Vivien Sheriff

Vivien Sheriff
16/10/2013 editor

This year, especially for Goodwood Revival, Vivien Sheriff – multi award-winning English heritage millinery – created three vintage inspired hats & headpieces which were exhibited over the three day event in Goodwood’s Motor Circuit shop.

As Revival’s Guest Milliner, the Vivien Sheriff design team were delighted by the prospect of stepping back in time & celebrating the Golden Era with vintage aficionados over the weekend.

Creative entrepreneur, Vivien Sheriff traded in the finest vintage textiles from around the world, prior to founding her eponymous millinery business. Based in the heart of rural Wiltshire, Vivien Sheriff’s English heritage millinery is now a multi award-winning, luxury brand at the forefront of British headwear design. The creative-strong team work by hand at the highest level to produce exceptional hats and headpieces inspired by the natural beauty and abundant wildlife around the studio’s countryside setting in Downton.

vintageVivien Sheriff explained how the pieces came together, ”When creating the pieces, as you would expect we took our design cues from the 1940s, 50s & 60s. The pieces have been made by hand using traditional millinery techniques but the materials are new and currently available; so, although the pieces have a nostalgic feel to them, they do not replicate authentic period pieces. This is ‘Vintage Revisited’ – headwear which we’ve made to be worn with ease and also to be cherished“.


Dressing up is always a lot of fun and, with the added challenge of a vintage theme, it is sometimes easier to start with a single item and build up your outfit from there. The inspiration for an entire outfit might come from an accessory – a chain mail bag, a pair of kid leather embroidered gloves,  a pastel  flowerpot hat…etc.  Vintage accessories in particular can pull an outfit together,  so getting them right will really convey the look of the era – not forgetting that all important retro hair-styling and complementary make-up.

vintageIn the 1940s, hats were a very popular & regularly worn accessory. Split brims, the ‘Halo hat’ & fluted up brims were a popular style as were the larger pill box hats with veiling, not forgetting the Shirley Temple oversized bow at the nape of the neck. Patriotism saw a rise in popularity of the military influenced beret & mini berets. Female factory workers and land girls in work wear brought about a fashion for headscarves and turbans. To get the 1940s look, the colour of your hat could match your collar, pockets or covered buttons  – all of which were often in a contrasting colour or fabric to the rest of your crisp, tailored dress. Veiling, feathers, ribbons & bows are all typical hat trims for the era.

vintageThe 1950s saw the market for headwear dwindle and hats were generally quite small & worn close to the head. Common 1950s styles, mostly worn for formal occasions and on Sundays, included skull caps, the Juliet cap (worn at the back of the head, often with frill detail) chic tilt hats (a small ‘toy’ hat perched on the side of the fore head) & saucer style clip-on toppers. Sun hats typically had broad brims & shallow crowns – think Grace Kelly in Alfred Hitchcocks ‘To Catch A Thief’. To achieve an effortlessly elegant look, try teaming your hat with a pair of gloves in a matching colour.

In the early 1960s, the Jackie Kennedy style flowerpot & bucket hats continued to be worn after their first outings in the late 50s. For the gents, a finely woven wide brim Panama in white similar to those from the Monte Cristi Hat Works of Sante Fe, New Mexico would certainly fit the bill. As the swinging 60s took hold, hats became less formal and structured. An easy to wear option might be a slouchy Bakerboy cap or a floppy-brim sunhat which was a popular choice at the time. The revival of the Cloche worn with the Mary Quant style bob was immortalised by Twiggy – model, trendsetter and a female icon of the era.