FrouFrou 4 YouYou

Chicago Millinery History: Martha Rahl March 11, 2017

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Martha Rahl had quite the location for her millinery establishment at 202 S. Michigan Ave, the Pullman Building, seen above, at the corner of Michigan and Adams. This is the west side of the street, across from the Art Institute of Chicago. The block west of Michigan was Wabash, and on that entire block north of Adams were the millinery meccas of Gage Hat and Edson Keith, primarily wholesalers. It was an excellent location, her last location.

downtown street building drawing of lots

Looking at the drawing of the Pullman Building in block 5, https://chicagology.com/goldenage/goldenage067/, one sees the western half of the block north, block 4, with the Palmer House across from it. The Pullman building had been built in 1893, by the Pullmans who built rail cars, with two other mega buildings south of the downtown area. They put their executives in offices of this ten story building, and included the first floor of shops. At the time of this map it shows the south edge of the Pullman building butting the Palmer House stables,(Red arrow), probably an unpleasantly fragrant place. By the time Martha had her shop in the Pullman Building the stables had been replaced in 1904 by the Chicago Orchestra Hall, now known as Symphony Center. The other shops in the Pullman building in 1926 included linens, gloves and corsets, books, cigars, the Tip Top Café, and best of all, Fannie May Candy.

Fannie May candy has been around since their first shop in 1920 at 11 N. LaSalle, north of the financial district, several blocks west of Michigan Ave. By the time we find Martha’s shop listed in a directory in 1923, Fannie May had 22 shops, making their $.70/lb candy quite the draw for anyone near the building. That foot traffic could only have augmented the foot traffic into Martha’s shop as well.

Backtracking to the earlier years for Martha and we find her listed in a directory for Houston, TX in 1900, as a trimmer at Miss Katie G. Welch, located at 615 Main St, and rooming at 818 Main St. Katie also roomed at the same location.

Sometime after that she came to Chicago, as the first ad we find is in 1905.The shop was at 30 N. Michigan and remained there till she moved a block away, sometime after 1917.

Martha does not appear in the 1900 Polk directory, the 1904, 1906, 1910 Blue Book, nor oddly the 1910 directory, yet she advertised in the Blue Book back in 1905. The same ad appears in the 1915 issue of the Blue Book, so she did not give up on it entirely.She appears in a 1917 Directory still at 30 N. Michigan, suite 615.

The 1910 census has Martha, 26, as a milliner living as a lodger at 2018 Independence in Chicago. A residence address in 1923 is given for 4462 Woodlawn, and her occupation is listed as ladies ready to wear. http://www.chicagoancestors.org/sites/default/files/downloads/1923ra-re.pdf

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It seems likely Martha read thru the 1904 issue and looked at the millinery competition, thinking she could do well in reaching out to the biggest spenders. Maison Novelle ran a full page ad just inside the cover. The ten milliners with ads were scattered around the city. None had shops on Michigan Ave, tho two had locations in the Masonic Temple. Many other shops existed, they just did not advertise in the Blue Book.

The Masonic Temple was built in 1892, and was considered the tallest building in Chicago from 1895-1899 at twelve stories. It’s location on the northeast corner of Randolph and State is now a Walgreens, across from Macy’s store, the former Marshall Field store.

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The two milliners from the Masonic Temple were Mrs. Marguerite Prucka on the fifth floor, and Madam Hunt on the twelfth floor. Madam Hunt’s ad also included her title as President of the National Milliners Association.

Hats were sold in department stores, apparel shops and millinery shops. Knowing who your overall competition is remains a fundamental aspect of successful marketing, especially in the immediate vicinity, including apparel stores and department stores.
Two of the big players nearby in the high end fashion apparel stores would be Blum’s and Leschin.

Blum’s Vogue

624 S. Michigan Avenue was built in 1908 for the Chicago Musical College,  headed by Florenz Ziegfield Sr. Mr. Ziegfeld was the father of the Broadway Follies producer Flo Ziegfield, Jr. Topping off at 15 floors  in 1922 they had the building renamed the Blum Building.

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318 Michigan Ave South.
In 1916 Jack Leschin, who had handled the millinery department for the now defunct Ferguson Dept store, opened in the old Ferguson location. Capitalized at $100,000 he partnered with several who had been associated with Bonwit Teller in NYC.
In 1921 “Samuel Leschin, milliner” leased space for 10 years fronting State St at Jackson for millinery. Is this a relative of Jack’s?

An ad from Leschin on March 4, 1925 features a lace and taffeta dress for $75. That is a high end dress, $933.37 in 2017 dollars.
Oct 8 1929 full page ad features Leschin designs, including draped on the head hats for $18.50. Since the Stock Market Crash of 1929 started Oct 24, one wonders how many shoppers regretted some of their expensive fashion investments. The Depression impacted all retail, but Leschin weathered things well enough to move to classier digs in 1931.

Department stores two blocks to the west of Michigan Ave, on State Street, drew a high concentration of shoppers.

Perhaps Martha had the time to read the Sunday Tribune newspaper on March 1, 1925. That year Easter was April 12, so the last minute rush was not upon her just yet.
To look at the ads for millinery from her closest competitors, one finds a variety of price point items. Mid-priced and lower priced millinery could be found at $5 for Felts at Mandels, Hillmans, with a 26th Anniversary Sale, of 5000 hats at $4.45, and Sears, Roebuck and Co. at $3.45-$3.85.
mar 2 1925 fields ad
Since Marshall Field and Co. did not advertise on Sunday, one would need to wait for the full page fashion ad of Monday, March 2, 1925. The drawing in the center of the page shows the narrow lines of the dresses, and the cloche hats. It was Spring Opening that day, with plenty of loyal customers headed downtown to make their selection. The paragraph on the right side of the print section advises the reader to select a “Wee Sleekit Beastie” rhinestone pin of horses, owls, elephants, dogs, peacocks and lions for $1.50, as they “are quite correct for Spring bonnets.”

