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October 31, 2012


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What an amazing piece! Real bat heads with velvet bodies? How sumptuous! Dracula was published in 1897 and Nosferatu was filmed in 1922 - what could have sparked such interest in bats in the intervening years... could the increasing public outcry against using plumage for hats have motivated an interest in another creature of flight?

FIDM Museum

Hi Caroline,

I had the exact same thought process! I looked up both Dracula and Nosferatu's dates too. I had the same thought about millinery plumage as well. It's definitely a topic that invites more research.

I also wondered about Marchesa Luisa Casati. Though she was certainly one of a kind, her style definitely tilted towards the more eccentric. How influential was her darker sensibility? But with bats in Vogue they were definitely a fashion item, not an oddity. So much to unpack!

Julia Long, one of our former staffers, published a paper called "Portable Pets: Live and Apparently Live Animals in Fashion, 1880–1925." It addresses this hat and the larger phenomena of animals in fashion. Here's a link to the citation: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/maney/cos/2009/00000043/00000001/art00008.


Wow, that is some hat! Great post too.

Just an FYI--vampire bats don't suck blood, they bite an animal and lap up the blood as it drips from the wound.

Nadine Stewart

Sarah Bernhardt had a bat tiara!

FIDM Museum

Can't wait to find a picture of Sarah Bernhardt in her bat tiara! Excuse me, I've got some Googling to do...


Consider how many flying creatures have been featured in clothing or jewelry...in the Art Nouveau artistic vocabulary we had dragonflies that were part human, as well as many other insect forms...here we've got bats...and many eras saw women's hats decorated with whole stuffed birds. So what is it with creatures of flight, I wonder? Fascinating article--thanks for such interesting reading!

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