Skip to comments.Patrick Macnee: The last great bowler hat-wearer
Posted on 06/27/2015 6:43:12 PM PDT by JoeProBono
Patrick Macnee, who has died age 93, was indelibly associated with the bowler hat he wore in The Avengers. Why is this headgear so evocative, asks Mario Cacciottolo.
As gentleman secret agent John Steed in The Avengers and the New Avengers, Patrick Macnee was synonymous with his character's trademark Savile Row suits, umbrella and, of course, his bowler hat.
The hat wasn't just for show. It was, along with his sword-concealing umbrella, Steed's main weapon of choice and was regularly lobbed at villains. Lined with chainmail, at various times it also served as a flashlight, a place to conceal a gun and even as a radio transmitter.
It became - along with the catsuits of Steed's female assistants - the key visual motif of the show. In France, The Avengers was known as Chapeau melon et bottes de cuir - Bowler hat and leather boots.
Macnee created Steed's distinctive look himself, apparently inspired by his father's flamboyant fashion. He may have chosen the bowler hat as a symbol of quintessential Britishness, but its origins are more workmanlike.
It was made by the world's oldest milliner, Lock & Co, in 1850 as a form of protective headwear. Its original name was actually a Coke - named after the soldier and politician William Coke, who ordered the hat to protect the heads of gamekeepers who worked on his Norfolk farm.
According to Lock & Co, the prototype was made by Thomas and William Bowler, hat makers in Southwark, and brought to St James's Street to be tested by Coke himself.
He did so by jumping on it and, because it withstood his weight, he bought it. The Coke became commonly known as a Bowler, after its makers. In America it became known as a Derby, after the horse race....
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.com ...
While many of my friends in the 60s were buying U.N.C.L.E. gear, I wanted a Steed Bowler!
It sucks when you die and all they talk about is your hat.
I was in love with Diana Rigg. Loved her in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”
“The Avengers” was a tongue-in-cheek knockoff of the spy mania of the time. Mission Impossible, I Spy, Man from U.N.C.L.E., Lancelot Link Secret Chimp, etc.
Then there was “The Prisoner”. Now that got you to thinking.
**Then there was The Prisoner. Now that got you to thinking.**
Yes. Yes it did.
Today, that sort of thing is reduced to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson talkin' all ghetto, throwing parties with bimbos around a swimming pool, and engaging in some shady business deal which will necessitate massive car explosions and pointless gunplay.
The upper class isn't what it used to be.
I also enjoyed the Prisoner although it has little to do with this thread. But let's highjack away......
I have one!
A Clockwork Orange used the bowler for different effect.
Cheers to Patrick. Liked his younger work better, especially the original Avengers.
Diana Rigg looks bowled over....
It takes alot to make you forget Honor Blackman, but she did. It doesn't get much hotter thn Diana Rigg circa 1965.
I wanted a steel bowler.
The look in her eyes! I could be wrong but it doesn’t look like there’s a whole lot up top in that pic.
Not that it matters. IMO whatever God gives a woman upstairs is sexier than any artificial stuff.
Number 6: “I know every nut and bolt and cog, I built it with my own hands!”
*ping of interest*
You can still see Diana Rigg in, ‘The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries.’ She’s still very chic!
Netflix or your local Library...
R.I.P. Patrick Macnee.
“While many of my friends in the 60s were buying U.N.C.L.E. gear, I wanted a Steed Bowler!’
You wanted a hat? I wanted Diana Rigg!
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