Vintage Hat Friday

Walter Florell hat front

Walter Florell hat front

Good morning hat enthusiasts!  Our recent cold weather is the source of inspiration for this week’s vintage hat review. This particular piece is wool felt with a ring of feathers around the brim and a luscious wide satin ribbon – an artful combination of grace, elegance and style. Not only does the asymmetrical shape set this hat apart from others, but it imparts a feeling of warmth mixed with a healthy dose of glamour. Here’s to making every Friday a special occasion by wearing a stunning piece like this one!

Walter Florell hat back

Walter Florell hat back

The maker, Walter Florell, (1911-1986) grew up in Berlin and became interested in costume design while dancing professionally with the Berlin Opera Company. He journeyed to the United States in the late 1930s and opened a millinery salon in New York City in 1939. Florell probably created this piece between the 1940s and 1950s, a time when hats were as important to a well-put-together look as the outfit itself. A few of the prominent women who wore his hats include Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, and the Duchess of Windsor.

Camel wide satin ribbon3

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In-Studio Perspectives

Hello friends,

I have made quite a number of hats and headpieces for weddings: some for the bride, some for the mother-of-the-bride, one for the grandmother-of-the-groom. So when I received the following project, I was happy to try something new. The top hat below was to be worn by the groom.

Groom's Top Hat

Groom’s Top Hat

Two youngsters were in the small wedding party and it was decided that they should wear similar hats. These hats were fun to make and I had to call on some millinery techniques that I don’t often use, like making a grosgrain ribbon brim edge. Here are a few photos of the hat in progress and the finished products. These little men look so cute!

Sewing Grosgrain Ribbon Bands

Sewing Grosgrain Ribbon Bands

Two Perfect Miniature Top Hats

Two Perfect Miniature Top Hats

Two Adorable Little Boys!

Two Adorable Little Boys!

Celebrity Hat Monday

Good morning! Today’s celebrity hat photograph of Beyoncé defines her ability to make any look grab your attention.

The thing that first stands out is her outfit, but what I appreciate is that Beyoncé didn’t accessorize with jewelry or something ostentatious – she used a hat. Her simple black bowler ties her ensemble together perfectly. Beyoncé gives us another great example of how the right hat can maximize a look while adding a touch of playfulness.

Beyoncé Photo from Entertainment News

Beyoncé Photo from Entertainment News

Vintage Hat Friday

Greetings, Vintage Hat Lovers!

Today’s post features a hat that’s as charming and practical today as it was when it was made. The label is from R.H. Macy & Co., Inc. New York. This sweet topper is made from wool felt with a band of Persian Lamb across the front. The top of the hat features intricately woven strips of wool felt that create a pretty design that mimics the Persian Lamb. The original hat pin is still intact. I have restored this piece with a new inner grosgrain ribbon band and have added a very narrow black headband so that it stays put on the head.

I can envision this hat on a pretty woman shopping downtown in the late 1940s, early 1950s. Understated and chic!

Vintage topper front

Vintage topper front

Vintage topper side

Vintage topper side

Vintage Topper Back

Vintage Topper Back

In-Studio Perspectives…English Wedding Facinator

One of the more interesting facets of hat making is what the Brits call “bespoke” millinery. Bespoke pieces often incorporate fabric or trim from a dress or coat to customize a hat to coordinate with a specific outfit (think Queen Elizabeth).

I recently created a mother-of-the-bride fascinator for a woman to wear to her daughter’s nuptials in England. Her dress was a pretty greenish-blue satin; the color was called “peacock.”  Of course, peacock feathers were the perfect accent and colorway. This pretty piece features loops of millinery crin and ribbon over a dupioni silk base, and is topped with a handmade peacock feather embellishment. A vintage rhinestone button tops it off and adds a touch of sparkle. Lovely!

Mother-of-the-bride fascinator

Mother-of-the-bride fascinator

Fascinator detail

Fascinator detail

Celebrity Hat Monday

Good morning hat fanatics!  This post is for each of you that may be looking for a fresh new style on this Monday morning.  I have been taking time at the beginning of each week to share a bit of celebrity style from over the weekend, and recently have found that the fedora seems to have taken center stage this winter.  That was until I found these photographs of Adele and Rihanna.

While I like a great fedora as much as the next person, I think these photos show Adele and Rihanna breaking the mold and honoring their own personal style!  It does not take much – an embellished headband with a veil attached makes this particular look significant and star-worthy.  Each of these women proves that a small veil can be worn anytime anywhere – not just with wedding attire.

Adele 

Rihanna

Vintage Hat Friday

Good morning vintage hat devotees!
I don’t know about you, but every so often I look through unread email with no other thought but to repeatedly press the delete button as I scroll down the list. This week was a little different because of a special find that I want to share with you. I received an email from Hat Life, an e-newsletter that reported on the passing of Frederick Fox, the milliner who made hats for the royal family, mainly Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth II. What caught my eye was that Fox worked for Otto Lucas early in his career. I own a hat with an Otto Lucas label so I’m glad to learn more history about the maker.
Otto Lucas (1903 – 1971) opened his first salon in London in 1932 and some of his famous clients included Greta Garbo and the Duchess of Windsor. Lucas was known as London’s most stylish hat maker during the 1950s. His primary talent was the ability to skillfully use many different fabrics and craft a large number of styles. In his final year he created 55,000 hats in the day when hand finishing was still the norm. Very impressive!
By the way, if you don’t subscribe to Hat Life, it’s a free publication that’s all about milliners and millinery. The website is www.hatlife.com

Otto Lucas Hat Side

Otto Lucas Hat Side

Otto Lucas Front

Otto Lucas Front

Otto Lucas Back

Otto Lucas Back

Otto Lucas Label

Otto Lucas Label