“I was practically born with a hat on my head. I opened my first hat store 30 years ago, and it’s going to keep me busy for the rest of my life. It’s a passion that has taken over my life. Without a hat, I feel a little bit naked. It protects me from the elements and from others, but paradoxically it can also be an object of great openness. Through hats, we delve into sociology!
There was a time when the hat was the object of everyone and it symbolized the different groups of society. It represented, if only by the height of the top hat, the status of the person, or his trade. But since social groups have broken down, the hat has fallen into disuse. Today, fewer people wear hats, but I often find a common denominator among hat wearers: a form of originality, a form of character. It is no longer a sign of status but of demarcation, of self-assertion.
For example, the trilby was originally a hat we used to sell to immigrants of first generation, former blue collars who were looking for this typically Italian shape. It then fell into a oblivion for 10-15 years because these people died. Then music and cinema came along, and in 2010 it was the hat that we sold the most to young people! The wheel at the entrance of our store is a great representation of the circular nature of fashion.
The hat is also a great object of resistance, against the loss of soul in things, the loss of humanity that everyone feels. When we opened this store 25 years ago, it was exactly as you find it today. And people enjoy experiencing what is familiar to them. We also try to keep a certain humanity in our service. From the 20 year old to the extremely rich, from the blue collar to the president of a state, whether the person enters barefoot or as a celebrity, everyone will always be served in the same way. That is, with kindness and in the spirit of a shared moment. That’s what I’m here for!”
* Meet Michel Curchod in his store Coup de Chapeau, Rue de la cité 6ter, 1204 Geneva *
(translated from French)