Hat Exhibition Chapeau!


A hidden treasure from the Hague Passage comes back to life: 2000 hats on a mobile.

In 2020, a batch of no fewer than 3000 hats was discovered in the vacant space above the former Ladies Paradise hat shop in De Passage. They have been there since the day the famous hat shop closed, about 22 years ago. The Passage Belangen shopkeepers’ association asked the Hague designer Pink Steenvoorden of Einstein Design to do ‘something’ with the hats. With the installation Chapeau! Steenvoorden gives the forgotten hats their greatness back.

In 1885, when the Hague Passage was opened, hats were an unavoidable part of the streetscape. When Ladies Paradise settled in De Passage, hats had already become a thing for chic occasions; many Members of Parliament bought a hat for Prinsjesdag and Queen Juliana and Queen Beatrix were among the clientele. The millinery shop had hats in all shapes and sizes, including hats for men. Some of them were made in their own studio, as Ladies Paradise had 3 floors back in its golden days. In 2022 you can still see the name of the millinery shop written in gold letters on the outside of De Passage, between the windows of restaurant De Luca.

Designer Pink Steenvoorden

It was one of the nicest calls that designer Pink Steenvoorden received from Einstein Design: “can you come up with something for 3000 forgotten hats?” “I knew immediately that I had to come up with something special to be able to compete with the impressive architecture of De Passage. That’s why I chose something that moves: a number of life-sized mobiles on which the hats dance playfully in the monumental space. A kind of moving history because many of the hats date back to the 50s and 60s”. The hats can be admired in De Passage until mid-October.

Pink Steenvoorden is a lighting, set, and 3d designer. He designed the interior of the stroopwafel shop ‘Van Schaik’ in the Venestraat in The Hague for example. He exhibited at the Dutch Design Week with his 12-person lounge swing ZlowMotion. Steenvoorden is the director of Einstein Design: www.einsteindesign.nl

The hats can be viewed until mid-October.

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