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Carson Pirie Scott and Co featured some hats at $15 in their ad.

mar 1 1925 fashion article
One of the fashion articles March 1 indicated the silhouette had not really changed, and an ad for the high end Johnson & Harwood completed the other half of the page. Three pages filled with the women of society and club activities would have caught Martha’s attention, as her clientele were likely to include some society ladies. Keep in mind the Blue Book ad twenty years before which Martha ran in 1905, and in 1915, had her hats costing $10-$150.

Directories for the city with the Pullman Building mention the Martha Rahl shop thru 1930. It makes one wonder if the Depression took it’s toll on the business.

Sadly tho, it seems the spring fashion pages of 1925 were the last for Martha herself, as for unknown reasons she died on July 19, 1925. She had lived on the south side, and was buried at a south side cemetery, Oak Woods at 1035 East 67th Street.

Martha may have only lived 43 years, but she saw a lot of hats from Michigan to Houston to Chicago, having had one of the finest shops on Michigan Avenue.

Name: Martha Rahl
Birth Date: 30 Sep 1881
Birth Place: Battle Creek, Michigan
Death Date: 19 Jul 1925
Death Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois
Burial Date: 21 Jul 1925
Cemetery Name: Oakwoods
Death Age: 43
Occupation: Manager – apparel shop
Race: White
Marital Status: S
Gender: Female
Residence: Chicago, Cook, Illinois
Father Name: Walter Rahl
Father Birth Place: Scarnton, Pennsylvania
Mother Birth Place: New York, New York
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Chicago Millinery History: Marshall Field and Co. and Millinery Part 2 March 18, 2016

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Marshall Filed and Co was cutting edge in the world of fashion. Millinery was no exception.

Hat selection was a fun tho perhaps time consuming process in the early years. Since there were so many choices a woman would be tempted by many, and in some situations, went home with more than one hat at a time.

Once the hat was selected, the transaction proceeded with cash or credit.

Cash or a check was a quick way to finalize a transaction. When the final “new” building at State and Washington was completed it made getting  your change a high tech event.”An extensive pneumatic-tube system, consisting of over 125,000 feet of tubing and 4,500 carriers, whisked customers’ money to the cashiering department where change was made and sent back to the originating sales counter.” http://web.archive.org/web/20110927065743/http://chicago.urban-history.org/ven/dss/fields.shtml

The Field’s approach to credit was very forward thinking early on in the history of the company. “It was the first store to offer revolving credit.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Field%27s

Who is to be credited with this credit approach is sometimes murky. Harry Gordon Selfridge was a leading man in the retail operation. “He greatly increased the store’s advertising budget, expanded its package delivery system, and established a bargain basement to broaden the store’s appeal among less wealthy Chicagoans. He also promised customers complete satisfaction, offering easy credit, the right to return merchandise for a full refund, and numerous in-store amenities such as a personal shopping service and ladies’ tearoom, one of the first of its kind in the nation.” http://web.archive.org/web/20110927065743/http://chicago.urban-history.org/ven/dss/fields.shtml

Credit cards, or charge cards as they could be called, were issued by the store. There was also another approach locally. The Chicago Credit Plate Service, Inc. These Charga cards were a cardboard form slid into the metal embossed on the back frame. The cards were placed into a machine to run over the embossed part with carbon paper between the multi-layer form to transfer the owner info on the receipts.

This credit card was one where a customer could make purchases at several downtown stores, Marshall Field and Co, Mandel Bros, The Fair, Carson, Pirie, Scott and Co, and  Charles A. Stevens. http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-METAL-CHARGE-CARD-CHICAGO-CREDIT-PLATE-SERVICE-MARSHALL-FIELD-CO-EUC-/141887202637?hash=item210922e54d:g:H2wAAOSwKtlWpn7y

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Later on the credit card had a different look. For the gold Rewards card of the 1990s, housed at the Smithsonian, an explanation is provided. “This Marshall Field’s Regards credit card belonged to Ms. Joanne Klein during the 1990s. While a store-issued charge card was once a way to extend credit to reputable customers, by the 1990s they became an avenue for department stores to encourage repeat shoppers and store loyalty by providing perks through store credit cards. For instance, Marshall Field’s Regards card granted the holder a free cup of coffee at the stores’ coffee bar. Store issued cards also gave the store insight into the consumer’s purchasing patterns and shopping behavior.”http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_1450048

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One in the corporate color of green was a late issue:

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Marshall Field and Co did not entirely endorse just using credit. They had banks that looked like earlier cards to save money. (Money one might imagine they hoped you would bring back to the store and spend there.)

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Once the transaction was complete the hat went into a hat box. The most often found ones,on the market these days, are round tan/grey wood-look boxes. Some have a same paper as of the box gummed Fields name label. The gummed backing does not stay on well anymore.

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If you need one of these boxes, here is one on Etsy:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/244080310/50-off-easter-sale-vintage-marshall?ref=shop_home_active_9&ga_search_query=Hat%2Bbox

They have a twisted cord handle, far better than later boxes with a string handle. The green shallow lid square boxes did not even have  a handle.  The oldest box is the one shown at the top of this blog. It is 18″round from the French Room, most likely back in the day when the big hat at a big price could be found in that most elite section of the store. The 28 Shop opened in  1941.

