FrouFrou 4 YouYou

Chicago Millinery History: The World of Bes Ben Hats Lives On in 2011 April 16, 2011

Filed under: Bes Ben,Chicago Millinery History — froufrou4youyou @ 10:38 am
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Chicago ladies gather for lunch for various reasons. Sometime it is still all about the hat.

May 17 is a big day for hats, lunch and Bes Ben. Benjamin Green-Field was a milliner of no small fame in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s in Chicago. His life and times will be featured at just such a sold out lunch.

If you are in the Chicago loop that day you may see any or all of the attendees wearing wonderful hats. Some will be sporting vintage Bes Ben hats, some others from their own collections, and some purchased from current Chicago designers for this event. One can hope this sparks resurgence in love for Chicago millinery.

Not familiar with Bes Ben hats? Stop at the Chicago History Museum, there are always a few on display. Since it is a rotating exhibit you may come to find you will see quite a variety over the year. If you are not able to make the trip you can visit the GreenField Foundation website for a lovely selection, and background information on this gentleman.

Happy 107th day of 2011!


Chicago Millinery History: Pretty Lady Picture-Photographer unknown April 10, 2011

Filed under: millinery — froufrou4youyou @ 9:58 pm
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How often does one dress in a wool gabardine suit,  gloves, hose, heels, black faille clutch purse, scarf and HAT to go out in a field? And who gets their profile shot taken? Fashion models?

This picture best reflects the hat style that says 1940s. Wonder if this was a Chicago hat, or taken in a remote part of Chicago, or a park, tho the hilly terrain does not look like Chicago. The picture was among those for sale at Antique and Resale on Harlem in Chicago, so it qualifies to be part of Chicago Millinery History. Maybe this is carrying it a bit too far, but it is a wonderful photo, none the less.

Happy 100th day of 2011!


Chicago Millinery History: Pretty Lady Picture-Motal & Stradiot

Filed under: Uncategorized — froufrou4youyou @ 9:50 pm


December 1944 and this gal is attending a fancy dinner.  Perhaps a wedding reception, or a venue with the services of a “candid photographer.” The reverse of the photo gives two phone numbers in Chicago; Rockwell 8737, and Crawford 4098, of the north side of the city.

This might be called a tilt hat, as it is off to the side, or even a toy hat, as it has the small crown popular in the 1940s. And long feathers, adding to the fashionable accent ladies adore.

Happy 100th day of 2011!


Chicago Millinery History: Pretty Lady Picture- Drevalas Studio

Filed under: Uncategorized — froufrou4youyou @ 9:39 pm

A spring hat of lace and flowers, and a pretty smile from many years ago. An undated photo from a Chicago photo studio, Drevalas Studio.

This studio was located at 220 No. Cicero Ave, and had a phone with the number Austin 1197.

They state on the reverse side of the card “Photographs, Picture Frames, Photo Supplies.”

Happy 100th day of 2011!



Chicago Millinery History: Pretty Lady Picture- The Orpheum Photo Studio

Filed under: Chicago Millinery History — froufrou4youyou @ 9:33 pm

It’s a fun day for vintage when the folks at Antique and Resale on Harlem in Chicago have the annual 20% sale in spring. LOTS of hats, but other goodies too. Plenty of vintage photo from Chicago were most intriguing.

A woman of several decades is standing in her wide lapeled coat, and wearing a hat that was more than tall, it was much bigger than her head. It seems the feathers will really do that.

It was taken in an unknown year at the Orpheum Photo Studio at 110 & 112 S. State, opposite the Palmer House, Chicago. That Palmer House of much notoriety.One wonders if she was a guest at that hotel, or a Chicagoan.

Perhaps it is time to put in a good word for Palmer perseverance. The original Palmer House was built and finished just  days before the infamous Chicago Fire of 1871.

Wikipedia gives us this background:

There have been three Palmer House Hotels at the corner of State and Monroe Streets in Chicago.

The first (known as “The Palmer”) was built as a wedding present from Potter Palmer to his bride Bertha Honoré. It opened on September 26, 1871, but burned down just thirteen days later October 9, 1871 in the Great Chicago Fire. Palmer immediately set to work rebuilding, and with a $1.7 million signature loan (believed to be the largest individual loan ever secured at the time) constructed one of the fanciest hotels in post-fire Chicago.

Designed by architect John M. Van Osdel, the second Palmer House Hotel was seven stories. Its amenities included oversized rooms, luxurious decor, and sumptuous meals served in grand style. The floor of its barber shop was reputedly tiled with silver dollars. Constructed mainly of iron and brick, the hotel was widely advertised as, “The World’s Only Fire Proof Hotel.”[1] Famous visitors included presidential hopefuls James Garfield, Grover Cleveland, Ulysses S. Grant, William Jennings Bryan and William McKinley; writers Mark Twain, L. Frank Baum, and Oscar Wilde; and actresses Sarah Bernhardt and Eleanora Duse.[citation needed] It was completed in 1875.

By the 1920s, the business in downtown Chicago could support a much larger facility and the Palmer Estate decided to erect a new 25-story hotel. They hired Holabird & Roche to design the building. Between 1923 and 1925, the hotel was rebuilt on the same site — in stages so not a single day of business was lost. At the time it was touted as the largest hotel in the world.[2]

In December 1945, Conrad Hilton bought the Palmer House for $20 million. In 2005 it was sold to Thor Equities, but it remains part of the Hilton chain.[3

Time to rekindle that hope for a hat shop in the Palmer House? Why not, it must be meant to be if it that name keeps showing up everywhere one turns.

Happy 100th day of 2011!


Chicago Millinery History: The Bee Hive

Filed under: Chicago Millinery History,millinery — froufrou4youyou @ 9:32 pm
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What a wonderful item for advertising a millinery shop. This diecut card must have been very collectible back in the day.  Now it is in a Chicago suburb, after found on eBay in Australia. How it made it that far is perplexing.

The Bee Hive claims to be the ” leading millinery establishment in the NorthWest.”

Best part? It was across from the Palmer House. And of course everyone knows the place to be was/is the Palmer House. Location, location, location.

Happy 100th day of 2011!


Chicago Millinery History: Pretty Lady Pictures

Filed under: Uncategorized — froufrou4youyou @ 3:39 pm

Just when this studio photograph was taken is unclear, but we haven’t been wearing bustles for some time now. Just where did this hat come from? It seems logical that it is a Chicago hat, since she is at Melander Photography for this event.

The very faded back of the photo indicates Melander was at the corner of Ohio and Clark. For anyone who has ever taken the Ohio exit from the expressway to head east into downtown Chicago, you have passed this spot. The photo back shows a most elegant facade to this establishment.  Tho hard to see here, the upper half of the building is graced with carved statues of women, perhaps in a Greek imitation with columns between them. They don’t build things like that down on Ohio like that anymore!

The horse and buggy outside the photography studio would give us the impression the traffic was light. Don’t try that today, or the traffic will spook your horse. And keep your hat securely pinned in place, it’s windy in the Windy City.

Happy 31+28+31+10=100th day of 2011!