The search for millinery history in Chicago is greatly broadened by reviewing the published news articles. The archives range from 1849. Coverage of millinery was a regular feature. Much of what Chicago wore was based on London and Paris trends, as brought to attention in New York. Regular columns appeared from New York and the following come from the Fashion Intelligence column. No author is given credit, but it is delightful to read the enthusiasm and abundant adjectives of events surrounding the opening of each season.
March 25, 1857 Grand Opening of Spring Millinery
This is dated March 21 from NY.
“…And first,as in duty bound, we give the Parisian novelties at the Non beates Des Paris, 571 Broadway. This house is celebrated for it’s unrivaled French styles, which they receive fresh from the fountainhead, and have therefore always something of the most unique and recherche character. Among the most striking of the Spring styles are the Leghorn, the Tuscan, and the fine English Dunstable, and French split straw,which last are exclusively fashionable in Paris and London. The shapes were exquisite-rather larger in the crown than last year, & extremely sloping into a small cottage front, which arrives almost to a point at the centre and projects considerably more over the forehead than formerly.”
Another column from Sept 30, 1857 of the Fashionable Intelligence:
“…nearly all of the facts which have been developed themselves at the “Milliners Festival” but for the benefit of your lady readers who ere unfortunate enough not to see them, a little recapitulation will be necessary.
The size of the bonnet has decidedly increased, advancing much further upon the head, but retreating at the sides to such an extent as to form nearly a point at the forehead. The crowns are often sloping and fanciful, the curtains still deep. The materials are velvet exclusively in every possible variety.
The decorations are feathers and velvet flowers tipped with maraboo; both are very beautiful and costly, and the blonde used frequently costs ten dollars per yard.”
There were 3 Fashionable Intelligence columns in 1858, but first I think I need to go look up a few words that are used in a manner that puzzles me:
recherche: Re`cher`che´ (re`shâr`shã´)
a. 1. Sought out with care; choice. ( Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by C. & G. Merriam Co)
cottage front:? Nothing I could find
Leghorn, the Tuscan, and the fine English Dunstable, and French split straw?
curtains? cur·tain (kûrtn)
1. Material that hangs in a window or other opening as a decoration, shade, or screen.
That’s not really what I was hoping to find blonde?
Some things seem to need a whole lot more digging than present time allows.
Happy 25th day of 2011!