Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Fedora

When it comes to Indiana Jones, there's nothing more iconic about the character than the Fedora. A classic hat that came into vogue in the 1930s and was fashionable right through into the 1950s, it was only fitting that Indy should wear one of the biggest fashionable items of the era.

The fedora for Raiders was made by Herbert Johnson. Herbert Johnson is a high end hat maker on the world famous Saville Row in London and is the official hat-maker for the Royal Family. Herbert Johnson is still making fedoras, as well as bowlers, hunting caps and military headgear to this day and has many famous and Royal Clientele.

As for the Raiders Fedora, it was made from Brazilian Rabbit felt and was made using the exact same methods as hat makers would have used in the 1930s to make fedoras, so it has the very light and floppy appearance that a genuine 30s fedora would. The hat was given the distinctive high crown and oddly sloping cut which gives the fedora such a unique appearance that was instantly recognisable, even in silhouette.

To get the battered and worn look that the fedora has in the movie, Harrison reportedly sat on it, stood on it and even jumped on it. Deborah Nadoolman, costume designer for Raiders is said to have screwed it up, thrown it in the dirt and dripped bleach onto it, to give it the distinctive well worn look to it. Though Ford himself added the trademark swoop to the brim that's become a trademark for all fedoras since.


Herbert Johnson has always stated that the colour used for the fedora was Sable and used the high, stove-pipe shaped crown and block, as well as the deep central bash which he claims is a very 1930s look for a fedora. 

Herbert Johnson returned again for Temple of Doom, though the hat is very different to the ones that were used in the filming of Raiders. Whereas they used a very light felt for the Raiders fedora, they used a slightly darker and heavier felt for the Temple Fedora. Whereas the Raiders fedora has a high and tight pinch, the Temple Fedora has a low one, giving it a very different look for the movie. 


The hat sits more relaxed on the head and isn't as turned as the Raiders. The ribbon sits lower back and more behind the ear as well.

Now, the Last Crusade hat is more reminiscent of the Raiders fedora, but using the heavier Temple felt. 


Ford once again added his trademark swoop to the brim of the hat. Herbert Johnson currently makes this hat under the name of "the poet" 

For anyone wishing to purchase "The Poet", they currently retail for £215.

Now, onto Crystal Skull. Herbert Johnson wasn't used for the movie, instead, they opted for a newer company called AdventureBilt. They made the hats for the movie and they used a very similar design to the Raiders fedora, as it is the most iconic of all hats. 

AdventureBilt still make the hats, though they are the most expensive on the market. The handmade AdventureBilt DX, which is from the movie is handmade with beaver felt and requires 6-8 weeks to make retails on their online store for $600. 

Gearheads all over the world love debating and discussing the hats. Many of them have their favourites, but thankfully, there are fedoras out there for all tastes. They range from the budget Dorfman Pacific hats, which start at $35 and go up to $150 depending on quality.  I have a wool felt Dorfman and I love it. Todd's Costumes online does their own line with a company called Coyles, which makes a budget hat in the Raiders style called the Downtowner. Penman Hats are more in the higher end hats, with them starting at $350.

The only thing I consider to be as iconic as the hat is the Jacket, but we'll get into that another time. 

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