Dating to c. 1953/4, this grey fur felt pillbox made by Hattie Carnegie for I Magnin features sculptured folds that give it a stepped look, and has a front grosgrain accent with flat, origami-like bow.
Lined in sheer grey organza, through which the “Splendide, Body Made in France” stamp in the crown is visible, the hat is labelled “Hattie Carnegie Styles Exclusive With I. Magnin & Co.”.
By the early 1950s, Hattie Carnegie’s fashion empire and her reputation as a woman of impeccable (and influential) taste had been established for decades. She was not a fashion designer herself, but rather a milliner with a keen eye and uncanny ability to attract major talent (Norell, McCardell, Trigere, etc) to her employ. She was also the first “custom”designer to produce special wholesale designs for ready-to-wear retailers, and had begun her relationship with I. Magnin in 1925.
Carnegie showed a number of pillboxes in 1953 and 1954, in everything from wool velour and doeskin to velvet and shantung, sometimes tilted jauntily but often placed squarely on the head and with front center accent of some kind, like this one. She also showed grey suits and dresses often in that period (including a grey cashmere dress with grosgrain trim).
Measuring 22” around the inner grosgrain headsize ribbon, the hat has a crown height of 3 ½” and is excellent condition with no flaws to note.
Proud Member of the VFG Vintage Fashion Guild