Grosgrain is the most commonly used ribbon for hats because the ribbed structure of its weave allows the ribbon to conform to the curvature of crowns and brims. Good quality grosgrain for mens hats, also known as hatband, is most typically a blend of cotton and rayon, has an interwoven edge for a crisp line, and displays a soft sheen. Regrettably, the mills that produced the finest examples of this ribbon, particularly those of central France, are long gone.

Leon Drexler was very fortunate to acquire a rare inventory of mint condition, old-stock French hatband produced decades ago by Vialaton & Martin in the old hat-making village of Chazelles-sur-Lyon. The collection represents over 60 colours in six different sizes (although not every size in every colour). This is exceptionally fine ribbon with colours that are rich and complex yet elegantly restrained. There is quite simply no modern equivalent to this ribbon, produced during the golden era of men’s hats

The width of this ribbon is expressed in “ligne,” an archaic unit of measurement used by the old ribbon industry. One ligne equals 2.26 millimetres, or about 11 ligne per inch.