A good costume is worth five pages of dialogue in film. It can give you the key to a character's personality, to the mood of the scene, or to a shift in the plot. It can inform the actors' own performances, like Kim Novak's stiff, binding gray suit from Vertigo or Louise Brooks' ruined blouse and skirt in Pandora's Box. With that in mind, I'd love to know the meaning behind these two hats:
So, above we have Katharine Hepburn in 1940's The Philadelphia Story and below, we have Barbara Stanwyck in 1941's The Lady Eve. In both scenes, we have a leading lady in a daytime scene where she is supposed to be charming and confident. And yet each time I see these films, I am always thrown out of the moment by those (to my eyes) silly-looking hats. Adrian designed for Philadelphia and Edith Head was behind Eve so at least two geniuses of fashion were throwing their weight behind the idea that a woman could look enticing in the Wee Willie Winkie hat. Was it just a brief fashion trend of the early 1940s, here and gone? And yet it's only in these two classic films that I see it. At any rate, I'm keeping an eye out for any more of those hats.
The Philadelphia Story picture is credited to Style Matters; Alison's got a nice fashion post on Katharine Hepburn.