Last Sunday, Shia LaBeouf appeared on the red carpet of the Berlin Film Festival to promote his film “Nymphomaniac: Part One,” making headlines by sporting a paper mask emblazoned with the words “I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE” in black paint. To show solidarity with what we believe to be a profound performance art piece, one that demonstrates the ironic decline in fame an actor/actress experiences after doing their first Lars-Von-Trier-directed hardcore sex scene, we compiled a list of history’s most noteworthy game-changing headwear.
October 29, 1492: Christopher Columbus takes off his tri-corner hat before contracting syphilis from a native woman of the island of Hispaniola. The hat would later be hailed as a totem by the native peoples before its original owner raped and pillaged the New World.
July 7, 1600: Playwright William Shakespeare puts a foppish peacock feather in his hat for an official portrait and decides to keep it there for the rest of his life. When superfan Queen Elizabeth I sees him, she comments to the Royal Guard: “Doth he realize?”
April 15, 1865: Due to a strictly enforced measure that forbade any attendee of the Ford’s theatre from wearing a stovepipe hat taller than his own that night, President Abraham Lincoln inadvertently made himself an easy target for John Wilkes Booth.
April 3, 1948: Frank Sinatra dons a fedora on the way to a recording session in Manhattan, marking an apex of coolness that would be soured over the next few decades by Seattle hipsters and redditing neckbeards.
March 17, 1952: Carmen Miranda prevents scurvy and stops a high speed chase while walking down Rodeo Drive. Later, nutritionists would pronounce this “the most important day in the history of fruit-based fashion.”
September 8, 1963: Cool kid Jimmy Martin walks into Mrs. Washington’s third grade class wearing his baseball cap backwards. The next day, the other twelve boys in the class would do the same, forcing Mrs. W. to pass a “No Backwards Hats” rule and solidifying Martin as both a rebel and a trendsetter.
May 25, 1992: Billy Ray Cyrus puts on a Stetson cowboy hat to perform one of the worst songs of all time in a sold-out Philadelphia concert. John Wayne turns over in his grave.
September 12, 2010: Lady Gaga attracts a group of stray dogs as she walks the red carpet at the 2010 MTV Video Music Award wearing a raw flank steak on her head. Later, in a highly publicized act of charity, Ms. Gaga would give the headwear to Tito, a taco truck operator near the Nokia Theater, who would then turn it into a killer carne asada soft taco.
January 26, 2014: Pharrell Williams wears the ever-controversial Sorting Hat to the 56th Annual Grammy Awards. During the ceremony, Pharrell’s hat would assign Sara Bareilles to Hufflepuff, Vampire Weekend front man Ezra Koenig to Ravenclaw, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis to Gryffindor, and Lorde to Slytherin.