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!


  1. "She's so swishy in her satin and tat
    In her frock coat and bippity-boppity hat"


  2. i understand you more,
    now that you've shed light on granmama.

    1. Oh, my dear - all too true. Someday I'm going to write something about both grandmothers, each in her own a Remarkable Creature...

  3. Gosh, but your grandmother sounds glamorous! I'm in awe. While yours was in her Dache...mine (God love her) was dipping snuff, I'm afraid.

  4. I remember hearing her discussed, and my mother had a few of her hats, though not the flamboyant ones as mother's mantras was "never wear anything trendy- good fashion is timeless".

  5. What a lovely post! Dache and John Fredericks had the most stylish hats.

  6. I love your description of your grandmothers hats: "...beautifully draped tocque in oyster satin, a little miracle of grave elegance, as well as a more festive number in mauve velvet...."

    Very well done!