FrouFrou 4 YouYou

About November 21, 2009

My first job was at age 16 selling hats in a Chicago hat
shop, Evelyn’s at Milwaukee, and Irving Park for Mollie B. That was
1966, when hats were on every woman’s head, but the fascination
never stopped. Researching Chicago’s millinery past is a passion.
Sharing that information on this blog combines the best of history
and millinery. Part of that Chicago millinery history is the
talented Raymond Hudd. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
has an award in his name given annually to students in the fashion
program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
For more fun there are vintage hat shows conducted with anywhere
from 40-100 couture and common hats in Midwest retirement
communities. That has been a source of joy for over a decade, and
promises to be continued. Say the word and a date can be set to
share. And on that note please feel free to alert me to that
overwhelming collection Great Aunt Tillie has in 3 closets, and the
attic. I have purchased just such collections, and would be
delighted to do so once again. Sadly I probably have to limit
myself to areas in the Midwest, or east coast. There are just so
many places I can convince my husband to drive to carry home our
SUV full of hats. Don’t ask how many times I have gotten away with
this! I refer to myself as a milliner wannabe. Collecting hats has
given much inspiration and instills hope there is a growing love of
hats. My goal is a hat on every lady’s head.


6 Responses to “About”

  1. Janet Says:

    Hello – I’m ‘out’ here with MANY of Raymond’s hats..perhaps over 600…interested? Contact

    • You are quite the collector. And I would love to hear the stories that came with each hat! He had a devoted following, and clearly you at at the top of the list.
      The memorial is set for 8/27 in Evanston.

      Thank you for your response.

  2. […] also available including a presentation on Chicago Hats by ‘Mad Hatter Society Member’ Mary Robak whose presentation at noon on Saturday will feature several Bes Ben, Raymond Hudd, Gage, Carsons, […]

  3. Pennie von Bergen Wessels Says:

    Hi, I contacted you a couple years ago about my small collection of Hudd hats (about 13). About two weeks ago, I contacted the Art Institute as I was heading to Chicago, and was willing to bring them in to make a donation. I thought they had held fundraisers in the past for the Hudd award given to the design students and could use them for that. I followed the directions given me of going on line to leave an email. I explained that I wasn’t proposing donating a painting, but hats, and would the email find the right person. I was assured it would, and that I would have a reply forthwith. I have not heard anything. I guess they weren’t interested. I am fast moving to my estate/moving sale, and would like the hats to find a home that would appreciate his gorgeous work. I no longer have the time to trek them into Chicago. Are you interested in purchasing the collection, or would you have a suggestion from your vast experience with hat lovers, and designers? I noticed from perusing your excellent site, an antique store in Rockford which I though I might contact since I am only an hour away in NW Illinois (Sterling/Rock Falls). Hope to hear from you soon. Pennie von Bergen Wessels

  4. thomas heinisch Says:

    hello………..I am in interested if you know anything about a milliner named esther dames……….she was my great aunt and I think she had a store on water street maybe in 40’s 0r 50’s……..then moved to Geneva ill. in 1952 and ran a hat shop there til 1971 I think……..any info would be appreciated

    • Sadly I have not heard of this delightful woman. In Chicago there was a south Water Street area which was redeveloped and renamed long ago, so I am not sure exactly where to think her shop had been. South Water was a wholesale area. There had been an attempt to make it a millinery center, but Wabash Ave. pretty much held onto that slice of commerce.
      I am afraid I know nothing of Geneva, tho you might find some old phone directories from the town, or the historical society in that area with leads.
      Wishing you well in your search. If you uncover more Chicago info, I shall be thrilled if you are able to share it.
      Best regards,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s