July 18, 2007

Florine Stettheimer – Spring Sale at Bendel’s

Filed under: daily life,Millinery trivia and events — Cristina de Prada @ 8:17 pm

Spring Sale at Bendel's - partial view - click to enlarge

I have some new friends hanging on the wall. They’re on a poster from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a reproduction of Florine Stettheimer’s oil painting “Spring sale at Bendel’s”. I have never seen the original, but when I saw the reproduction I decided I had to buy it. There’s so much going on, so much movement, that the eye just flows from one character (friend) to the other, really fun and beautiful.

Funny to think that when Florine Stettheimer died in 1944 she asked that all her paintings be destroyed. Fortunately her sister (executor of the estate) refused to do it.


July 14, 2007

Taking pictures of hats from the TV

Filed under: Millinery trivia and events — Cristina de Prada @ 11:42 pm

Am I the only nutter that will pick up the camera an take a picture of a hat they see on TV?

Joan Fontaine in the 1959 movie The Women - click to enlargeI

I must admit this was the first time for me, but I just found this little hat very clever and very cute, the way it’s held by a ribbon with a bow that goes around her chignon working as a kind of bandeau, the veil, and the hairdo is also spectacular.


By the way this is Joan Fontaine in the movie The Women, of which I watched only about 15 minutes (basically a scene where they are on a train), but it was time enough to spot this little perched hat.

I’ve always thought that someone (in the big studios I guess), should make a Fashion DVD with bits and pieces from all the great (or not so great) movies from the golden years. Showing little clips where we can see all the beautiful outfits and hats. Every now and then I search Amazon up hoping to find it, but so far nothing… but isn’t it a good idea? And I think there is really a market for that. The DVD could also have extras with biographies of all the great designers of the time, and I’m sure you can think of other stuff that could be included.

So, if that already exists, please let me know because I want it!

July 13, 2007

Doris loved hats

Filed under: Millinery trivia and events,Other Millinery people — Cristina de Prada @ 11:12 pm


Newspaper cut outs of hats - 1959

A couple of years ago I bought through Ebay a pink ring binder tied with a burgundy bow and filled to the rim with: 

  • Newspaper cut outs of hats, glued and classified by type of hat (Toques, Breton, Fur hats, Cloche, etc.)
  • Printed instructions on how to make hats
  • Personal notes about how to make hats
  • Samples of different kinds of bows
  • Patterns for different sort of hats

As far as I can tell it belonged to a woman called Doris, from Denver (Colorado), who took millinery classes from a lady called June Burton. That must have been in the late fifties or early sixties. What happened after she took the classes we don’t know, I would like to think that she went on to make beautiful hats, and certainly she kept on cutting out pictures and drawings of hats from newspapers and magazines. (more…)

May 28, 2007

A world hidden away – Japanese websites about hatmaking

Filed under: Millinery trivia and events,Other Millinery people — Cristina de Prada @ 3:52 pm

Ulala Koruku website - hat instructions  I have some rudimentary knowledge of Japanese (I went to classes during five years, and honestly I should have more to show for it, but I dont). I wish I understood it all. There is a wealth of websites and blogs that talk about the things I like (like millinery, cooking, origami), and all I can do is settle for some crazy surrealist online translation to find out what they’re talking about.

In addition, Japanese websites appear to be more fun and more crazy than the European/American counterparts. That’s something you can notice right away when browsing through a Japanese magazine or newspaper. The layout is completely alien to us (not only that you start to read from the back to the front), but the fact that everything is packed-in in a crazy dizzying way.

The web of Ulala Koruku is an example of someone really taking the time to make a fun website, playing beautifully with colors. Another one is this lovely one with the hat-cat on the front page. Although a recurring problem with Japanese websites is the faulty spelling (very japanese) of English words as you can see for yourself if you visit the website.

And the examples of japanese websites about hats, well, are endless, for example marche-de-chapeaux, hat love, and this very interesting blog.

This is all until the next time (I owe you lots of stuff, but I promise you will get to see it!)

March 2, 2007

Another digital treasure – Women Working (Harvard University Library)

Filed under: Hat book and magazine reviews,Millinery trivia and events — Cristina de Prada @ 11:54 pm

Copyright of Harvard University LibraryI just love the amount of information that is out there if you are lucky to find it.

The latest treasure I have found is the “Women Working, 1800-1930” open collection from the Harvard University Library.

