Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

  • Hat
    Balenciaga, Cristóbal, born 1895 - died 1972
  • Enlarge image


  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1950 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Balenciaga, Cristóbal, born 1895 - died 1972 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Straw, silk, elastic

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss Catherine Hunt

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Beret shaped decorative straw hat. Made from a very glossy golden straw, the decoration consists of leaves and berries. Mounted on to a wired base with a crown of netted straw. The head band of white corded silk ribbon trimmed with a dull yellow ribbon. There is a brown bead elastic strap and at the centre back is a rectangular woven label in black and white silk:
10, Avenue George V

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


ca. 1950 (made)


Balenciaga, Cristóbal, born 1895 - died 1972 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Straw, silk, elastic

Marks and inscriptions

10, Avenue George V
On maker's label at inner, centre back.

Object history note

Worn by Martita Hunt, the British actress. Martita Hunt (1900-1969) was a British theatre and film actress, best known for her 1946 performance as Miss Havisham in David Lean's film version of 'Great Expectations'.

Descriptive line

Beret shaped hat, Balenciaga, Paris, ca. 1950.

Labels and date

‘Balenciaga’s hats are an integral part of his fashion,’ reported the French fashion review Jardin des modes in 1961. They ensure ‘that volumes are balanced and the silhouette is perfectly finished off.’ Fairly conventional ensembles were often paired with a striking hat which lifted the whole look and made it appear more avant-garde. The client could buy the whole ensemble or leave the hat if it was too daring. The designs for hats were as fiercely protected as those for dresses. The police commissioner stamped the official sketches of the hats to protect them from being copied.

Hat with straw leaves
Silk and straw
Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, about 1950
Given by Miss Catherine Hunt
V&A: T.115-1970 [12/05/2017]


Straw; Silk; Beads


Netting; Cording; Beading


Fashion; Hats & headwear


Textiles and Fashion Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.