Mad Men Era 7: Millinery

June 4, 2012 § 3 Comments

Carolyn model Cassandra Jean Tomorrowland Mad Men Season 4

Carolyn (Cassandra Jean) in “Tomorrowland” (Mad Men, Season 4)

This week, four milliners who licensed their designs with Vogue in the early Sixties: Sally Victor, John Frederics, Guy Laroche, and Halston.

Sally Victor

Sally Victor (1905-1977) was one of the United States’ most prominent and successful milliners. She began her career as a department store buyer in the 1920s; after her marriage to the milliner ‘Serge’ (Sergiu Victor) she turned to designing hats, first for her husband’s salon and, from 1934, at her own custom millinery studio. Victor was known for her wearable yet sophisticated designs showing a diversity of influences.

Vogue 9992 is a pillbox hat with a large bow on the right-hand side:

Vogue 9992 1960s hat pattern Sally Victor

Vogue 9992 by Sally Victor (c. 1960) Pillbox with bow. Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

John Frederics

John-Frederics was founded in 1929 by partners John P. Harberger (1902-1993) and Frederic Hirst (1906-1964). The duo designed hats for Hollywood productions including Gone With the Wind (1939), in which Vivien Leigh wore their straw hat. The label has a confusing history because of the partners’ subsequent name-changes: John P. Harberger changed his name twice, first to John Frederics and later, after the partnership dissolved in 1948, to John P. John; he designed solo as Mr. John, and Frederic Hirst as Mr. Fred. (Vogue also had Mr. John patterns in the 1950s.) It was Hirst who continued the John-Frederics label into the early 1960s.

Vogue 5384 is a simple but dramatic toque with fold-over detail and jewel embellishment:

Vogue 5384 1960s John Frederics hat pattern

Vogue 5384 by John Frederics (1961) Toque. Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Guy Laroche

Guy Laroche (featured in my previous Mad Men era post) started out as a millinery designer. I have seen one hat pattern by Laroche: Vogue 5336, described on the envelope back as a ‘profile toque’ trimmed with knot-tied ends. Version B has contrast trim:

Vogue 5336 by Guy Laroche 1960s hat pattern

Vogue 5336 by Guy Laroche (1961) Toque. Image via eBay.

Vogue 5336 was featured in the August/September 1961 issue of Vogue Pattern Book (second from the left):

Vogue Pattern Book illustration August/September 1961 hats

Illustration from Vogue Pattern Book, August/September 1961.

Halston

Born Roy Halston Frowick, Halston (1932-1990) also started out as a millinery designer. In 1957 he opened his own hat shop in Chicago; by 1959 he had relocated to New York to design hats for Bergdorf Goodman. He achieved fame as a milliner when Jacqueline Kennedy wore his pillbox hat to John F. Kennedy’s 1961 presidential inauguration. Vogue’s hat patterns refer to him as Halston of Bergdorf Goodman.

Vogue 7082 is a set of flower-like bridal headpieces made of soft fabric ‘petals':

1960s Halston pattern: Vogue 7082 by Halston of Bergdorf Goodman 1960s bridal headpieces pattern

Vogue 7082 by Halston of Bergdorf Goodman (c. 1965) Bridal headpieces. Image via eBay.

Vogue 7082 was promoted with the wedding dress pattern Vogue 1745 (see pattern images here). The bridal headpieces are similar to this green one, pictured in Vogue magazine in April 1963:

Vogue ad Halston hat headpiece 1963

Halston headpiece, Vogue, 1 April 1963. Image via Etsy.

This group of milliners, old and new, seem to reflect the fortunes of millinery in the twentieth century. By the Sixties, Sally Victor and John-Frederics were established labels run by senior designers nearing the ends of their careers, while the younger designers, Guy Laroche and Halston, were to leave millinery to focus on fashion design.

Next: McCall’s New York Designers: Bill Blass, Geoffrey Beene, and Anne Klein.

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