Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Birthday Girl: Hat Sister
Let's wish a very happy 114th to an American pioneer, once the most famous milliner in the world: Miss Lilly Daché. We see her here in one of her trademark creations, a broadbrimmed combination of latticework and flowers that must have cast extremely flattering shadows in the right light.
Daché's name may not be quite as recognizable today as those of other fashion giants of her era (which spanned the '30s to the '60s), but it still has a certain cachet (and not just because it rhymes). She lives on, if nothing else, in the mocking second verse of the lovely song "Tangerine": "Tangerine / She is all they say / With mascara'd eye and chapeaux by Daché!"
Myself, I remember her because of Grandmother Muscato's hats, the very best of which were Dachés picked up during her trips to the big cities (Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and the occasional whirl of New York). She wore them long after their creator retired in the late '60s (to the highly un-fashion-sounding Delray Beach, Florida, of all places), and I even had a few, for a while, after Grandmother left us for the Celestial Fitting Room in the Sky (lost, alas, along with so many other minor treasures, in the Great Fire of 1988). I particularly recall an extremely beautifully draped tocque in oyster satin, a little miracle of grave elegance, as well as a more festive number in mauve velvet, with a swoop of silk lilacs that tumbled dramatically down one side, offset by a wave of velvet-dotted netting in the same shade.
In addition to her hattery, Miss Daché was a pioneer of brand diversity, adding to her line not only some rather predictable accessories such as gloves and stockings, but also neckties and other sundries, eventually even selling her name for use in a line of men's shirts. You can find samples of all, should you be so inclined, out there in the great Internet bazaar. Just remember - if you see that lilac velvet number, I want it back!