I’ve just finished Meryle Secrest’s comprehensive biography of Elsa Schiaparelli, which of course, prompted me to pull a few of Schiap’s licensed pieces from the Mobile Millinery Museum archives.
Schiap’s signature label is hard to miss when shopping for vintage millinery and her style and quality so recognizeable that at times I have asked the occasional hat show attendee to remove her hat and allow me a look at the inner hatband and label.
Shopping for designer hats from the mid-20th century can be a real rush when high quality, stylish chapeau like the pieces we feature in our signature retrospective millinery fashion shows, bear these iconic labels. Finding them in their original hat boxes provides an even greater thrill.
Many of the pieces in my collection were donated when I interviewed former milliners and fashionistas for my book, 1,000 Hats. Knowing where the hats were purchased, where they were worn, and who wore them added dimension to the historical record and greater significance to each treasured piece.
The Mobile Millinery Museum and Costume Archive is still accepting donations of hats as well as the vintage costume, shoes, hatboxes and accessories, which helps to place them within their social context. Please contact me if you have artefacts to donate or if you are interested in booking an exhibit, installation or presentation.