More info on the 28 Shop can be found in another post here, as well as on another blog, by Couture Allure:http://coutureallure.blogspot.com/2012/08/marshall-fields-28-shop.html

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This square hatbox is available with a hat from Fields by an Etsy seller, from Indiana. One wonders if the original owner made a trip to State Street to the Mecca of stores, Marshall Field and Co, or had the hat shipped.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/244080310/50-off-easter-sale-vintage-marshall?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field%20hat%20box&ref=sr_gallery_3

 

Chicago Millinery History: Marshall Field and Co, and Millinery Part 1 March 10, 2016

The store of greatest reknown in Chicago is definitely Marshall Field and Co. It’s history as a shopping Mecca for Chicagoans and many millions of visitors is told in many ways. There are magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books which have been written about the man, Marshall Field, as well as the store. There is an online entry for both on Wikipedia. There are postcards through the decades. There are U-Tube films, the best of which should not be missed. Rebecca V. Larkin does more for the image of the man and the store than any other media out there.

Fashion was a top focus for the store. As Marshall Field V tells Ms. Larkin in her interview of him, “The men made the money, and the women spent it.” http://www.pdxhistory.com/html/marshall_fields.html

Those women spent plenty of it on hats. One enjoyable way to look back in time is through the newspaper advertisements placed by Marshall Field and Co in the Chicago Tribune. The ads go back to 1871. The Chicago Tribune began in 1871.

The first spring following the Chicago Fire of 1871 has advertising in March to tempt people to shop. This March 1, 1872 front page ad collection has none from Marshall Fields in all of the entire 6 page issue. (For ease of reading look at bar on bottom of page for + sign to click to enlarge enough to read.)
http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1872/03/01/page/1/article/display-ad-1-no-title
John V. Farwell, a former partner of Marshall Field has his own enterprise, and he has an ad for his April 1 reopening at Monroe and Franklin.

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Should one worry that Field’s store is not active? No, it has reopened in a barn that was renovated quickly just weeks after the fire. The news reports at that time indicated women were lined up around the block to get in. It may be that word of mouth, and reputation was good enough to have enough trade without advertising.

What the hat salespeople of Field’s might be concerned a bit about are two ads on March 3, 1872. On the front page Walsh and Hutchinson is making it known their wholesale house is operating, and will even provide hotel accommodations for the out of town buyers. Since so many structures burned with the fire, it seems lodging would have been at a prime.

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The other ad is even more concerning for millinery competition. On page 5 the ad shows the opening of the first millinery concern in the former burned area, 258 Wabash, at Jackson. Hewes and Prescott reestablished themselves, but it is not known for how long, as no other documentation of them shows up outside of newspaper ads. http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1872/03/03/page/5

The Field’s and Leiter store, as it was still a partnership of Marshall Field and L. Leiter back then, were advertising on March 4 about special fabric goods, so women could get on track to make some summer gowns. Love the part of the ad at the bottom where one could find Butterick patterns on the second floor. They were still at State and 22nd St, in the barn. http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1872/03/04/page/1

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By Mar 1, 1900 the Field’s ad was about 3/4 of a page in the 12 page newspaper. The big deal was the Silver Sale. Field’s had moved back to the Sate St location in 18__. What lady who went in search of silver would not have been tempted to look at hats as well?http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1900/03/01/page/7/article/display-ad-4-no-title

 

On March 5, tho, the ad was one entire back page. Lots of temptations again for any woman of means to create some dresses, and trim their own hats. Veilings, previously to $.85, were available for $.25/yd. The ribbon choices were extensive. Tho feathers were not mentioned, they certainly would have been in stock, too.http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1900/03/05/page/12/article/display-ad-5-no-title

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A decade later ads were still used, but even better is a drawing of what is being espoused as the latest, a green sailor hat:http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1910/03/01/page/10/article/health-and-beauty

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By 1920 the ads make note in a full page ad that Easter is approaching, and Fields has hats in five departments; French Salon, American Room, Sport Room, English Room, and Hat Shapes and Trimmings.

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Finding hats sold at Fields in the vintage market is not too difficult in the Chicago area. Here are some hats from several vintage sellers showing hats:

Frocks and Frills in Wheaton,IL also is online at Etsy:

Pink beaded hat by Amy

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Lilac floral hat by Marshall Field and Co.

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Black hat by Leslie James

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Straw hat by Mr. John

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Sweet Ginger Vintage in Mayfield, WI, and also online on Etsy:

Straw trilby hat by Marshal Field and Co

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FrouFrou4YouYou on Etsy:

Blue floral hat by Marshall Field & Co.

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Red satin hat by Lemington

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Black feather headband by Marshall Field and Co

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Frocks and Frills hats:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/169741860/on-sale-1950s-pink-sequins-hat-amy-for?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_22

https://www.etsy.com/listing/267792272/on-sale-1960s-lilac-floral-hat-marshall?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_7

https://www.etsy.com/listing/161224109/on-sale-1960s-black-straw-hat-leslie?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_38

https://www.etsy.com/listing/238791047/on-sale-1950s-mr-john-straw-hat-taupe?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_21

Sweet Ginger Vintage:
Straw trilby hat: https://www.etsy.com/listing/258037025/on-sale-fab-ladies-straw-trilby-by?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_35

FrouFrou4YouYou hats:https://www.etsy.com/listing/203180249/blue-floral-hat-with-green-leaves-and?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_38

https://www.etsy.com/listing/190984065/vintage-red-satin-with-rose-cocktail-hat?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_27

https://www.etsy.com/listing/258843480/black-feather-headband-with-shimmering?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_3

 

Chicago Millinery History: Marshall Field and Co’s Forum of International Fashion February 24, 2016

imageSpring 1946 was the first season post WorldWarII when Amrican women could look forward to fashion without the constraints of rationing and serious shortages of options. Marshall Field and Company was ready and raring to go. Some ingenious planning was bringing seventeen US and international designers to the 28 Shop of the State Street store. The Forum of International Fashion was introduced to the public with a full page advertisement in the Chicago Tribune on April 7, 1946, followed each day with an almost full page ad to announce that day’s designer.

To put things in context, after the Forum ad for each day, several other fashion ads are included. Other retailers were not about to let all the attention and discretionary spending go to Marshall Field and Co.

