An Ancient Emblem of Liberty


Jacqueline Kennedy en route to lunch with President and Mrs. Charles de Gaulle, Paris, May 31, 1961

 
 

Jackie KennedyJacqueline Kennedy during her official visit to Paris, on May 1961. She was wearing Alaskine (wool and silk) created by Oleg Cassini and pill-box hat created by Roy Halston Frowick

 
 

Jacqueline Kennedy, First Lady of the United States from 1961 to 1963, was well known for her “signature pillbox hats” from circa 1961 to 1963

 
 

PREDECESSORS

 
 

Memorial Stained Glass window, Class of 1934, Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston Ontario, Canada

 
 

A pillbox hat is a small woman’s hat with a flat crown and straight, upright sides, and no brim. Historically, the pillbox hat was military headgear, often including a chin strap, and it can still be seen on ceremonial occasions in some countries, especially from those which are of the Commonwealth of Nations. For example, the Royal Military College of Canada dress uniform includes a pillbox hat.

 
 

Castor wearing a pileus-like helmet, detail from a scene representing the gathering of the Argonauts

 
 

Odysseus offering wine to the Cyclops. Ancient statue in the Vatican, Rome

 
 

During the late Roman Empire, the pillbox, then known as the pileus or “Pannonian cap” was worn by Roman soldiers. The pileus was especially associated with the manumission of slaves. who wore it upon their liberation. It became emblematic of liberty and freedom from bondage.

 
 

SUCCESOR

 
 

Reese Whiterspoon as Elle Woods on Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, 2003), sequel to the film, Legally Blonde (Robert Luketic, 2001). Costume design by Sophie de Rakoff

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