A Design Icon
Giuseppe Borsalino is credited with the invention of the hat shape. The story of how that happened is worth telling.
The story of a mythical shape
In the mid-19th century, the bowler hat was the hat men wore in formal settings.During the Risorgimento uprising of 1869, Cristiano Lobbia, a member of Parliament at the time, was attacked in Florence, then the Italian capital and seat of the national Parliament. He received a blow to his head, and this dented his bowler hat. This accidental crease (“the gutter”) became a distinctive look and the style, which was renamed Lobbia in Italy (also known as the homburg) in honour of the member of Parliament, became a firm fashion item.
Iconic over the ages
However, early 20th century manners dictated that hats should be raised to a lady, and the homburg didn’t allow for a quick and easy movement. And so Giuseppe Borsalino decided to modify its shape: he pinched the front sides with his fingers, creating two dents that form a hold on the hat. The outcome is the perfect combination of curves and lines, a revolutionary shape that became a symbol of Italian design around the world.
The Borsalino-design connection was celebrated in the 2009 Serie fuori serie (Series outside series) show that was organised by Milan’s Triennale Design Museum, and was revived in March 2017 at the National Museum in Beijing. Homage was paid to the Alessandria firm by Philippe Starck, with the Chapeau lamp for Flos, and by Moritz Waldemeyer with the hat-sculpture The Hatband.
Borsalino, a symbol
Elegant, unique and with unmistakeable allure, the Borsalino hat is a timeless style icon, an ageless classic which has become a must-have in street fashion for both men and women.
There have been many Borsalino collaborations leading to capsule collections: from the Californian designer Nick Fouquet to Tom Ford, from Moschino to Yohji Yamamoto, and also Marni, Gianfranco Ferré and Rochas.
Borsalino hats regularly feature in international fashion magazines and are the preferred accessory of celebrities, influencers and major figures in culture, art and design from around the world
Handmade in Italy:
Borsalino’s cultural value
Over the years Borsalino has stayed true to a production process that has been handed down from generation to generation and is its corporate cultural value.
Borsalino has been an ambassador for Italian savoir faire around the world since 1857: the hats are still made in Alessandria and reflect both an industrial approach and the spirit of craftsmanship.
To make a felt hat, over 50 operations must be performed by hand, and the work takes seven weeks; as much as six months are needed for some hand-woven straw hat.