2018-06-12 17:06:38 英语学习2018年6期

By Melvyn Braggl

Britain is a nation of hat wearers, of that there is no doubt. From the Artful Dodgers battered top hat to Winston Churchills homburg, the history of the country can be told through the hats that have graced the heads of some of our most famous luminaries.1 Traditionally hats are a very loaded item and have almost totemic power in their ability to signify class, gender, occupation and a myriad of other stations.2 Even the protocol has symbolic value; from doffing your hat to launching mortar boards in the air,3 hats have long been associated with rituals and practices stretching back into the mists of time. With the Royal Wedding throwing British millinery back into the spotlight the time is to take a tour of Britains heritage through its headwear.4

The humble flat cap can be traced back to medieval England and was even the subject of Tudor sumptuary laws.5 In an attempt to spur on the wool trade an Act of Parliament was instituted in 1571 decreeing that all males over six years old (except for the nobility) had to wear a wool cap on Sundays and holidays, with a penalty of a fine if they refused. The non-aristocratic association stuck and the flat cap became an icon of working class culture in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The hat was a trademark of a number of characters, but no one has truly made the bowler their own quite like Charlie Chaplin. The Little Tramp, icon of silent-era comedy, certainly had a penchant for accessories,6 so much so that one of his famous bowlers and a cane was sold last November for$62,500!

Archaeologist and heritage interpreter7 Sally Pointer specialises in reconstructing and creating historical hats. When asked about her favourite she comes down in favour of yet another classic: the deerstalker. It may be crystalised in the popular imagination as the hat of choice of Sherlock Holmes, but its interesting to note that there is not a single mention of him donning a deerstalker in any works by Arthur Conan Doyle.8 The deerstalker was a vital aspect of the Victorian gentlemans hunting ensemble9, worn on country estates but not in the city, and as such it certainly would not have featured in Holmes day to day life around Baker Street. The association came about when illustrator (and contemporary of Doyle) Sidney Paget gave Holmes both a deerstalker and Inverness cape10 for out of town adventures such as “The Boscombe Valley Mystery”. The connection stuck and an icon was born, albeit an inaccurate one. But for Sally Pointer this is all part of its charm: “the willingness on our part to accept a little eccentricity in an overall look fits the way the British approach hats perfectly.”

The Edwardian era was a golden age of millinery. Ornamentation became ever more elaborate, with a cornucopia of flowers, birds, lace, ribbons, bows, feathers and artificial fruit regularly gracing heads in an opulent display of conspicuous consumption.11 Hatpins were essential to secure these creations to the head. The lengthy pins were useful for discouraging dangerous advances12 on the street, so much so that laws were proposed to ban this secret weapon in many cities around the world. Hats were still a necessity in public in Edwardian Britain, the Suffragettes13 even remained beautifully behatted when chained to railings and campaigning for the right to vote.

But the hat hasnt always been a symbol of propriety. Britains rich street style and subcultural heritage has often seen the hat become somewhat subversive. Anthropologist Ted Polhemus cites the pork pie hat and the Mod14 subculture as the perfect example. Originating in the mid-19th century, the pork pie hat (named for its resemblance to the dish) was the hat of choice for many well-dressed Victorian city dwellers, but morphed into a key element of London street style a century later. Equally, not wearing a hat was seen as an act of rebellion. Polhemus recounts BBC footage of bare-headed Teddy Boys stealing a mans hat on the street which visualised the moral panic that the Teds inspired.15

During the 1940s the headscarf turban was popular for women working in factories, to stop long Veronica Lake-style hair from getting caught in machinery.16 The turban of the “Land Girl”17 symbolised the war effort, patriotism and utility, while throughout the 50s hats became an essential aspect of French couture houses, keen to reestablish their pre-eminence on the fashion stage. By the 1960s, though, the rise of car ownership and the burgeoning Youthquake ensured that hats were no longer needed either as protection from the weather or as a demarcation of class.18

There has been a renaissance in hat wearing in the 21st century, thanks to a welcome boost in 2011 when the Royal Wedding coincided with the 300th anniversary of the races at Ascot19, ensuring a vintage year for hats. Meanwhile, Stockport Hat Works Museum—the only museum in the country dedicated to hats and hat making—is more popular than ever, and staff have noticed a distinct increase in headgear on their visitors.

With hats undoubtedly in the ascendent, what marks Britain out on the world stage is the sheer number of hats we can call our own. When France has the beret, Spain has the Cordobés and Mexico has the sombrero as defining features, why do we have so many? Historian Matthew Ward professes an obsession with hats ranging from medieval liripipes to Georgian cocked hats, and believes that the variety of headgear in Britain reflects our multicultural background, with the legacy of such diversity ensuring Britain doesnt have a single national form of dress, let alone a national hat, with our headgear reflecting this rich cultural heritage.










