A fruit hat is a festive and colorful hat type popularized by Carmen Miranda and associated with warm locales. This type of hat has been worn by fashionistas, in films, by comic strip characters, and for Halloween.
A fashion report in Los Angeles Times from 1895 called the use of mendiant the "newest trimming" for hats, and noted that hats were "tipped far over the eyes". The Chicago Tribune reported on fruit ribbons, along with feathers, flowers, and frills, as trim for Easter hats. A report on artificial fruit used on hats was in a 1918 edition of the New York Times. Fruit and vegetable trim on "gay hats" featured in the first millinery show of the season at New York's Saks Fifth Avenue in 1941, and overshadowed flowers. Mendiant is a traditional French confection usually prepared during the Christmas season, and composed of a chocolate disk studded with nuts and dried fruits representing the four mendicant or monastic orders of the Dominicans, Augustinians, Franciscans and Carmelites, where the color of the nuts and dried fruits is used refer to the color of monastic robes. Tradition dictates that raisins are used for the Dominicans, hazelnut for the Augustins, dried fig for Franciscans and almond for Carmelite. Lil Picard, a millinery designer for the custom-made department of Bloomingdale's, sought inspiration from nature for her hats and while on vacation "listening to the birds, gazing through the lacy outlines of foliage and watching the ripening fruits, she dreamed of trimmings."
Brazilian "bombshell" Carmen Miranda "made a habit of wearing exotic headdresses/hats often adorned with fruit" and appeared as a singer named Dorita in the 1943 movie The Gang's All Here. The movie included a musical number called "The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat" with barefoot chorus girls dressed in yellow turbans, black crop tops, and ruffled yellow miniskirts who manipulated giant papier-mâché bananas and bounced inflatable strawberries off their toes at the whims of legendary choreographer Busby Berkeley".
Use in marketing
Inspired by Carmen Miranda's costumes, the Chiquita Banana logo featured a cartoon image of an anthropomorphic banana with a female-looking face and a selection of fruit adorning her hat. The logo was created for United Fruit Company in 1944 by Dik Browne, who is perhaps best known for his Hägar the Horrible comic strip. In advertising of the 1940s, the logo character's voice was supplied by vocalist Patti Clayton followed by Elsa Miranda, June Valli and Monica Lewis. The concept was created by a BBDO advertising team headed by Robert Foreman with the song lyrics written by Garth Montgomery and music composed by Len MacKenzie. The original Chiquita Banana advertisement was produced by Disney Studios and ran in movie theaters.
The company later became Chiquita Brands International and would use a banana wearing a fruit hat headdress on its logo for decades. In 1987 the banana character was replaced with a woman by artist Oscar Grillo, creator of the Pink Panther, to reflect "the image the public had of Miss Chiquita as a real person."
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- Nina Fitch SEPTEMBER STYLES; WRAPS AND GOWNS FOR THE FIRST COOL DAYS. Smart Clothes for Those Who Linger Late at the Sea Shore or Mountains--Hats Are Now Tipped Far Over the Eyes and the Newest Trimming is Called "Mendiant." AUTUMN SKIRTS AND SLEEVES. RICH FALL TINTS. NEW POISE OF THE HAT. THE "MENDIANT." A CAPE AND GOWN. OF LIGHT WARM WOOL. TO WEAR ON THE BEACH. POPULAR FABRICS. page 18 August 4, 1895, Los Angeles Times
- Feathers, Flowers and Fruit Ribbons, Frills and Quills Trim Hats Every Way for Easter Says Louise James Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963) - Chicago, Ill. Start Page: C8 March 14, 1915
- Artificial Fruit Used on Hats Dec 5, 1918, New York Times
- MILADY'S NEW HAT FULL OF VITAMINS; Fruit and Vegetable Trims Overshadow Flowers That Bloom in Spring, tra la March 18, 1941 page 18 New York Times
- Virginia Pope LEAVES AND FRUIT BEDECK FALL HATS; Lil Picard Finds Inspiration in Nature for Trimmings for Her Collection September 2, 1943 Page 22 New York Times
- "TV Acres". TV Acres. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
- Chiquita website
- "Chiquita Banana commercial". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2010-06-29.