FrouFrou 4 YouYou

Raymond Hudd’s Birthday December 15, 2010

Filed under: millinery,Uncategorized — froufrou4youyou @ 5:41 pm
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Happy Birthday Raymond!

2010 was a fascinating millinery year. You may wonder what happened with all the plans for this blog back in Jan. The best part was being sidetracked by my chance to get to know Raymond Hudd. Last Feb I was happy to think I could be able to buy a couple of his hats, and gather information for the 100 Hat show done March 2010 in Evanston. Online research led to the Chicago History Museum website.  It has one of his 100 hats from their collection online, the Potato hat. I read the blog, and found Ivan, his brother. On a wild hope I googled Ivan’s name and called his number, leaving a message. He called back that night, which led to lots of other fun with members of CHIC, Charming Hats in Chicago, and visiting Raymond. With the annual drive by Ivan from CA to MI in July came a chance to give Raymond a hat show of his hats.

The inside of the hat Raymond made with Ivan for the 2010 Hat Show

Three trips this year to MI have been wonderful. The last one was to finish the lining of this hat. Not my best work, but there is only so much one can do balancing it on your lap holding a glue gun!

I can’t wait till the snow melts in spring to get back up there. Millinery is still alive and well in his heart, so in the meantime I have compiled a bit of Raymond history with the hope it makes it into Wikipedia. Now that I have something worthwhile to put in this blog, I shall add some parts as 2011 goes along. Much of it is derived from my conversations with Raymond, Ivan, Nancy Remick, Iris Sholder, Janice Koerber, Laurie Kennard and Eia Radosavljevic. Reviewing copies of about 60? newspaper articles Ivan has had the wisdom to retain has also given me rare insights that tell us just how famous and fabulous a milliner is Raymond. So famous, Phyllis Diller still writes him a card now and again.

December 19 is his birthday, and if anyone sends good wishes to this blog, I shall be glad to print them and mail them to him.

Just so you are the first to know, there will be another hat show coming up in July 2011 in Muskegon. Ivan has four hats a friend of his has given him from EBay listings, but we need at least another dozen loaners. If you would like to offer to lend your Hudd hats, please do,  there can never be too many.

Those four of Ivan’s may also find a way into another hat auction as a fundraiser for the School of the Art Institute Raymond Hudd Millinery Award. Finding a location in Chicago is a goal, tho it is probably a far fetched dream to hold it at 2545 N. Clark, the location of his last shop.

Of course I will be working with Raymond to create another new hat as he did with Ivan for last years show. Maybe we can set our sights higher than one…


11 Responses to “Raymond Hudd’s Birthday”

  1. Julia Says:

    I would very much like to send him the warmest of birthday wishes but would also like to give his unofficial biographer a bit pat on the back for her hard work and dedication to this historic, aesthetically beautiful, and socially interesting aspect of design. Go Frou Frou! Check out her etsy store, people!

  2. Salli Christenson Says:


    My sister, a life-long hat lover and wearer, lived across the street from Mr. Hudd’s shop in Chicago for a year back in the 80’s and pretty much spent every paycheck there! She amassed around 20 of his amazing hats. She died 2 years ago and my remaining sister and I have given a few of her Hudd hats away to her closest friends, but have kept many (and wear them). I’m sure there are 2 or 3 we’d be happy to donate to the fundraiser you mentioned. Please advise as to how I can get on an email list for the event. Thanks!—Salli Christenson

    • How wonderful of you to provide such a generous offer. My condolences on the loss of your sister; she sounds like a lady of excellent taste. I take it she lived on Clark St in the 80’s. What a light and open shop that was. I will be returning to MI to visit Raymond again in spring, and then to do another hat show for him in July, where I hope a few of the treasured hats you spoke of may be included. The fund raising event is still in the earliest planning stages, but hope to have updates soon. I will certainly be back in touch shortly. your generosity is heartwarming.

  3. I met Raymond over 40 years ago. He had a shop on Elm Street in Chicago. Raymond introduced me to Dr. Clo Diroll. Raymond was a firm believer we were not alone.

    Alva Phillips
    Known professionally as Chris Harris/
    Bio Chris Harris/ Barham Productions

    • Thank you for your interest in Raymond. I will be delighted to share this with him. I can not say what his perspective is today on believing we are not alone, but he took pride in his participation in the exploration of the concept. In millinery he did a series of Space Hats, which brought even more attention to his beliefs.

  4. Salli Christenson Says:

    I would LOVE to see one of Raymond’s Space Hats and am surprised (and bummed out) that my sister either didn’t have the opportunity to buy one, or did, but didn’t.

