Thursday, April 30, 2015

1940's Flower Pot Hats

A 1940's flower-pot style dark brown wool felt topper from Austelle Hats featuring a delightful accent of feathers that form a flower. From the author's personal collection.

Photo courtesy Vintage Bridal Millinery/Pinterest

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Schiaparelli and Madra Lord

A Shocking Collaboration

The collaboration between fashion designer and film star is well-documented: Adrian and Joan Crawford, Orry-Kelly and Bette Davis, Oleg Cassini and Gene Tierney, Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn. All had a special relationship on screen as well as off. So perhaps it's not so shocking that a fictional movie star diva from Monolithic Studios would embrace the modern and whimsical style of famed Italian designer, Elsa Schiaparelli. Mme. Schiaparelli's flamboyant flair for design would almost certainly appeal to the often over-the-top personality of Madra Lord.

This 1940 original Schiaparelli hat, created exclusively for Dave Herstein & Co (New York), could have easily been the inspiration for Miss Lord's smart and stylish hat from Robert Tonner's "Arrival at Port" ensemble.

Miss Madra Lord
Like a Fox Madra Lord is from Ashton Drake.
Arrival at Port suit ensemble is from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection.
Photo of Schiaparelli hat is from The Millinery Monitor, 1940.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Happy Birthday Miss Marshall

Gene Marshall shows off a new hat created just for her by her favorite milliner. It's the perfect look for a benefit luncheon, an afternoon reception, or simply meeting a few friends for cocktails on her very special day.

Miss Marshall's fanciful tilt hat is paired with the dress from Madame Alexander's "Grand Hotel" costume and a magnificent fur stole from miniature furrier, PD Root. Additional accessories include a delightful necklace from Straycat, gloves and purse from Ashton Drake, and cigarette holder from Mystyna. OOAK hat is from The Couture Touch. "Symphony in G" Gene Marshall, enhanced with an articulated body from Integrity, is from Ashton Drake.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Adrian File

Adrian & Norma Shearer going over designs for
"The Women" (1939). Photo courtesy Adrian Costume Design on

NAME:  Adrian Adolph Greenberg aka Gilbert Adrian (1903-1959).

OCCUPATION:  Designed spectacular costumes for MGM, and later opened his own fashion house where he designed elegant and wearable ensembles for the retail trade. Many of his designs included an unusual hat, often with a touch of whimsy.

KNOWN TO DRESS:  Greta Garbo, Norma Shearer, Katherine Hepburn, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow.

Dramatic draped hat worn by Rosalind Russell in "The Women" (1939).
Photo courtesy

The delightfully quirky hat worn by Greta Garbo in "Ninotchka" (1939).
Photo courtesy

A fabulous draped hood and suit designed by Adrian for exclusive retail stores.
Photo courtesy

Adrian's Elephant Ear hat, photo by John Engstead for Harper's Bazaar. 1946.

Adrian gingham ensemble, 1947.

Gene Marshall wears Ashton-Drake's 1997 "Promenade" costume designed by Tim Kennedy, circa 1945.
The hat was given an Adrian-inspired update by The Couture Touch

With a wink and a nod to Adrian, designer StrayCat creates a delightful headdress
for Monolithic Studios' mysterious beauty Oona.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hats Off to Brenda Starr

During the 1940's. hats were de rigueur even for the career-minded, investigative reporter of the fictional newspaper The Flash. Brenda Starr was created by Dale (Dalia) Messick and debuted on June 30, 1940 in the Chicago Tribune. Messick drew her comic-strip heroine as a red-headed, glamorous, fashion-forward, jet-setting reporter whose stylish hats were no doubt inspired by Messick's mother, a milliner by trade.

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What to wear for a jail-house visit? A fabulous platter hat perfectly matched to her suit ensemble.

Photo courtesy
Brenda is determined to steal the spotlight from Daphne in a fabulous off-the-face feathered topper and matching fur-trimmed coat.

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Embroiled in plots and intrigue, Brenda is lucky in stripes: a marvelous, unusual-shaped, halo hat and jacket to match.

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A chic turban is always in style for that all-important interview.

Gene Marshall as Brenda Starr
Monolithic Studios' resident girl star Miss Gene Marshall portrays the comic-strip heroine and goes undercover as a blonde to get her story. She chooses a smart terracotta wool felt tilt topper to complement her blonde locks. The silk tweed jerkin, hat, and gauntlet gloves are from The Couture Touch. Pinstriped shirt is from Robert Tonner's "Just My Type" Brenda Starr ensemble. Skirt is from Ashton Drake, and handbag is from Integrity. Miss Marshall (a re-styled "Fashion Plot") is from Ashton Drake. 

Photo Courtesy
Two delightful hats as envisioned by Dale Messick for the cover of her book, The Red-Headed Bombshell (1989).

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Brenda's hat dilemma.....deliciously solved!