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The names of some of the famous designers are not very familiar 70 years later. Others have stood the test of time, such as the first designer, Elsa Schiaparelli.

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April 8 Elsa Schiaparelli

Italian designer, working in Paris, known for artistic, out of the box creations, and her legacy of the color Shocking Pink. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elsa_Schiaparelli

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Other ads for April 8:

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April 9 Pauline Trigere
French designer, working in New York, who worked for Hattie Carneige before going solo. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauline_Trigère

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Others ads for April 9:

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4/10 Alix Gres
French designer, working in Paris, who claimed her greatest accomplishment was finding Rodier jersey. Also known as Madame Gres, tho her name was actually Germaine Emilie Krebs, and known as Alix Barton.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grès

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Other ads for April 10:

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4/11 Nettie Rosenstein
American designer, working in New York, who created the inaugural gown for First Lady Mamie Eisenhower. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nettie_Rosenstein

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Other ads for April 11:

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April 12 Peter Russell
English designer working in London, he was best known for his suits. Sadly a name rarely, if ever, recalled these days.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Russell_(fashion_designer)

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Other ads  for April 12:

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April 13 Omar Kiam

American designer, working in NY and Hollywood, he was known for movie creations till he left in 1941.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omar_Kiam

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Other April 13  ads:

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April 14 Lucien Lelong
French fashion manufacturer, working in Paris. He worked with designer Pierre Balmain.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucien_Lelong

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Other April 14 ads:

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April 15 Norman Norell
New York designer who worked in costuming, then worked for Hattie Carniege from 1928 until 1941. After a partnership business, he went solo with much success. A vintage dress was worn by First Lady Michele Obama in 2010.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Norell

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Other April 15 ads

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April 16 Pierre Balmain
French designer, who worked in Paris, with several fragrances still worn today. He is known for having recognized the talent of Karl Lagerfeld, now head designer for Chanel, as well as Fendi. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Balmain

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Other April 16 ads:

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April 17 Jo Copeland
American designer, who was well regarded for her After Five designs.
http://marybawa.com/historyofashion/copeland.html

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Other April 17 ads:

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April 18 Anthony Blotta
American designer, known for wool suits and coats.
http://vintagefashionguild.org/label-resource/blotta-anthony/

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Other April 18 ads:

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April 19 Germaine Legroux
Nothing is found online.

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Other ads April 19:

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April 20 Angele Delanghe
Belgian designer working in London, known for soft tailoring.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angele_Delanghe

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Other April 20 ads:

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Marshall Field and Co did not take the day off from the Forum, even tho it is Sunday. Easter Sunday, no less, when many of the finest fashions were worn with pride.

4/21 Adrian, just Adrian. He was one of the most legendary American designers.

American designer, working in Hollywood, known for work in films, the red slippers for Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, and his own couture house.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrian_(costume_designer)

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Ads and the magazine cover from the paper April 21:

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April 22 Hardy Amies
London designer, SIR Edwin Hardy Aimes, best known as official dressmaker to Queen ElizabethII.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardy_Amies

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One April 22 ad, and a back page spread of what was worn that Easter Sunday:

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April 23 Hattie Carnegie
Viennese designer, working in New York, known for her head to hem concept of dressing women, as she started as a milliner. She recognized the talents of Norman Norell, Pauline Trigere, and James Galanos.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hattie_Carnegie

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Other April 23 ads:

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April 24 Balenciaga
Spanish designer, working in Paris, known for evening wear. Also noted is Balenciaga brown, introduced by Marshall Field and Co in 1938. One rarely hears of it much in this century, unlike the Shocking Pink of Schiaparelli.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balenciaga

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Other April 24 ads:

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And so we end the Forum of International Fashion from Marshall Field and Co.  Chicago certainly did have a moment in the sun for fashion in 1946.

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Chicago Millinery History: Elsa Schiaparelli February 23, 2016

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Fabulous books on Elsa Schiaparelli add to the allure of all things ELSA. Especially when the person with the largest collection of her creations has put that story into words. BillyBoy is a fashion geru of this day. His first encounter with “Schiap” creations was a hat he found in a Paris flea market when he was 14. The book comes out July, 2016.

 

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Books of the 21st century written on Elsa have totaled 8 since the 2007 reissue of the 1954 Shocking Life: the autobiography of Elsa Schiaparelli by Elsa Schiaparelli.

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My “book report” could never cover all the fine tidbits from those, so the following is just to wet you appetite for more. Besides the soon to be released book, Frocking Life: Searching for Elsa Schiaparelli, by BillyBoy, there was a charming one released in 2015, written for youth, Hot Pink. Susan Goldman Rubin brings out the best of the story, without the hot tidbits of a sometimes off color life. When the term Shocking Pink was coined to describe her signature color, there was also plenty shocking about her life as well.

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It is also nice to read an adult biography with many fine qualities established from the life of one of the worlds most successful fashion designers. Meryle Secrest brings out plenty in her 2014 book, Elsa Schiaparelli: a biography.

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Also out in 2014 was a collection of unseen family photos, by Schiap’s granddaughter, model, Marisa Berenson. Elsa Schiaparelli’s Album adds new meaning to her love of family.

Who was this woman we revere as a fashion icon between the two world wars?

Born 1890-1973 she left Rome for a life spent back and forth from New York to Paris. In Paris she won the fashion world attention with her sweaters, then moved along the fashion continuum to sportswear to all manner of apparel, including hats and other museum worthy designs.

A fascination with Surealism led to oft references as an artist who worked in fabric. She was the leading designer who based inspiration from Jean Cocteau and Salvador Dali on the backs and heads of women. The Chicago History Museum exhibit in 2008-09, CHIC CHICAGO featured one simple beige dress with the well know jacket of a woman’s hair cascading down the sleeve and profile across the chest.

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Schiaparelli made hats to draw attention to herself, as well as others. It is said the lamb chop hat with a white frill at the bone was the first of her hats to gain attention for the absurd.

