I haven't met a gibus frame that didn't collapse successfully, but of course caution would be prudent if you try it. There is not much need unless your local opera house demands that hats be collapsed when checked. 8^) If and when you do collapse the mechanism you will understand why the kid sweatband is constructed in the way that it is. The silk and leather is a one piece sleeve to allow it to fold into the mechanism predictably and return to shape when opened. It is really quite an interesting invention - from the 1840s I believe and in use for a century. My opera hats have the same tapered form and fit small for the size. They are also quite heavy with the steel framework which adds to the odd sense of balance on the head. I have yet to wear one outside the house. Waiting for the right invitation!