|STIFFENED FELT PORK PIE|
|Note the telescope like seam where the pie crust sides meat the pie crust top.|
|PICTURE THIS PIE AND SAUCER IN BLACK AND YOU HAVE A MINI PORK PIT HAT SHAPE|
1930s and 1940s
Arguably the heyday of the pork pie hat occurred during the Great Depression. In this incarnation, the pork pie regained its snap brim and increased slightly in height. The dished crown of such hats became known among milliners as "telescopic crowns" or "tight telescopes" because when worn the top could be made to pop up slightly. Furthermore, as stated in a newspaper clipping from the mid-1930s: "The true pork pie hat is so made that it cannot be worn successfully except when telescoped." The same clipping refers to the hat also as "the bi crowned". Among famous wearers of the pork pie during this era are Frank Lloyd Wright, whose pork pie hat had a very wide brim and rather tall crown. In African American culture in the 1940s the pork pie— flashy, feathered, color-coordinated— became associated with the zoot suit. By 1944 the hat was even prevalent in New Guinea.
After the end of World War II the pork pie's broad popularity declined somewhat, though as a result of the zoot suit connection it continued its association with African American music culture, particularly jazz, blues and ska. Lester Young, whose career as a jazz saxophonist spans from the mid 1920s to the late 1950s, regularly wore a pork pie hat during his performances, and after his death the composer Charles Mingus wrote an elegy for him titled "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat".
words by Joni Mitchell.music by Charles Mingus
When Charlie speaks of Lester
You know someone great has gone
The sweetest swinging music man
Had a Porkie Pig hat on
A bright star
In a dark age
When the bandstands had a thousand ways
Of refusing a black man admission
In those days they put him in an
Cellars and chittlins'
When Lester took him a wife
Arm and arm went black and white
And some saw red
And drove them from their hotel bed
Love is never easy
It's short of the hope we have for happiness
Bright and sweet
Love is never easy street!
Now we are black and white
Embracing out in the lunatic New York night
It's very unlikely we'll be driven out of town
Or be hung in a tree
Tonight these crowds
Are happy and loud
Children are up dancing in the streets
In the sticky middle of the night
Of taxi horns and fun arcades
Where right or wrong
Every feeling goes on!
For you and me
The sidewalk is a history book
And a circus
Balancing dreadful and wonderful perceptions
They have been handed
Day by day
Generations on down
We came up from the subway
On the music midnight makes
To Charlie's bass and Lester's saxophone
In taxi horns and brakes
Now Charlie's down in Mexico
With the healers
So the sidewalk leads us with music
To two little dancers
Dancing outside a black bar
There's a sign up on the awning
It says "Pork Pie Hat Bar"
And there's black babies dancing...
Young's pork pie had a broader brim than seen in earlier styles but retained the definitive round, flat, creased crown.
Today the wearing of a pork pie hat retains some of its 1930s and 40s associations. Fashion writer Glenn O'Brien says, "the porkpie hat is the mark of the determined hipster, the kind of cat you might see hanging around a jazz club or a pool hall, maybe wearing a button-front leather jacket and pointy shoes.
|pork pie hats are often worn towards the back on the head|
It's a Tom Waits, Johnny Thunders kind of hat. It has a narrower brim than a Fedora and a flat top with a circular indent. Usually the brim is worn up. It is often worn with a goatee, soul patch, and/or toothpick." Bryan Cranston's character Walter White wears a pork pie hat in the AMC series Breaking Bad when he appears as his alter ego "Heisenberg" whose persona is associated with the hat.
The modern pork pie is worn by both men and women.
|Pork Pie Hatters is a great hat store in NYC.|