Famous women wore her hats. Marlene Deitrich is known for a photo among hats with a cigarette and legs outstretched. Mrs. Daisy Fellows, former Harper Bazaar editor, was the one who wore the shoe hat and brought Americans to their knees in awe over her Schiaparelli look. The shoe hat was originally inspired by Salvadore Dali, a Surrealist artist who collaborated on her fashion design.

 

 

Elsa did animal skin hats, with the face of a big cat looking on as she wore this on her own head. Rather distracting, if I say so myself. Mostly Elsa favored wearing turbans.

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She had one design that was the most copied. It was a knit tube with one end closed, called a MadCap. This was copied by Madcaps company founder Mr. Soloman, who retired a millionaire to Florida. Schiap came to despise the design as she came to see it everywhere. Imitations were sold finally at the five and dime and perhaps those worn on the head of each newborn was the tipping point for her dismay. She then had her staff dispose of any of their design and prohibited talking of it again. The part where imitation is the greatest form of flattery did not work for Schiaparelli.

Top Ten Tidbits on Schiaparelli
#1 Born 9/10/1890, died 11/13/1973.
Born in Italy to a mother of aristocracy ( and some Scottish background), and father a professor and scholar of old coins. Her uncle, was an astronomer who found the canals of Mars. Elsa had an older beautiful sister, but Elsa had “beauty marks” on her face referred to as the Big Dipper, by her uncle.

#2 Hated name Elsa, called herself Schiap.
Even in youth the name Elsa was not acceptable to her, and insisted everyone call her Schiap. Her parent were hoping for a boy, and had no name for a girl. At her christening they chose Elsa, the name of her nurse, not your typical choice. Her youth was anything but dull. She was sent by her family to a Swiss boarding convent school, but her wild side did not fit well with expectations. She went on a hunger strike, which resulted in her father coming to bring her back home, ending the 3 month education. Some near miss marriages occurred, one with a much older man, an Arab while she was 13 and visiting in Tunisia, which her father would not allow. An arranged marriage to a wealthy Russian would not be acceptable to Elsa no matter how hard she was persuaded by her family. She may have been enamored by a lower class fellow, who may have really been the love of her life, as she called out his name several times upon her deathbed.
Once on her own she went to attend a fancy event in Paris, but without a suitable gown she was left to create an emergency outfit. She did not know how to sew, but purchased many yards of fabric and kept it together with pins. While dancing a tango the pins were falling out at an astonishing rate to the point she had to be shielded by her escort to depart before a total unveiling.

#3 Moved to NYC in 1922 but divorced when deserted, age 31.
In 1914 she married a man of questionable repute, a “Count” de Kerlor. She had attended a lecture by him on theosophy, but she did not leave the audience when other attendees left. By morning they were engaged. He, tho, was lured away during their marriage by the charms of Isadore Duncan. Isadore died when her long scarf caught in her car’s axle in 1927 and was strangled. He sought fame in some manner as a psychic detective, and writer. Fortune did not follow. He ended up murdered in Mexico at the age of 39.

#4 One daughter, Gogo. Born Maria Luisa, but then her father deserted mother and child, who had Polio. Some felt Schiap was not close to her daughter, but some thought her ingenious with what she did to support her. The blow that led to speculation was when Gogo married in NY while her mother was in Paris, unaware of the marriage.

#5 Initial success was a knit sweater done in 1927, in Paris. She had left NYC in 1922 and found rejection in Paris, closing in 1926. The sweater was of a knit she had seen made by Armenians. She commissioned them to create for her, which became wildly successful.

#6 Long standing disdain for Coco Chanel.
Chanel was established when Schiap came back to Paris. Very different styles. After WWII there was a downward spiral for Schiap, while Chanel reopened in 1954 with ongoing success, heavily based upon American appreciation.

#7 Signature color legacy Shocking Pink.
It embodied her overall philosophy of shocking people with her actions. Her erotic poetry as a teenager is said to have essentially brought her much criticism from family. Accounts vary if this was when she was 14 or 21. Her fashion designs could be just as provocative, as in the Lobster dress for the trousseau of Wallis Simpson, soon to be Mrs. Windsor.
There was a lamb chop hat worn by Gala Dali, Mrs. Salvatore Dali, with a suit of drawers for pockets.
Daisy Fellows, of Harpers Bazaar, wore the shoe hat, based upon the inspiration of Salvatore Dali.

#8 Autobiography “Shocking Life.”
This 1954 book did not receive critical acclaim, mostly based on the manner in which it was written. Some felt if she would have allowed for a collaboration with a writer, things would have been better.
The 2014 biography, Elsa Schiaparelli by M. Secrest also focused on the speculation that Schiap was a WWII German collaborator. Records are reviewed which were kept monthly by the FBI on her for two and a half years.
In 2013 there was an exhibit of designs by Prada and Schiaparelli in NY.That book is a wonderful review of her work; ” Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations.”

#9 Business bankrupt and closed 1954.
Returned from the US after the war to find her business intact, and reopened. The upswing of the Dior New Look in 1947 was the fashion world favorite, leaving the Hard Chic Schiap designs out cold. Closed in 1954, but licensing was an area in which she excelled. Perfume, lingerie, eyewear, and hats seem to be the likely best fit. Endorsements of other companies became an important aspect as well.

#10 Two granddaughters. Berry Berenson Perkins, (Mrs. Tony Perkins, wife of the actor who died in 1996 of AIDS), had two sons, Oz Perkins and Elvis Perkins. Berry had been a photographer who died in 9/11 when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the Twin Towers. The other granddaughter is Marisa Berenson, actress and model, supportive of the revived Schiaparelli label. Marisa lived with Schiap and had a closeness that may have been greater than she had with her own daughter, Gogo. Marisa faced criticism in the 1970s at her short mini skirt wardrobe from Schiap, even tho Schiap was most known for her controversial designs. Marisa was with her till the end. Her legacy? Beyond the designs, there are others who worked for her early in their careers, such as Hubert Givency, and Pierre Cardin. In 2006 Diego Della Villa bought the company name, and in August 2013 brought on Marco Zanini. The first collection appeared in 2014.The revival of the company has pleased Marisa, and it seems the legacy of fashion may live on.

