Vintage Schiaparelli

The iconic Schiaparelli pink hat box with black cord handle. A real treasure.

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.


20150630_102024Schiap’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.

This lacquered straw beauty was donated along with a great number of couture hats and shoes, by the family of Hamilton, Ontario portrait artist Aline Banting.

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.

An asymmetric long-nap beaver felt with stylized woollen bow.
Angora halo hat adorned with pairs of pewter-coloured, leaf-shaped medallions.

Published by Norma Shephard

I'm the founder and director of the Mobile Millinery Museum & author of five books on vintage fashion.

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