True Story Behind the Legend of the Slash Top Hat (with Photos)

Slash Top Hats

The Slash top hat is about as iconic as the band Guns ‘n Roses. Even though GNR is past its prime, its song catalog has become a timeless classic collection.

Seymour Cassel during "Evita" Los Angeles Premiere at Shrine Auditorium
The late actor Seymour Cassel gave Saul Hudson the name “Slash.” (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)

A big reason for GNR’s success is the insane talent of lead guitarist Saul Hudson, also know as Slash.

In fact, it was the late actor Seymour Cassel, who starred in John Cassavetes films and became a popular character actor in dozens of movies, who named Saul Slash.

Not only does Slash slap, but he rocks one of the most iconic headpieces in entertainment. So let’s dive into the Slash top hat.

Slash Top Hat

Slash on stage with a guitar and a top hat
Slash and his top hat perform at the River is Rising Tour, 2022 (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage/Getty Images)

The top hat dates back to a 1985 performance at the legendary Whiskey A-Go-Go in West Hollywood. In a 2018 interview, the musician recalled searching for a piece to complete his wardrobe before the gig. He found a mens top hat in a store called Retail Slut, and decided it would work, but it was missing something. So, he went next door to a vintage shop called Leather and Treasures. There, he found a belt with metal conchos and used it as a leather hat band. His defining silhouette was born.

Slash and his guitar with a stovepipe leather top hat on his head
Slash rocks the 52nd Grammy Awards in a stovepipe leather top hat with a his signature concho leather hat band. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The hat served as more than just set dressing, though. According to Slash, he has a bad case of stage fright. While he appreciates performing, he has “never been good at looking into the eyes of the audience who are watching [him].” So, the hat, the sunglasses, and the massive bed of curls on his head are both practical and fashionable. 

Slash in a black leather top hat and Ray Ban Aviators
LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 24: Slash in a black leather top hat and Ray Ban Aviators at the Shockwaves NME Awards 2010. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Since 1985, the top hat has become part of his signature brand, and it’s hard to imagine Slash playing without it. However, Mr. Hudson is a hat guy who’s worn plenty of headpieces on and off stage.

Slash jams in his signature top hat with western concho leather hat band
Slash jams in his signature top hat with western concho leather hat band on Day 2 of Aftershock Festival 2018 at Discovery Park. (Photo by Steve Jennings/WireImage)

Other Slash Hats in the Arsenal

For the most part, the Slash top hat works as part of his performance ensemble. When he’s out or posing for cameras, Slash likes to wear all kinds of men’s hat styles, such as:

Black Leather Flat Cap

Slash wears a black leather flat cap on a red carpet
Slash wears a black leather flat cap at the BandFuse: Rock Legends event at the House of Blues, 2013 (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage/Getty Images)

Leather and Slash go together like peaches and cream. This black leather cap has a floppy crown and a stiff front brim. The crown is big enough to look good with Slash’s big curly hairstyle.

Slash’s Purple Homburg Hat

Slash wears a purple Homburg while smoking a cigarette
Sundance Film Festival hats are always popular Slash wore a purple Homburg when he attended in 2003 (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage/Getty Images)

AKA the Godfather gangster fedora hat, the Homburg resembles a fedora, with a center crease and a tall crown. However, the front is not pinched, and the brim is upturned all the way around. Slash has worn black and purple Homburgs, one of the few colored hats he’s worn.

Slash’s Wool Flat Cap

Slash wears a wool flat cap while talking a reporter
Slash wears a wool flat cap at the Oakley Learn to Ride event in 2011 (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

While a leather flat cap fits Slash’s hard rock persona, a wool version can be more comfortable and dapper. This hat often has a herringbone pattern, giving it a timeless English quality. This hat also resembles what newsboys wore when handing out papers.


Slash wears a black fedora while getting out of a towncar
Slash wears a fedora to the funeral of Les Paul, 2009 (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage/Getty Images)

Slash traded his signature men’s leather top hat for a classic black felt gangster fedora hat to attend Les Paul’s funeral in 2009. The fedora had a teardrop crown with a pinched front and a wide brim.

Fedoras are soft and he wore the brim snapped down in the front and up in the back. For added privacy in his time of mourning, he wore Ray Blan Aviators as well. To add a dash of orginality, Slash tucked a red feather under the left side of the hatband. He’s been seen in this classic gangster fedora hat multiple times since then. 

Slash in his black top hat at Woodstock \'94
Slash in his black top hat at Woodstock ’94 on August 13, 1994 in Saugerties, New York. (Photo by Ke.Mazur/WireImage)

The Hat Stops Here

Even without the signature concho hatband, the Slash top hat has become a globally-recognized silhouette as synonymous with Rock ‘n Roll itself. Today, black leather men’s top hats have become popular. They’re not just for Guns ‘n Roses fans, but a symbol of belonging for bikers and hard rock lovers worldwide.

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