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Seven Years ago TODAY, SALMAGUNDI for ladies & gents...
set up Shop in Jamaica Plain!
THIS IS AN EXTRA SPECIAL WEEK FOLKS:
We couldn't have done it without you...
Take a peek at this clip to see what we have in Store for YOU!
one of our Newest: meet Devonia!
a Wool Felt Assymetrical Wide Brim Cloche with sophisticated appeal...
Ladylike for the gal that feels too cute in a Cloche, but still wants the glamour
available in Petrol, Caramel, Light Grey Melange and Creme
our Golden Scroll table is the anchor of our lovely Dress racks...
Ladies: we are chock full of Fall preperations to make for a smooth transition!
What a LOOKER!
Colton is a HANDSOME C-Crown Wool Felt
featuring a 21/8" Underwelt Brim & Double Back Bow Trim for added swank
Camel Melange with Copper Trim shown here:
also available in Charcoal Melange with Navy Trim
and Tobacco Melange with Grey...
Luscious New Handbags from Aunts & Uncles!
100% Vegetable Tanned Premium Calf Leather
available in an array of Delightful Colors
Add some SPICE to your Look with Mrs. PANCAKE,
a Crossbody Long Hobo Bag in Paprika
(Left) Mrs. TEACAKE: Kiss & Lock Closure Handbag in Bordo
Miss COOKIE (Centre & Right) Small Crossbody Bags in Banana & Garden
Mrs. CREAMCAKE: Medium sized Messenger Bag in Garden,
with contrasting Camel strap and detail
Mrs. MUFFIN: Convertible Medium Crossbody
available in Garden & Bordo
By James Stanfill
When Gary Drinkwater walked into the store, smiled, and handed us a thin bamboo tube, we had no idea we were about to become part of a story that was equal parts Tuesdays with Morrie and Romancing the Stone. Gary Drinkwater, the owner of a stylishly curated gentleman's shop (click for link) in Porter Square, saw our curious looks and quipped, “It’s a hat, stupid.” A masterful understatement. Out of the tube came one of the finest woven parasisal hat bodies we’ve ever seen as well as the story of an amazing man, John Hardy.
As a member of the greatest generation, John lived an astounding life. He left his schooling at Harvard to join the Navy during World War II and served for four years. When he returned home, he finished his degree, earned a master’s in education from Boston University, and taught history in his hometown, Medford. Leave it to a man who made history to teach it. His time traveling the world was not finished, though, and he continued to explore, befriending interesting people and gathering more stories. John met Gary Drinkwater at a gentlemen’s shop, and while their love of style led the way, their conversations would cover everything from history to politics to fashion. As John grew older, Gary would spend every Tuesday with him, taking him shopping, visiting the doctor, or just swapping stories in front of the television. Ever the history teacher, John would entertain by sharing little known gobbets of history from his learning or his life. In September of 2013, John passed away at the age of 91, but before he died, he handed Gary Drinkwater an old bamboo tube with the name Joseph McCarthy inscribed on it. John had inherited the hat body from his friend Joseph, and it was time to pass it on again. When Gary asked what it was, John replied with characteristic wit, “It’s a hat, stupid.”
It is rare that a hat can hold a story as fascinating as the person who owned it. Like the American handshake to seal a business deal, bamboo tubes containing hat bodies were given away as a ceremonial part of land deals. We estimate the hat to about 80 years old because of the fineness of the weave, the bamboo tube, and the information we have about the hat’s previous owners. In order to transform this vintage hat body, we did everything by hand. Hand blocking is generally long a three-step process, but because we were working with such a one-of-a-kind piece of history, the initial blocking alone took two and a half times as long:
Before we could begin shaping the hat, we conditioned the body
in order to make the straw suppler for blocking!
First we string blocked the body to an open crown, giving it the recognizable hat-shape.
Second, we blocked the crown into a teardrop shape.
Third, we cut, wired, and welted the brim before flanging and binding the edge. With the hat basically created, all that was left were the finishing touches and the final fitting. In a lot of hats that are made nowadays, the sweatband will be machine sewn, but we decided to hand sew the sweatband because we were worried the machine would compromise the straw. Then, we trimmed the hat with a grosgrain ribbon that Gary had chosen earlier. When Gary entered the shop, we showed him the hat, and made sure that hat fit his head, face, and style. After some consultation, we reblocked the crown to a 1930s diamond crown to suit his proportions better.
Here you can see Gary, beaming in his newly blocked hat!