There is a funny sense of symmetry at work in the world. As a shopkeeper, I believe there is some sort of law of retail balance involved.
Say you have a bracelet in your shop. Lets suppose it has golden laurel leaves that encircle the wrist. This pretty bracelet goes unnoticed for weeks-months, even. Then a customer comes in, comments on it, tries it on and leaves the shop. Mark my word, the very next customer who comes in, perhaps unconsciously sensing the admiration this bracelet has evoked, will purchase it. I know, because this happened to me this past Sunday. It happens all the time.
Ok, now how about this: I had a wonderful designer hat from the forties in the shop. Not just any designer, it was an Elsa Schiaperelli, one of my favorites. A customer came in, recognized the greatness of this hat and bought it. I briefly mourned the loss of such a lovely hat.
The very next day, a lady came in the store carrying an enormous shopping bag. It was filled (filled!) with vintage designer hats. Extraordinary hats, eight of them! That’s the law of retail balance at work. One great hat goes, eight come in. Something like that.
So here are some of the new vintage straw hats I am swooning over:
First up, this forties number by Mr. John, milliner to the stars. Mr. John (real name: John P. John) made hats for Lauren Bacall, Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson and Marilyn Monroe, to name a few.
Here is a gorgeous camel colored topper with a brown grosgrain ribbon. This is a brand that’s been around since 1910, but I think this one is from the thirties, by looking at the label.
Next up, a cool sixties woven straw one with a high crown.
It’s by hat designer Frank Olive for Emme Boutique
Here is a quote from Mr. Olive himself (and can we pause to recognize his great surname?)
“It’s not the shape of the woman’s face that really decides, but the attitude of the hat.” -Frank Olive
Now we have a stylish topper by designer Adolfo, also from the sixties. He made this line, Adolfo Réalités, in 1962. Later he began to design clothing and by the mid-1960s celebrities including Gloria Vanderbilt and Jackie Kennedy Onassis wore his suits. In a show of nonpartisanship, Nancy Reagan wore a red Adolfo dress, currently in the Smithsonian, to her husband’s second inaugural ball.
This next one is not the most photogenic hat, but it looks fabulous on.
“You can change your persona a bit with a hat”-Patricia Underwood
She’s done lots of iconic film and TV hats, including some in Sex and the City and Three Weddings and a Funeral.
The final word: “Men notice women who wear hats” -Patricia Underwood