Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hat Histories: Hattie Carnegie

Today on hat histories we take a quick gander over the millinery work of Hattie Carnegie. Born Henrietta Kanengeiser in Austria (in either 1880 or 1889, sources differ), her family emigrated to New York in 1900. Like so many other milliners I have featured here on hat histories, Carnegie started out working at Macy's, the millinery counter at Macy's sure was a springboard! She opened up her first shop with a business partner (Rose Roth) in 1909, later buying out Rose's share of the company and changing the name to Hattie Carnegie INC in 1919. I feel like the only thing you really have to know about this woman to understand her immediately was that she took the name Carnegie as her own--then the name of possibly the richest man in America at the time she choose it as her new moniker! Clearly she was all in on the "American Dream".

Funny enough, even through she became a very popular milliner and fashion designer, Carnegie couldn't sew. She was a designer not a seamstress, and above all had impeccable and discerning taste! From humble beginnings she built her own fashion empire, at one time worth 8 million dollars. Doesn't she sound like the most wonderful woman? Famous for her chic suiting, she even won a congressional medal of freedom from the US government for her updated Women's Army Corps uniform design. Her clothing designs, influenced by the designers she mingled with on trips to Paris, were certainly gorgeous, but as this is hat histories, lets take a look at some...

Late 1940's, MET
 All of my favorite things: Straw hats, velvet, and bees!

1945, MET
1940, MET
1938, MET

1937, MET
1935-1940, MET
1949, MET
1940's, MET
Early 1950's, MET
University of North Texas
University of North Texas
1950/55, UNT
1930?, UNT
1955?, UNT
1950, UNT
1940~, UNT
1955, UNT
UNT
UNT
1955, UNT
UNT
It seems University of North Texas has quite the collection of Carnegie hats! I'm jealous, I'd love to add several of these to my own collection for sure! What is it about hats? They are just the most wonderful thing, I can never get enough of them! In fact, I am rather late in publishing this post tonight as I spent all day (literally ALL day) making a hat! Its not even for me...but it's supposed to be a surprise so I'll say no more ;)


8 comments:

  1. Magnificent examples of Hattie's work. I cannot think of her creations and not see visions of feathers, as many of the examples here highlight. She was such a master of them and in many ways, her work somewhat kept alive the late Victorian and Edwardian tradition of using them liberally in millinery work (not that it died out after that time frame, it didn't of course, but few famous designers used them as generously - or, perhaps even more so, creatively - on hats as she did).

    Thank you very much for another stellar installment in this series. I lap up each and every one of them!

    Huge hugs & endlessly happy New Year's wishes, my beautiful friend!
    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Thanks Jessica! She definitely seems a master of feathers to me, I never thought to make the connection to their Edwardian use and her early start in the business. It seems she never tired of them, and neither do I!

      And Happy New Year to you as well! I hope the holidays have been good to you and yours <3 Look for something in the mail soon :)

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  2. I've heard of this milliner, but never looked into her history. I had no clue she just changed her name to Carnegie, I assumed she was part of the family, haha!
    Thank you for enlightening me!
    I can't wait to see what hat you're creating~ Happy New Year!

    Carla, Tiny Angry Crafts

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    1. I think it is just too funny she chose such a famous/wealthy name for herself, clearly she always had big plans!

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  3. A pretty amazing selection of hats. I really like some of the later beaded ones and all the ones with velvet ribbon!

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  4. I just recently sold a Hattie Carnegie hat! It was really lovely and went all the way to Germany! :)

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    1. I love when I sell something to somewhere far away, it reminds me just how large the vintage loving community is!

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