FrouFrou 4 YouYou

Chicago Millinery History: Marshall Field’s State Street-Part 2 April 13, 2013

In Part 1 on the topic of Marshall Field’s State Street store there was attention given to the Visitor Center of the now Macy’s and their nod to history.

For women of elegance and means the highlight of the store was the 28 Shop.

The author of “State Street: One Brick at a Time”, by Robert Ledermann, takes us into the opening of the shop on September 30, 1941. A gala affair was held, including outdoor searchlights, ala Hollywood movie openings. A butler announced arrivals, who had been sent engraved invitations. 500 invitations were sent. It is likely not too many women chose to skip this event. A new hat, and ensemble would have been needed for such a public affair.

The name 28 Shop is derived from the private entrance at 28 Washington, with direct elevator access to the 6th floor area. Both Mr. Ledermann, and Gayle Soucek in her book “Field’s: The Store That Built the City” discuss the design by Joseph Platt, who also designed the set for Gone With the Wind, a movie of no little fame. The large room had 28 dressing rooms with decor that could only be considered opulent. A favorite part of the description is of lace covered ceilings in some of the rooms. Lunch could also be served, again another way to keep the customer happy, and potentially shopping…for hats.

A look at the entrance to the 28 Shop on April 10, 2013 gives us a modern day glimpse at the glamor inside. There is also a framed vintage photo of the salon in the early days. Below the photo are two comfortable chairs. One might expect those are for the men who patiently wait, even today, as women enter the world of high fashion.

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The look of current fashion greets the potential customer in a most modern setting.

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One who is on a mission of millinery tho is hard pressed to find any. The vintage photos on the wall shall have to do.

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And finally we find the one photo of a woman being fitted with a 1940s style tilt hat!

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Credit is due to the current designer for having the insight to acknowledge that millinery purchases were as important as the rest of the ensemble. Sadly there were no current hats on display in the department. Could one hope they had all been purchased and not yet replaced? Several display cases with handbags and other accessories were scattered through the area. It seems something must be done to bring back the hat. Here are a few photos of wonderful items that beg for just the right hat.

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What hat in this store should be paired with this strong statement classic look jacket? I imagine another trip is needed to the first floor to see what is in stock. This writer is not a stylist, but could certainly suggest, if only there is a glimpse of hope to bring back the hat, into the famed 28 Shop on State Street.

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2 Responses to “Chicago Millinery History: Marshall Field’s State Street-Part 2”

  1. If only department stores still had that glamour!


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