Collapsible bonnets, they were made of strips of wood or whalebone sewn into channels of a silk hood.A front ribbon allowed the wearer to hold the calash securely over her face while walking in the wind.A taste for simpler fabrics in the 1780’s, anticipated the more democratic styles that followed the French Revolution. Simple cotton house bonnets ornamented with a separate ribbon became fashionable for all echelons of society.
The term ‘milliner’ comes from the Italian city of Milan, where in the 1700’s, the finest straws were braided and the best quality hat forms were made.
18th century Pancake style ‘shepherdess’ hats were popular throughout most of the 18th century, in varying brim widths.
These hats were considered necessary to keep the sun away from fair complexions, especially as the parasol was not a fashionable accessory during this period.
In the 1770’s (when huge wigs and hairstyles were fashionable) the ‘calash’ bonnet was worn to protect the high hairstyles from the weather.
In the 18th century however, a milliner was more of a stylist.
Traditionally a woman’s occupation, the milliner not only created hats or bonnets to go with costumes but also chose the laces, trims and accessories to complete an ensemble.