The Bowler, Derby and Bombín

After a client requested ‘bowler hat inspired’ cocktail napkins, we dove into the history of the bowler hat and were pleasantly surprised to find it’s not only for Charlie Chaplin and Sherlock Holmes…

The bowler hat was designed in 1849 by the London hat-makers Thomas and Williams Bowler for an English customer who wanted a hat to protect gamekeepers from low-hanging branches while on horseback. It replaced the previously worn top hats, which were too tall for the sport. First, popular in both the United Kingdom and America in the remaining 19th century, and later became a staple for business men in the middle and upper classes – known as “City Gents”.

In America, the hat was known as the ‘derby’ and replaced the cowboy hat for many living in the west at that time. In South America, it was known as the bombín where it was brought over to Bolivia by the British railway works. The Quechua and Aymara women in Bolivia took hold of the trend, and have been wearing them since the 1920s…by far modelling the most inspiring bowler hat fashion!

 

Traditional costumes in Bolivia Traditional costumes in Bolivia
The Son of Man, by René Magritte The Son of Man, by René Magritte
Charlie Chaplin Charlie Chaplin
The Bowery Bear at the Bowery Hotel, NYC The Bowery Bear at the Bowery Hotel, NYC
Laurel and Hardy Laurel and Hardy
John Steed John Steed
ILINKA Collection Bowler linen napkins ILINKA Collection Bowler linen napkins
John Bonham, drummer of Led Zeppelin John Bonham, drummer of Led Zeppelin
Charlie Chaplin Charlie Chaplin
Liza Minnelli in Cabaret Liza Minnelli in Cabaret
Boy George Boy George
Bolivian woman in a bombín decorated with flowers Bolivian woman in a bombín decorated with flowers
Bolivian woman Bolivian woman
Traditional costumes in Bolivia Traditional costumes in Bolivia