1. Artful Dodger: 机灵鬼杰克·道金斯,英国作家狄更斯作品《雾都孤儿》中的人物,头脑和行动都非常灵活,他把主人公奥利弗带进贼窝;battered: 破旧的;homburg: 洪堡软毡帽;luminary:杰出人物,名人。

2. totemic: 图腾的;a myriad of: 各种各样的;station: 地位,身份。

3. protocol: 礼仪;doff: 脱帽;mortar board: 学位帽。

4. Royal Wedding: 这里应指2011年威廉王子大婚;millinery: 女帽。

5. Tudor: 都铎王朝(1485—1603),伯爵亨利·都铎于1485年8月在法国援助下杀死理查三世,夺取王位,建立都铎王朝,史称亨利七世。都铎王朝统治英格兰王国直到1603年伊丽莎白一世去世为止,历经120余年,共经历了五代君主;sumptuary law: 禁奢法,是用以规范消费行为的法律条文,目的是控制奢侈浪费,尤其反对配饰、食物、家具等的浪费与过度消耗。

6. The Little Tramp: 卓别林的昵称之一;penchant: 偏好。

7. heritage interpreter: 遗产解说员,指在博物馆、公园、水族馆等地帮助人们了解文化或自然遗产价值的解说员。

8. crystalise: 使……成形,使……具体化;don: 戴上,穿上。

9. ensemble: 全套服装。

10. Inverness cape: 一种(披肩可脱卸的)无袖长披风。

11. cornucopia: 丰盛,大量;opulent: 华丽的,奢侈的。

12. advances: (常用复数)靠近,(对异性的)挑逗。

13. Suffragette: // 妇女参政论者,指的是19世纪末20世纪初不惜通过暴力运动争取妇女参政权的女性。

14. Mod: 一种亚文化,起源于上世纪50年代末的伦敦,mod一词来源于“modernist”。最早期的Mod族是劳工阶级的下一代,二战结束士兵返家后,其子女约处在青少年叛逆的年纪,因为和父母沟通的代沟、战后的不安以及郊区生活的乏味苦闷,让这些青少年在压抑的生活中想要表现自我。代表Mod精神的是蓝白红三色同心圆箭靶符号。

15. footage: (电影的)连续镜头;Teddy Boys: 泰迪男孩,英国亚文化,20世纪50年代在伦敦开始形成,随后在英国各地迅速蔓延,与摇滚乐联系紧密。除了身着独具风格的服装,他们的发型也很有特色,在头顶抹厚厚的油,脑后则留成鸭屁股式的扁平发型。

16. turban: 包头巾;Veronica Lake: 维罗妮卡·莱克(1922—1973),出生于纽约布鲁克林,美国电影演员,20世纪40年代以金色长发引领一代时尚。

17. Land Girl: 1941年,二戰战火正炽,英国的年轻男子纷纷被征召赴前线作战。于是在后方的家乡,有一群英国年轻女子组成“妇女家乡工作服务队”,她们的工作是被分派到全国各地,到乡间的农场从行各种农事。

18. burgeoning: 迅速发展的;Youthquake:是青年(Youth)与地震(quake)的合成词,意指年轻人的行为对政治、社会或文化变迁造成重大的影响。该词最早出现于上世纪60年代,指当时大批英国青年推动时尚界的复古再流行。2017年6月,英国媒体报道英国国会选举时因当时年轻人投票率激增,对保守党形成重要影响,因而重新使用该词。该词后来也出现在美国、澳大利亚、新西兰等国的政治评论中,并于2017年入选牛津词典;demarcation:划界。

19. 英国皇家雅士谷赛马会,设立于1711年,每年六月举行,被认为是世界上最豪华奢侈的赛马会,传统的英国人对此非常自豪。这项赛事更是英国上流社交圈的大事,从皇室贵族到一般平民都会在这天大肆庆祝。从1807年开始,英国皇家雅士谷赛马会首次将比赛的第三天定为“金杯日”,因为这天是整个赛程最关键的一天。不过很多英国人包括英国王室却习惯地称之为“仕女日”(Ladies Day),因为当天大批盛装打扮的女性观众都会前来观赛,这里成了英伦女士们展示高级时尚和创意帽饰的伸展台。英国的赛马季就等于时装节或帽展,绅士淑女个个争奇斗艳。