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The Woman Who Mistook Her Husband For a Hat

Cappelleria Martello, Cagliari

Once upon a time there was a woman who was very very fond of hats.

She had hats of all kinds: straw hats, fabric hats, hats with feathers, felt and whatever other material is available in nature to make headdresses. She had this passion since she was a little girl and as she grew up, the passion grew with her. She started being known for it far and wide throughout the city and beyond.

She was obviously the biggest customer and a regular at the Antica Cappelleria Martello, the hat shop in Via Sassari in the city of Cagliari.

The old shop, renowned for its variety, quality and assistance, was for the lady as the chocolate factory was for Willy Wonka, a dairy-cheese factory could be for a mouse, The Land of Toys for Pinocchio and a gourmet cuisine for Ratatouille. Just to give you an idea. For her all this was even more: hats were life, love, a source of pride and joy.

Every day she would invent things to do, occasions to attend, openings, meetings, afternoon teas, rallies, readings, inaugurations, horse races, polo, cricket and tennis tournaments, regattas, parties, cocktails… Anything just so she would have the opportunity to wear a new, amazing, charming, unpredictable hat.

Every night before going to bed, she would think and talk to herself: “Uhmm, I have to come up with something! Where could I go tomorrow and wear that new, electrifying, wonderful hat? I would love to put it on at eleven o'clock and tie under the chin with that big bow in checked shantung fabric and showcase all those butterflies that make joie-de-vivre and poetry. What can I do? … here I have it! I'll get up and go grocery shopping. The fridge at home is completely empty!”

Her husband was ecstatic at first, because he was in love. Then he was amused, because he got affectionate. Then he got resigned, because he started being annoyed. Lately absolutely desperate because he was out of love and tried in every way to stop his wife's reckless purchases and extravagant appearances in society.

Although the lady was considered a little crazy, she was still highly appreciated and considered a beautiful woman, with great taste and high line of descent. Hence great admiration and for some even veneration. She became by now a muse for many flaneurs and dandies of the city.
Antonio Marras x Cappelleria Martello, Cagliari
The husband, that the lady mistook for a hat (hence the story’s title), was completely destroyed. He was tired, disoriented yet never resigned. He tried in all ways to make his wife understand that it might be a bit inappropriate to walk around with a hat that has a branch of one meter in length and seventy centimetres in height and whose single twigs are decorated with non-identified fabrics, which in the end resulted to be part of a precious collection of rare and highly selected remnants.
Or walk around with a basket on her head filled with proud and proud branches of wild ferns.
Or even roses, peonies, gardenias, buttercups, without any limit. Or butterflies like in the greenhouse of the emperor of China.

In addition, since the woman was greatly devoted to Sant’Efisio, the patron of Sardinia, on May 1st the day of its feast, she would wear an immense hat full of cut flowers to honour the traditional rite of "sa ramadura”. She was in fact, completely inebriated, satisfied with such beauty and as a result stopped caring about her petulant husband.

When for the umpteenth time he asked her to wear a more discreet hat, the lady turned to her her maid and pointing her husband asked: "Giosetta, tonight with the periwinkle dress I would like to wear that hat there".
Cagliari, July 2021

To stage the story, a flashmob took place in Cagliari, where Antonio Marras presented the Pre-Fall collection completing the looks with the most extraordinary headdresses.
Everything happened throughout Via Sassari, a little road in the city centre, where several participants performed recreating a real street-spectacle.

The actress Lia Careddu masterfully read the text "The Woman Who Mistook Her Husband for a Hat" a tale by Patrizia Sardo Marras. 15 Sardinian boys and girls walked the street as real catwalk models, wearing looks from the latest Pre-Fall collection and precious pieces from the Marras’ archive. Finally 3 couples of tango dancers, dressed in Marras tuxedos embellished with bijoux embroideries and sequin applications danced a ‘tango illegal’.
Yet, another magic happens in the Antica Cappelleria Martello. The hat boutique that with its elegant wooden and crystal shelves retains its historic charm, becomes the scenographic setting for an installation that showcases a collection of artistic hats from past Marras’ fashion shows, created in collaboration with the designer Tonino Serra.

Open to the public until the end of the summer.
Let it be an excuse for a visit to Cagliari.

Antica Cappelleria Martello
Via Sassari 92, Cagliari - Sardinia

Text by: Patrizia Sardo Marras
Photo courtesy: Daniela Zedda
Video by: Claudio Atzeni, Fabio Pietro Candotti
Antonio Marras x Cappelleria Martello, Cagliari