Society Column: ‘Hats Off’ benefits IMA textiles and fashion arts 

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Who wears hats today, people might ask? What springs to mind is likely the Kentucky Derby, where wearing a hat is believed to bring good luck. Or maybe the beach.

But, the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s “Hats Off” event revealed a group of enthusiasts who view the hat as self-expression, costume and art.

The “Hats Off” event on May 8 began with a lecture by Elizabeth Semmelhack, author and senior curator of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. Semmelhack’s lecture, “A Short History of the High Heel,” was followed by lunch in the Deer Zink Pavilion.

Jody DeFord and Tina Pasquinelli co-chaired the event which awarded prizes in categories such as “Hattitude”, “Hatta Boy” and “Hatatasique”. Award winners included: Ruth Vignati, Allison Ford, Jamie Gibbs, Elizabeth Taylor, Truen James and Ashley Meyer. Ford designed a hat constructed of three layers of thin maple veneer with a 1920s look. James created a leather and spike headpiece, drawing fashion inspiration from the dark fantasy movie, Maleficent.

Attendees ranged in fashion experience from international fashion icon, Murph Damron, to new fashionistas, such as Madison Hrodadka of Carmel’s 14 Districts boutique. Hrodadka chose to wear a classic black velvet cloche purchased from the Lorene Burkhart’s fashion collection private sale. 

Harriet Warkel, guest curator of American Art, wore a wispy aqua mesh hat created by Eleanor Brand of Australia. Martine Bachelart wore a vintage Christian Dior hat passed down from her grandmother. Pat Noveroske wore a 1957 Elsa Shiaparelli. Marilyn Goeke joined Noveroske for lunch, wearing a black vintage chapeau from her costume as historical character Magdalena Holstein. Holstein was James Whitcomb Riley’s land lady.

Discussing the fragility of textile art compared to other arts, the IMA’s Curator of Textiles and Fashion Art Niloo Paydar said, “Permanent collection is an interesting term. Textiles can only be displayed for 6 months at a time over a period of three years.”

Funds raised from the third annual “Hats Off event” will enable the Fashion Arts Society to acquire couture creations for the permanent collection at the IMA. The textile and fashion arts collection currently houses more than 7,000 items and represents virtually all of the world’s traditions in fabric.

Tonya Burton is the Current’s social scene columnist. You may contact her at tonya@currentincarmel. com 

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