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Wicked the Musical / Hat of the Week Sketch – Wicked Millinery

July 2, 2010

On Sunday, my husband and I finally saw the musical Wicked.  Ever since reading Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, I’ve wanted to see the musical.  Now, I’m not generally a fan of musicals.  At least not Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals.  But Wicked was funny, touching, and very well done; despite the plot being different from the book in several ways, it retained enough of the feel of the book to satisfy me.  I find it interesting that almost everyone who sees the musical identifies with misunderstood Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West).  I don’t know if that’s because most everyone I’ve talked to about the musical has been American – and we Americans love to cheer for the underdog – or if hers is a character that taps into both the idealism and the cynicism of our post-modern era.

While watching the musical, I couldn’t help basking in the fun array of costumes and hats.  How I wish my binoculars had a camera on them!  I bought a souvenir program just for the costumes but the photos don’t capture even 1/4 of the great designs I saw onstage.  It’s ironic that Elphaba’s hat – the famous black witch hat – was the most simple of those onstage (though, admittedly, this version of the classic witch hat has more style and sensuality due to its slightly cocked brim).  Because we all know what her hat looks like, I chose not to draw it.

(A curious side note:  I believe the pointy hat was first associated with witches during the witch craze in Europe in the 15th-17th centuries.  The truncated conical hat with a brim, made famous by the Puritans,was popular in many European countries during that period.  The Puritan hat seems to be descended from the medieval henin**, which was a pointed conical hat without a brim that had a veil draped over it; today that hat is associated with little girls in princess costumes.  If anyone has more detailed information about the history of the “witch hat,” please post about it!  I’m a big history buff but haven’t been able to locate credible information about the development of pointy Puritan hat = witch.)

** I just found a modern version of the henin in this clip from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London!  Go to :30 seconds into the video:

Anyway, I digress….

I haven’t been able to find out who was the Milliner In Charge for the abundance of Wicked‘s hats, but I wanted to pay tribute to their hard work and creative diversity.  Therefore, after much rambling on my part, I give you the Hat of the Week Sketch!

<<trumpets and fanfare>>


Hat of the Week Sketch

This week’s Hat of the Week Sketch is an assortment of millinery from the musical Wicked.  I alternated between drawing quick and loose, then tightening up and getting picky about certain details, then loosening up again.  So I’m a bit moody today.  So sue me.  🙂  I especially love the hat in the lower right corner that was clearly blocked on some sort of bowl or pot.  It reminds me of a green conquistador helmet!  It must’ve been so much fun making all these hats.

I hope you enjoy the collection of drawings and I hope you get to see Wicked the next time it’s in a theatre near you!

As always, please feel free to comment on this post below.  If you like what you see here, subscribe to this blog for more great millinery stuff!

collection of hats from the musical "Wicked"

6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 6, 2010 11:22 am

    Love your article, I am hoping to see Wicked at Christmas in London. Now after reading your article I cannot wait! 🙂

    • November 9, 2010 10:09 pm

      I’m sure you’ll love both the musical and London at Christmas time! Enjoy!

  2. January 1, 2011 2:08 am

    I’ve seen Wicked three times now…L.A., Lansing and Kalamazoo. I adore everything about it… The costumes, the music, comedy, and just as with you, I loved the hats!!! Wouldn’t it be great fun to be able to tour their costume room? Susan Hilferty was the costume designer for Wicked. “Over 200 costumes, wigs, shoes, and accessories in Wicked all sprang from the imagination of the designer…” (found at . I assume that the hats fall under the category of accessories, but not positive about that.

  3. RUSSELL McNAMARA permalink
    May 11, 2011 3:41 pm

    I wonder if you can help me?

    I have a viciously handsome trilby which could be tamed into and handsome beauty if I could find a milliner to help me….

    The point is I want to turn the very edges of the brim upward, but don’t know the terminology for this and therefore don’t know what to hunt for or ask for.

    It is a kind of 1920’s / 1930’s look for mens hats I’m after, often seen on bowler hats or derby hats. Instead of a straight / flat brim it would curve upward all the way round the brim……

    I’m quite sure this makes no sense, so if one could mail me, I’d be happy to send a picture of what I mean.

    Thanks for any help you may offer,

  4. Addie permalink
    February 4, 2014 8:29 pm

    Hi there, I actually know who the milliner was. He is a friend of mine named Sean Baratt.
    I’ve been backstage and into the wardrobe department of Wicked on several occassions and it is AMAZING!!

    • February 4, 2014 9:50 pm

      Wow Addie….you are so lucky! I am going to search for Sean on the internet…Thanks so much for the information. What an amazing designer/milliner….He must have a great mind, not to mention loads of fun 😉 Tell him that I’m tipping my hat to him and a big fan.

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