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Be A Daydream Believer With The Henri Matisse-Inspired Eugenia Kim Spring 2016 Collection

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For her Spring 2016 collection, New York-based milliner Eugenia Kim derived inspiration from Henri Matisse‘s 1953 work “Large Composition with Masks,” in which the French artist used his then-novel découpage techniques to create a  collage in bold shades of red, yellow, blue, orange, and green. Influenced by the masterpiece’s color palette, Kim created a collection of woven toppers that juxtapose primary and secondary colors with neutral tones.  But there are more Matisse references throughout the collection: first, through some of the silhouettes used, which nod to the hats sported by women in Matisse paintings like “Femme au Chapeau,” “Reclining Figure in a Landscape,” Reader Outdoors,” and “Woman on Balcony with Green Umbrella;” second, through themes like daydreaming, which permeate many of Matisse’s oil paintings, in which women are shown looking out of windows longingly, lounging outdoors and staring out into the great expanse, or reading as if escaping into a fantasy-filled universe; and third, through  the usage of bird imagery, which abounds in Matisse’s art.

The result is a charming collection that includes numerous straw boater hats, which feature a flat-topped crown and a narrow brim, and which were all the rage between 1890 and 1920, as both men and women donned these accessories to tennis matches, picnics, seaside trips, and boating-related events. Several iterations of the Eugenia Kim Brigitte boater appear in this collection — for instance, the one pictured above at top, which is made of of natural textured hemp and features a black grosgrain band and the word “daydreamer” embroidered in black suede across the brim using script lettering ($365 at EugeniaKim.com) and the simpler style shown third below, which features a black grosgrain ribbon and a feminine bow ($340 at EugeniaKim.com).

Wide-brimmed hats that seem perfect for beach outings, poolside lounging sessions, and tropical getaways also abound in this collection. The Eugenia Kim Bunny wide-brim sunhat ($415 at EugeniaKim.com) shown above, second from top, is a perfect example of how Kim was influenced by Matisse, as it was made using camel-colored Toyo straw, which itself is typically manufactured using shellacked rice paper, and which features navy and coral stripes that circle the exaggerated brim, as well as a navy blue grosgrain band encircling the rounded crown.  Another iteration of the “Bunny” hat is the ivory Toyo number shown first below, which features a slimmer black grosgrain band and the cheeky phrase “Leave A Message” embroidered along the brim using black velvet threads and sequin accents ($440 at EugeniaKim.com). Those seeking to make a true statement, meanwhile, can opt for the Bunny hat shown last below, which features the outline of a a swan embroidered along one side using black suede ($495 at EugeniaKim.com).

This swan motif isn’t the only flight of fancy within this milliner’s milieu. An embroidered quetzal bird appliqué in bold green and red hues appears on the Eugenia Kim Emmanuelle wide-brim fedora ($390 at EugeniaKim.com), perching on the side of the crown, with a silver box chain encircling the base of the crown.

In addition to natural hemp and camel-toned Toyo straw, the SS16 collection features plenty of ivory hemp styles. One of the cleaner, more minimalist styles in an ivory hue would be the Eugenia Kim Cassidy wide-brim fedora ($390 at EugeniaKim.com), shown fourth above, which features a white bolo cord seemingly stretched around the crown with the assistance of two shiny gold buttons.

Fedoras, as usual, make an appearance in this line-up, but true to the avian theme, their bands tend to include layers of feathers. The Eugenia Kim Lillian fedora  ($365 at EugeniaKim.com), for instance, features a golden, camel-colored straw foundation and a light peachy pink feathered band.

Other styles include the Eugenia Kim Marcel boater ($315 at EugeniaKim.com), shown second below, which has a more compact silhouette than the other boaters in the collection and features a retro-flavored white grosgrain band with a hand-painted center stripe and a flattened bow accent. For a sporty look, there’s the Eugenia Kim Joey baseball cap ($475 at EugeniaKim.com), shown third below, a color-blocked number featuring a camel-colored Toyo straw crown and a navy blue straw brim, with twisted gold mesh rope tracing the dividing point between the crown and brim and two gold buttons marking the sides of the brim.

Imagine yourself sporting one of these hats and reenacting one of the leisurely scenes in Matisse’s paintings.  It’s the stuff of daydreams!

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