Hats:Lamb chop, Shoe, Hens Nest, Ink Pot, Telephone, Lobster

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Hats in Chicago?

In April 1946 Marshall Field, and Co held a month long event, Forum of International Fashion. They brought in  seventeen designers from the US and abroad. Elsa Schiaparelli was the first designer to present, on April 8, 1946. The ad for the Forum was an entire page, sure to catch the eye of every female reader.

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http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1946/04/08/page/17/

 

For an overview of the entire Forum, the Chicgao Tribune started off with a full page to  introduce the daily stars: http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1946/04/07/page/189/article/display-ad-165-no-title

(For more information on the Forum, see blog entry of Feb. 24, 2016)

It certainly would be wonderful to have seen those fashions, and the hats made for each ensemble.

Back to the present. Some of the books mentioned are in local libraries, but having those photos to savor again and again is easily accomplished. Visit your local independent bookseller and have them order it, if it is not already in stock. Chicagoans can head to Bookends and Beginning, in Evanston. They are more than willing to order, just call, then visit.http://www.bookendsandbeginnings.com

 

 

 

 

Chicago Millinery History: The Chicago Jubilee of 1931

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What was the 1931 Chicago Jubilee?
City Editor of the Chicago Tribune, Mr. Robert M. Lee, had asked the newspaper publisher to be allowed to take a vacation to Europe. The publisher was not quick to agree, but offered instead if Mr. Lee were able to create a large scale event that benefitted the city, he could consider the request.http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1931/05/16/page/2/article/the-real-story-behind-birth-of-chicago-jubilee

Three weeks later the Jubilee was held in downtown Chicago. Mr. Lee accomplished a significant amount of planning in a very short time. The event consisted of merchants and industry creating assorted focal events across one week, starting May 11, 1931. Most events were scheduled in the evening to boost business, and garner more after work attendees.

A parade of 150 floats one day, another day’s events had 1,500 singers in a caravan singing thru the streets. Fireworks display in Grant Park, and carnival in Pilsen another day were a big daw. Other events: A boxing exhibition at Soldier Field; cute baby contest; High School ROTC unit review at Stagg Field; street dancing on Ohio between St. Clair and Michigan Ave. A tournament was held at Washington Park; a dedication of a replica of Fort Dearborn. Last but not least, the chance for a few fortunate Chicagoans to be a bit richer, with a contest with prizes worth $5,000.

Stores had advertised special merchandise and in-store guests.

Although hat advertisements were scattered throughout the week, the
Saturday ads for the culmination of the week indicate retailers made a good effort to clear end of spring season stock, and bolster sales of the new mesh style hat.
Saks Fifth Avenue held a sale on the main floor of millinery for 200 hats at $5, usually priced $25. Junior hats on the third floor were just $3.50 with hats of values to $15 were available.

Milgrim Hats on South Michigan Blvd were marked down to $10 from $35. Marshall Field featured sample hats for $10 on their 5th floor.

Mandels was featuring a $5 mesh hat for summer, a new fabric it seems. Carson Pirie Scott and Co called it a “Rag of a Hat” in 10 colors and charged $5.25.

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Other stores also had bargains, like

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For the woman not looking for a big bargain, but her basic summer hat, a nice Panama straw would be a good investment. Maurice L. Rothschild at State and Jackson had Stetson Pamama straws for $15. Other Panama straws ranged from$7.50-$30.

This is was an ideal time to really advertise for gift giving for Mother’s Day:

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There were probably some shoppers who were not going to get into the city, so Marshall Field added additional full page ads for the Evanston and the Oak Park stores:

 

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A Tribune article on May 31, 1931 indicates merchants found the Jubilee a major success and stimulus for trade. It seems the city had gone through a difficult winter, which was no surprise since this was the Depression. The Tribune publisher, and City Editor Mr. Lee had done well for the city.

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1931/05/19/page/14/article/the-lessons-of-the-jubilee

The event for Mr. Lee culminated by taking the trip to Europe, sailing May 16 on the Il de France.

 

Chicago Millinery History: Spring 1956 January 26, 2016

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Spring is headed for Chicago in 1956 and it will be most welcome. March advertisements in the Chicago Tribune newspaper tease readers with fresh new coats and hats. Clearly too soon to be worn just yet, tho the temperature was predicted to be mid 50s, on March 1. This is warm enough to happily anticipate the warmth of spring soon to come. Easter arrives April 1, so it is not too soon to decide just what hat to wear.

The Fair features a large expanse of fabric coat, but the icing on the cake is a cherry hat. Roberta Bernays designs run $12.98, in seven colors, including Dior blue, available on the third floor Millinery Salon. For the cherry lover these would have been a bargain, as later in the week one would have to go to Evanston or Highland Park to Edgar A. Stevens to pick their cherry hats from $27.50-$35.

Carson, Pirie, Scott and Co has a three day special of hats for a mere $8. But if you wanted a real bargain of a white hat, head to Sears for the $2.55 sale!

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For those with deeper pockets there is excitement at Mandel Bros on March 1, and March 2 in the French Room, on 5, at the State St store. Russ Russell, a Chicago milliner, will be sharing his “Portrait of a Lady” hats, ranging from $29.50-$45.

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Some more devoted to high fashion would want to wait a bit to see the newest from Paris. Rea Steeger reports “From Paris to Chicago by Air” features Givenchy, Dior, Fath, and Sven creations. The high end copies and originals would likely show up at Marshall Field’s within a few short weeks.

