Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Calash

Date:
ca. 1820
Culture:
American
Medium:
silk
Credit Line:
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Charles L. Livingston, Jr., 1962
Accession Number:
2009.300.2015
Not on view
The calash style was designed in the late 18th century to allow women to wear a fashionable headdress without damaging their coiffure. Hairstyles during the late 18th century were growing increasingly large and elaborate, but bonnets were still required for protection and decency. The name "calash" is derived from "calèche," the hood of a "French carriage," because the material was ruched along a collapsible cane support structure, much like the hood of a carriage. Many calashes were treated to be water-proof. This later 1820s example shows how the style endured into the 19th century, probably because of its practicality and convenience for weather and travel, rather than its fashionability.
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