Tip of the Hat! A Social History of the Covered Head

Alongside practical functions like protection against wind and weather, headwear was and is among the strongest of sartorial statements and is the most manifest visual signification of the wearer’s identity. The “Calabrese” (Kalabreser) was a hat worn by the revolutionaries of 1848, and served to mark the revolutionaries off from the reactionaries who favoured top hats. The Social Democrats struggled for labour rights while wearing workers’ caps; the Austro-fascists also had their hat of choice. Diverse headwear continues to separate conservatives from liberals, and the political left from right. The proscriptions against covering one’s face during demonstrations, along with the headscarf debate, demonstrate the extent to which the covering and veiling of the head and face continue to leave their mark on political discourse.

The exhibition unifies all of these aspects into a social history of the covered head, and provides insights both into the wearers of hats and the extent to which their choice of headwear is deeply anchored in the history of Viennese urban society down to the present. The bulk of the exhibition objects come from the Wien Museum’s fashion collection, one of Europe’s most significant.

Current Dates

  • Tue. 25 Oct 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Wed. 26 Oct 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Thu. 27 Oct 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Fri. 28 Oct 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Sat. 29 Oct 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Sun. 30 Oct 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.