 

March 2, a Friday, had only one hat shown, at Charles A. Stevens, for $10.95. Friday newspapers focused on food and all the grocery ads to send the homemaker in the right direction for Kraft Velvetta cheese, one pound for $.47.

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March 3, Saturday has nine hats shown, within a feature on suits, showing interest for suits in the back as well as the front. This article in the Today With Women pages, shows fashions sold at Charles A. Stevens.

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March 4, and things improve with the Sunday paper. A $3.98 lilac hat at Lane Bryant, and a $3.19 hat at Goldblatt’s department store. The paper features many mid price and lower department store multiple page ads. Great if you are looking for furniture or household items, not great for hats.

The Fair showed one for $7.95 by Chapeaux Louise, and Hats by Sue showed a hatbox, stating hats were $5-$25.

The Wilson Hat Shop on S. Ashland had one hat featured for $10.95.

The 53year old Gately’s dept store on the south side was showing a small hat for $5.98.
Jan Bark, who created hats in Chicago, was doing a special appearance at The Fair with a hat shown priced at $16.95.

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Stanley Korshak has a striking hat with scarf for $39.50.

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The best news is offered by Carson, Pirie, Scott, who will be starting a series of fashion shows, featuring millinery as of Tues. March. 6, at the Empire Room of the Palmer House. Although the 3/4 page ad mentions the show, the drawings are of dresses by Mollie Parnis, Herbert Sondheim, Anna Miller, Harvey Berin, Oleg Casinni, and Adele Simpson. Some of the names are still well recognized today.

March 5, Monday starts a new fashion week. Saks Fifth Avenue is showing Coconut Meringues, priced at $17.95 for a Blinker Bonnet, and $18.95 for a Breton, in navy, white, black or beige. They could be found in Moderate Priced Hats on the 5th floor at 669N. Michigan Ave.

 

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Bonwit Teller, at 830N. Michigan Ave featured a daisy chain hat for $35 by Irene of New York, in white, yellow, pink, navy and black. The best part was one could meet Irene while in store Tues or Wed.
Mandel Bros shows a $29.50 Model T Skimmer Straw. On the other hand the Today With Women article shows a photo of a very similar hat, again called a Model T, by Irene of New York at her appearance at Bonwit Teller in white, certainly priced higher than the Mandel Bros one.

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Marshall Field’s Budget Store has rolled out all the stops with $3.30 hats.

 

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Carson, Pirie, Scott and Co has gone all out with a full page ad, showing hats and shoes. The hats were by Sally Victor for $79.50, Sam Budwig for $20, Mr. Arnold for $45, Mr. Phil for $20, Wm. Silverman for $29.50, and Chanda for $69.50.

March 6, reveals Maurice L. Rothschild has told of an upcoming fashion show Wed, March 7, of hats, including their own line of Ronnie hats. Also to be shown by Miss Mary Wyman, a NY hat stylist, were those of Mr. Arnold, H. Howard Hodge, Alfreda, Gardner, Helen Joyce, Mr. John Jr, Chanda, Phil Strann, Silverman and Adrienne. For added allure would be 3 hats awarded as door prizes. A special pair of photos by the newspaper show 2 hats to be included in the event; one a Pilgrim Breton by Mr. Arnold for $55, and Salad Bowl by Ronnie for $15.
Other ads have a straw swathed in organza shown by Saks Fifth Ave from $25-$29.95.
Kay’s Millinery Supply 17 N. Wabash, ( formerly 320 Michigan Ave) has sample hats $2 -$5, as well as flowers from $.10-$.50.

 

March 7 has only one small hat ad from Stevens for a little “belt and buckle” hat for $7.95. The real interest for fashion reading is the article by Rea Steeger on the narrow silhouette. Photos are shown of a narrow skirted suit at Carson, Pirie, Scott and Co, gowns at Bonwit Teller and Elizabeth Arden, and one photo of a large oversize inverted bowl of a hat, from Elizabeth Arden. Elizabeth Arden? Yes, from the 1910 cosmetic company, which was started by Florence Nightingale Graham of Canada, who dropped out of nursing school to move to NY and follow her dream. The fashion show, sponsored by the Chicago Fashion Group, was held at the Morrison Hotel, built in 1925, but torn down in 1965 for the First National Bank Building.

March 8 Cherries on hats are now appearing on hats at Sears, for $3.99.
A full page hat ad for Marshall Fields shows six hats priced $13.95 to $69.50.
Mandel Bros has an $8.95 trio of hats “Snow White dwarfs all others for Easter”, including a hat with the hottest trend, cherries.

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March 9 took a break from hats in the newspaper, but then March 10 made up for it.
Carson, Pirie, Scott and Co has a vine covered cloche for $7.95, but their real story is a fashion show for teens, including several hats mentioned and shown. The article mentions teens are invited and it will be “complete with soft drinks on the house.” The hats shown at the event were Betmar and Madcaps priced from $5.95-$7.95.

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March 11 is a big day for advertising household items, and a pink washer and dryer for $339 shows a woman in her suit and hat heading out for the afternoon as she is now free from the time consuming ways of the old days to handle that laundry chore. It is hard to be tempted by the “sissy sailor” hat by Jane Morgan for $6.98 at Madigan’s, when there is a PINK washer and dryer to be purchased.

Lane Bryant lilac hats for $6.98 look just like the hat they advertised on March 4, or perhaps lilacs were such a big hit they bought more, though at a higher price.
The main article of the Women’s page is “Spectacular Hats For Spring Call for Brighter Eye Makeup: Don’t Look All Hat and No Face,” by Eleanor Nangle. The photos show two hats by Tatiana of Saks Fifth Ave, and one each from Emme, Mr. John of John Frederic’s, and Laddie Northridge.