Here is the description, from the website:

Women Working, 1800 – 1930, focuses on women’s role in the United States economy and provides access to digitized historical, manuscript, and image resources selected from Harvard University’s library and museum collections. The collection features approximately 500,000 digitized pages and images including:

  • 7,500 pages of manuscripts
  • 3,500 books and pamphlets
  • 1,200 photographs

Of course I had to search for Millinery, and I found out that they have 2 digitized issues of the Delineator, some interesting books about the milinery trade, wages of women in the trade, and my two favorites from the collection:

The millinery department, written by Charlotte Rankin Aiken and dated 1918 and Millinery, written by Natalie Kneeland and dated 1925.

The millinery department is a book explaining how a millinery department is set up, how it should be run, and goes into lots of details about the different kinds of hats, materials, finishes, trimmings, and more. It’s lots of fun to read, I just browsed through it and found it very amusing. Take this good advice for example: “The power of the line is almost inconceivable. Faces seem to grow shorter or longer, fuller or thiner, noses appear to raise or to lower their tips, and even eyes seem to grow slanting or straight, large or small, under the influence of the shape of the hat.”


January 29, 2007

Millinery in the Library of Congress… Ribbon trimming

Filed under: Millinery trivia and events — Cristina de Prada @ 10:09 am
The world wide web is a wonderous thing, if you jump head in and start looking for things you like you will be please to find out:
1. You’re not alone in the world.
2. There’s a bunch of other people out there who are as weird as you are 🙂
3. There’s a wealth of information just waiting to be looked at
Turns out that the Library of Congress has a lot of digitized documents that are waiting for you to look at them.
One of them is this little gem that I hope you will enjoy, right out of the Library of Congress:
From the Library of Congress

December 10, 2006

What kind of (hat buying) customer are you?… Check this 1949 article and take the survey!

Filed under: Millinery trivia and events — Cristina de Prada @ 6:44 pm

tips for salesgirls

I love this article titled Know These Five Customer-Types, that comes from the magazine British Millinery (April 1949 issue). The idea is to help salesgirls and their “smooth selling technique”. Apparently (in 1949) women spent fifteen to thirty minutes over the process of buying a hat.

Customer in a hurry

 First there is the customer who is always in a hurry.
“These women are often adopting a pose of self-importance. Most women have time enough when choosing a hat. They know it cannot be done too hurriedly. However, with the hurried customer make a special effort to realise her importance-apparently. You will find frequently that she displays a surprising amount of patience when handled tactfully.” (more…)

December 3, 2006

Evening hats are back again

Filed under: Millinery trivia and events — Cristina de Prada @ 11:54 pm

evening hats - headline
 Many people imagine the 1950’s to be a hat lovers paradise, but in fact the fifties were the begining of the hat decline. The post war generation distanced themselves from hats, yes, but what about this strange article I found in British Millinery (January 1950 issue)? The article, titled “Evening Hats are back again and West End Restaurants Waive Ban” left me in shock. “The evening-hat controversy is waging fast and furious in London”, didn’t you know?! (no, not really, I had no idea!)
Apparently, some West End hotels and restaurants were asking ladies wearing evening hats to take them off and leave them at the cloakroom (a word I love, by the way, I wonder if you can also leave your daggers there).evening hats article excerpt
Ok, “if a woman has a large hat or one with trimmings which would inconvenience other dancers” I can understand that they make her take it off (which by the way gives you an idea of how packed were the dance floors in those days)… but otherwise? I’m with the writer of the Evening Standard‘s “Londoner’s Log”: “what right has anyone to dictate to a good-looking woman about what hat she may or may not wear?”. After all, the poor lady whose story is told was wearing an inoffensive “evening hat in black velvet with bird-of-paradise plumes”.

December 2, 2006

A hat makes all the difference!

Filed under: Millinery trivia and events — Cristina de Prada @ 12:16 am

 Let’s face it, the smart hatted lady couldn’t care less about the handsome guy, yet I guess the message of it all is, dress smartly and men will fall at your feet (and possibly drule on your shoes -an unfortunate side effect-).
The message is clear. The hatless, badly dressed girl is getting ignored (and does have the psycopath look of someone that has a gun hidden in the purse and is waiting for the right moment to pull it out and start shooting indscriminately).
This amusing drawing belongs to an article in the British Millinery magazine from July 1950. “The Holiday Fashion Parade: Win 25 pounds as the best-dressed girl – but don’t forget a hat makes all the difference!”.


click on image to enlarge

I couldn’t agree more, a hat makes all the difference, makes you special, rescues you from mediocrity.
The hat is the ultimate accesory.


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