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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Fashionable Bunnies

Dorian Leigh in a hat by Paulette. Harper’s Bazaar, October, 1949

 
 

Halston black velvet dress with mink trim, 1966. Collection Museum of The City of New York

 
 

Alber Elbaz

 
 

Stella Tenant and Charles Guislain, photographed by Tim Walker, Tim Walker

 
 

Candice Bergen at Truman Capote’s Black-and-White Ball. The Plaza Hotel, New York. November 28, 1966

 
 

Liza Minnelli, Truman Capote and Studio 54 owner, Steve Rubell

 
 

Andy Warhol and Eddie Sedgwick

 
 

Elsa Peretti in a Halston-designed Bunny costume, photographed by Helmut Newton in New York City, 1975

 
 

Lauren Hutton

 
 

Playboy-inspired logo bathing suit

 
 

 Yasmin Le Bon for Ralph Lauren Fall 1985 “Rabbit Hole” ad campaign

 
 

Betsey Johnson

 
 

Reese Whiterspoon in a still from Legally Blonde (Robert Luketic, 2001)

 
 

Hilary Swank. Photo: Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, 2007

 
 

Marc Jacobs. Photo: Craig McDean for the CFDA

 
 

Madonna. Louis Vuitton, 2009 Fall-Winter ad campaign photographed by Steven Meisel.

Lady Gaga in the cover of Neo2 Magazine. September 2009 issue. Photo: Olivier Rauh

 
 

Dita Von Teese

 
 

Beth Ditto

 
 

Emma Watson for Elle UK. November 2011. Photo: Rankin

 
 

Ewan McGregor. Photo: Alexi Lubomirski

 
 

Helena Bonham Carter. The Sunday Times, April 2012

 
 

Carolina Herrera’s Bunny Print dress 2013 Resort Collection