As a milliner, Lilly Dache began her career in the early 1920's when she saved her earnings and bought out her then employer, The Bonnet Shop and opened her own millinery salon. It was an instant success!
By the 1930's her business had grown to include a line in bags and other accessories.
Lilly also began to design hats for movies to compliment the dresses of Hollywood designer Travis Banton.
She was the most famous milliner of her era, particularly in New York, at a time when hats were as important and sometimes even more important than the dresses they were worn with.
From the mid 1930's to 40's hats were de rigueur, milliners and designers were constantly trying to out do each other in terms of over-the-top fabulousness and Dache's were amongst the most outrageous.
Lilly Dache hat and jacket as featured in 1948 Revlon advert (image courtesy of H Prints)
(Caroline would consider trading her beloved cat for a hat like this!)
Her major contributions to millinery included draped turbans, brimmed hats molded to the head, half hats, visored caps, coloured snoods and romantic massed-flower shapes.
She had a vast movie star clientele from Marlene Dietrich, Betty Grable, Carole Lambord, and Joan Crawford to Lorreta Young, who actually bought the last 30 hats in Dache's collection before her retirement in 1968.
Carmen Miranda in a Lily Dache Pom Pom Hat
Delores Del Rio
Images courtesy of Movie Star Makeover
I was practically drooling over these hats whilst writing. I love how they are so unusual and still feel contemporary.
So next time you have an event that you need to make a statement at, start with the hat and work your way down!