The Origins of that Darth Vader-Looking Balenciaga Hat, Explained

The futuristic-looking visor actually owes much to the past.
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The futuristic-looking visor actually owes much to the past.

Blog Part Nouveau, or ‘partly new’, delves into fashion history to showcase the inspiration–be it art, photography or design–behind some of today’s biggest fashion moments. It’s fascinating and impossible not to get lost in, so we asked the site’s founder, Lilah Ramzi, to give us a little history lesson each week.

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A year before Cristóbal Balenciaga's final collection, he introduced his single-seam wedding dress in 1967. The designer, taking cues from the period’s affinity for futuristic cuts and tech fabrics, reappropriated them into the unlikeliest of places: the traditional white bride's dress. With just one seam, the dress suggests it was born, rather than made, void of any elements that reveal the human hands responsible for its existence. A similarly smooth monastic-like hood replaced the obvious white lace veil, making for a complete space-age bride.

In 2008, Nicolas Ghesquière, then the designer of Balenciaga, looked to the house’s archives and reintroduced the mod headpiece for the brand’s Spring 2008 collection. Four years later, the habit-like hat was once again brought back to life by Ghesquière for the label's Spring 2012 show. This time, however, the hood was reimagined as a visor and was immediately spotted atop the heads of several daring Fashion Week fixtures.

Single-seam wedding gown by Cristóbal Balenciaga, 1967

Single-seam wedding gown by Cristóbal Balenciaga, 1967

Jennifer Connolly for Balenciaga, Spring 2008

Jennifer Connolly for Balenciaga, Spring 2008