March 12, has an ad from Weiboldts for a Doree wide brim hat for $18.95, but it probably gained far less attention than the ones from The Fair.
The Fair advertises a hat by John Frederic’s for $52.50. Hats ranged from $ 15.95 to $69.50. Names mentioned also included Vincent deKoven, Leslie James, Schiaparelli, Suzy Lee, Agnes, H. Howard Hodge, Adrienne, and John Andrews.

A news insert photo is captioned with an enticement to a striped beret and scarf set at Lytton’s Chapeaux Boutique, for $13.95.

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March 13 Marshall Field’s full page “Pace” ad reveals great pride as customers are invited to the first and only U.S. appearance of noted Parisian milliner, Svend. Svend was from Denmark tho studied in France, before having shops in Denmark and Sweden. He had worked with Jacques Fath, before striking out on his own. Five hat photographs reveal all different designs. Even if purchasing a hat was not in the budget, one could attend a fashion show of his hats in the Walnut Room for only $1.50.

The day before an import fashion show had been held at the Mayfair Room of the Sheraton Blackstone Hotel, where 250 women had the first glimpse of Svend and his hats, along with a primarily Dior clothing presentation.

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Carson, Pirie, Scott and Co also had a full page ad, of “Oh, those beautiful blondes.” Featuring pearls, gloves, handbags, hose, all in shades of white, plus one hat for $16.95. Very lovely ad, but not nearly as exciting as a real live Parisian milliner.

March 14 had plenty of ads for mink stoles, but hats were absent. March 15 shows a hat at Kerman’s on Michigan Ave for $12.95, but it barely holds your attention once you see the Carson, Pirie, Scott and Co ad for Miss Lee. The noted Chicago television personality would be present for two showings of hats, and the event was to include a contest for one of ten Sam Budwig hats. To win, one had to provide a written entry response to “Why I Like the BIG change in hats.”
Weiboldt’s placed a half page ad with seven hats ranging from $6.99 -$15.99.

March 16 includes a different approach to hat shopping, the mail order. A little ad with a form to complete and mail in to Bonwit Teller at 830 N. Michigan Ave, and $7.95 brings you a rose covered headband hat by Brod. Many colors to select from, or perhaps one should get a few different ones. If a trip to the store was possible, they could found on the first floor in the Headband Dept. They must have stocked a great many to call it a whole department.

Hat reporting and ads took a day off on March 17, though plenty of green ones were most likely worn, it was St. Patrick’s Day. March 18 and the Sunday Tribune brought out far more ads, as now Easter was just 2 weeks off. Goldblatt’s has hats for $6, and Lord’s in Evanston has an $18 platter style hat. While in Evanston, or up in Highland Park, the Edgar A. Stevens had a $15 capulet of flowers. Hats by Sue has another ad this month, for those who shopped north side local on Irving Park or Central.
Big things are happening downtown, tho. Bonwit Teller will have Miss Emme present Monday, and Marshall Field’s State St store shall have the hot designer, Laddie Northridge.

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Where to go first? Since the Chicago Tribune Magazine insert article on Easter fashion shows a charming $95 Laddie Northridge hat, Marshall Filed’s probably had a better turnout. They also had a Lilly Dache hat for $98, and a Mr. John for $75 shown too.

 

March 19 has a full page ad for Carson Pirie Scott with hats from $10-$49.50, including hats by Louis of California, Sam Budwig and Mr. John.
Stevens little ad shows a $7.98 number. Mandel Bros has a hat for $14.95, but of interest is their Easter Coupon book for $25. One bought the coupon book on credit to be paid off over months, to purchase Easter clothing and accessories. By the time the hat is paid off, it is out of style.

Weibolt’s has hats $7.99 and $8.99, with The Fair $7.98, and Maurice L. Rothschild at $12.99.

Best news yet? Goldblatt’s has CHERRY hats for $3.99.

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Today is the day many have waited for, the full page article on women’s hats with flowers, showing a selection of nine flowered beauties. Front and center is a Laddie Northbridge at Marshall Fields. The others are Mr. Fred of John-Frederics at Bramson, and the pretty things at Martha Weathered, Carson, Pirie, Scott and Co, Charles A Stevens, Mandel Bros, Bonwit Teller, and Saks Fifth Ave.

Pickings are slim, as March 20 shows no hat ads, and March 21 has only one from Charles A. Stevens for $29.98.

March 22 has one wondering if Bonwit Teller has hit on a marketing miracle as this week again they have a mail in ad for a hat, a straw Breton for $8.95 by Jauntee.

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Also advertising is Saks Fifth Avenue with a $22.95 “white lace cobweb.”

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March 23 and March 24 have no ads, but do not fret, March 25 boasts a Bonwit Teller Balenciaga hat for $45 of blue meringue glacé with pleats. Goldblatt’s has $7.99 and $9.99 hats as the only others shown.
March 26 has Mandel Bros for $16.95, and Carson Pirie Scott and Co for $8.95.

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March 27 has nothing, but fortunately Marshall Filed’s has saved an ad for March 28. The $20 Lemington hat is a “1956 revival of the 1910 cloche.” It looks nothing like what we would call a cloche today. It appears more like an oversized pillbox that comes down over the brow with an indented crown.

For anyone who avoided hat shopping things are getting down to the wire. March 29 only shows a $ 8.95 blonde hat at Edgar A. Stevens, up in Evanston or Highland Park, or $5 straws at The Fair.

March 30 is Good Friday, and not a big fashion shopping day, with food featured in ads to get the holiday meal goodies. March 31 is the last chance for those who have neglected things far too long, although there are no hat ads to show you where to find your hat.

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Perhaps what you are really looking for is an after Easter bargain. Sunday April 1 does not disappoint. Goldblatt’s has 50,000 hats for $2 each. YES, $2. But if you wished you had purchased that Lane Bryant Lilac hat, never fear, it is back again at $3.99