being “interesting” and “unique” rather than beautiful. But why? Did these reflect the current fashion, or were the royal milliners consciously going for something very different? I’d appreciate hearing what our dear HatQueen and others think.

  10. What a time-consuming procedure it must have been to make this hat. I don’t remember ever seeing this hat either, and I’m quite sure that, despite its — how should I put this? — its general ugliness, I would remember this hat. It’s a wonderful hat to put on a display. I suspect that it’s a not so wonderful to put it on a human head.

  11. I vaguely remember this hat. Or something like it. Not a fan. To my mind, the only one that looked good in a turban was Princes Grace. But she didn’t look bad in anything! I wouldn’t say HM looked bad in this hat, it just isn’t a favorite.

    • I was thinking much the same thing about Princess Grace. The general design seems to be something she might have worn, though perhaps not the chains in particular!

    • I agree with what hats on says: August 31, 2016 at 10:32 am. Seaweed hanging off the hat was my first thought too! This sure is an ugly hat, but I will reserve my final judgment till I see it worn, if one of us can find such a photo. Have any of you been to this exhibit? Maybe there is a photo of the Queen wearing it there?

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