The humble beanie has been making somewhat of a comeback, most recently seen on Victoria Beckham’s A/W12 catwalk in New York yesterday. Whereas her son Romeo’s baseball kit inspired the collection’s bright contrast polo collared dresses, it was her husband’s headwear that Beckham referenced when dressing her models in black loose-fitting beanies: “The beanie hats were inspired by the ones David is always wearing,” Beckham commented after Sunday’s show.
The origins of the knitted cap, also known as a tuque, can be traced back to the 12th and 13th centuries when women would wear small, round, close-fitting hats on top of their head-veils, which usually came in embroidered velvet, satin, or taffeta. However the modern beanie as we know it today – knitted, tapered and loose on top – has its roots firmly placed in music culture and the 90s grunge movement; worn by everyone from musician Kurt Cobain to actor Johnny Depp, fashion designer and artist Stephen Sprouse and band East 17. A key hip hop and rapper accessory; the beanie has also been worn by Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Lil' Kim, Kanye West and Eminem, among others.
"The modern beanie as we know it today – knitted, tapered and loose on top – has its roots firmly placed in music culture and the 90s grunge movement"
Whilst providing warmth in winter, today beanies are used for both function and style. The headwear of choice for celebrities seeking to hide from unwanted paparazzi attention and models off-duty, its dominance on the catwalk has meant that the beanie has also become a key style accessory. Just as the boyfriend sweater was layered over an evening dress, skirt or trouser for A/W11 to balance out a look; for this season the beanie creates the perfect level of nonchalance and cool when worn with couture-inspired or tailored pieces (see the veiled beanie at Jil Sander S/S12 womenswear and Raf Simons A/W12 menswear).
On the other side of the catwalk the beanie has also been trending: already seen atop numerous fashionistas' heads and in street style snapshots, it has been most notably worn by Vogue's Hamish Bowles as spotted at The Life And Death Of Marina Abramović event in New York last night.
Tip: wear yours slightly oversized and perched on top of your head. Always stick to block colours: for a classic and safe option go with dark colours of black, grey or navy; to make a feature of it go for light pastels or rich jewel hues.
Text by Lucia Davies