    • Thank you once again for sharing your Hudd thoughts. You and Chris Harris/Al Phillips have motivated me to put together another blog post soon to be added on the Space Hats. I have sent it off to Raymond’s brother Ivan for a quick review, perhaps even with some feedback by Raymond himself on this topic. Keep an eye out, I hope to add it before next weekend. There are copies of news articles Ivan had retained that I have the joy of referring to and these provided a few great tidbits. Just wish I had the actual hats to photograph. Doubt my taking a picture of the picture will create much to look at, tho it may be worth a try. Perhaps one of these hats had been donated to the Chicago History Museum’s collection, as I believe they have the Signs of the Zodiac series, as well as others. There are other photos in storage but at this point I will not be able to access them. But sometime I shall, and will be delighted to add them to this blog.

  5. Chris Harris Says:

    There are some subjects that are better left alone, however when I very young. I lived at 18 East Elm in Chicago. One day I had the opportunity to speak with Raymond not about hats, rather about life beyond this planet. Since that conversation so many years ago, I have spoken John Lear the son of Bill Lear of the Lear Jet. It was John Lear who convinced me that it is foolish to think we are the only people in the Universe. It was Raymond who opened my ears to life elsewhere. Raymond did introduce me to Dr. Clo Diroll I accompanied Dr. Diroll to the Upper Michigan where she was the guest speaker before authors, a General in the United States Air Force and a former Secretary of State of the United States. All the people at that event declared that we were not alone. I conducted a UFO Survey in 1978, it gained worldwide attention. The Prime Minister of Granada sent me a telegram informing me that he felt we were not alone. Perhaps that is why we invaded Granada,,,,,just kidding. During that time I met Dr. J. Allan Hynek,He listened to my interviews with people around the country. I was promoting a toy shaped like a UFO. While Raymond turned out all those wonderful hats over all those years he made me aware that we should always keep an open mind.
    Chris Harris

    • Thank you for sharing your story of Raymond. He was very much a man of the times with an inclination to the life of Outer Space. He even created some Space Age hats. I only wish he had fulfilled his dream to have had a hat on the moon. I do not recall when he had hoped for that, but I believe it preceded the U.S, landing on the moon. He did not speak of this in his last year with me, but much had been written years ago of his interest along these lines.

      If you are still in the Chicago area and desire info on the memorial service in the planning stage for Aug 27, please let me know, that I can keep you up to date. I would love to hear more of your contact with him back on Elm, even if the memorial is not feasible for you. Sunday I walked around his old haunts compiling a Raymond walking tour. I am not certain anyone else wants to walk it, but it was delightful to look at the world today and think of how he enjoyed it in the 50s-70s.

      That path can start at the Drake Hotel at Oak and Lake Shore Drive, where he won for best hats at the annual Easter hat contests for 7 years, head along the west side of Michigan Ave to 4th Presbyterian Church where many of those hats started the day on the elite before the brunch. Then it is back up Michigan along the 900 block, not occupied by a structure that replaced Bes Ben and Martha Weathered at Oak and Michigan. West on Oak takes you past his location at 40E Oak, still a bustling high end fashion area. One can head over on Rush to where the famous Mr. Kelly’s nightclub brought in stars like Bob Newhart, but especially his beloved Phyllis Diller, who became one of his most recognizable clients in any of her 500 Hudd hats.

      Thanks again for remembering him fondly.

  6. Chris Harris Says:

    The day that Mr. Kelly’s burned down I was upstairs. A woman saved my life by dragging me down a flight of stairs. I was dazed and filled with smoke. Standing not far away from the ambulance was Raymond. He asked if I was OK? Several days later I went to his shop where we talked for over an hour about life out there. Raymond Hudd should never be forgotten. He was in every sense of the word CHICAGO. When I met the late actress Myna Loy one day for lunch at Eli’s Stage Deli. Ms. Loy wanted to know where I lived. I told her 18 East Elm. She said “You are there next to that wonderful hat designer.” My memories of CHICAGO and those five exciting years will always include Raymond Hudd. Thank you for the invitation to the memorial service. I live in Los Angeles and will not be able to attend. I would appreciate hearing about the service.
    Chris Harris

    • Thank you for sharing that touching story. I will most certainly share the service after 8/27. There will be a display of some of his hats and a bit of the paper ephemera he saved through the years, as well as framed enlarged news articles he had on display in his shop.

      Please feel free to share other stories if you recall them. Those are treasures as well.

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