What do Don Corleone, Indiana Jones and Sean Connery’s James Bond all have in common? Aside from being cultural heroes and legends of cinema, they all wore hats exceptionally well. Indeed, it’s no coincidence that many of the biggest silver screen icons relied on hats as integral parts of their wardrobes. A well chosen fedora, trilby or flat cap can transform a look, taking it from pedestrian to something confident and elegant. It can become a signature, as instantly recognisable and synonymous with a character as a mechanical wrist watch or a convertible sports car.
Take the French neo noir classic Le Samourai for instance. The film opens with a suited Alain Delon laying on his bed, filling his apartment with cigarette smoke. His pet bird protests, tweeting for freedom until he finally gets up. He acknowledges his caged friend before reaching for his stone trench coat and grey fedora. He adjusts his hat just so in the mirror, slowly and deliberately, running his finger and thumb over the brim for the thousandth time. You get the impression it’s always the last thing he does before leaving his apartment. His character Jef Costello’s trench coat is often the focal point of the character’s style, but it’s really his fedora that stands out, giving him a menacing, mysterious energy that would have otherwise been missing.
It’s not just ‘60s French thrillers where hats play a starring role. Some of Hollywood’s biggest hits have seen protagonists cover their heads in various shapes of felt, wool or straw. The fedora has to be one of the most popular choices. Featuring a soft, mid width brim and an indented crown, it’s a classic piece of headwear and one that instantly evokes a sense of effortless cool. It was the hat of choice for Humphrey Bogart, who favoured them in his personal life as well as on screen. For his most famous role in Casablanca, Bogart’s Rick Blaine famously wore his own fedora and trench coat, a combination that no doubt inspired the producers of Le Samourai.
And who could forget Bond? Sean Connery’s 007 made a habit of entering Moneypenny’s office by throwing his hat onto her coat-stand, announcing his arrival with panache. The type of hat? A trilby, with its distinctive short brim, and pinched crown. Less of a statement than wider hat styles, the minimal trilby suited Bond’s pared back 1960s tailoring, completing his refined, distinctly British style. For many of his missions, whether he was in Russia or the Swiss Alps, the trilby marked Bond as a man of distinction, and it became as much a part of his look as his Aston Martin DB5 or Walther PPK. It was the finishing touch, a timeless wardrobe signature that looks just as cool today as it did then.
This is something Christys’ knows all too well. We’ve been crafting hats in England for 250 years, making it one of the longest running, most established hat makers in the world. As such it has outfitted everyone from actors to rockstars and royalty. It made the Homburg for Marlon Brando as Don Corleone in The Godfather, as well as the original Indiana Jones hat, known as the Poet Adventurer. It produces everything - from the fedora to the trilby - in England at its own Oxfordshire factory. And it’s done so since 1773, giving it an expertise and breadth of knowledge that’s unrivalled. It employs only the finest hatters who use time-honoured traditional techniques that are largely unchanged from the brand’s early days. Indeed, if you’re in the market for beautifully made headwear, few do it better. That goes for whether you want to channel Bogart and Delon with a sleek fedora, or you just want to upgrade your flat cap game.