Hats by Madame Paulette

Hats have always been the key element to complete a woman’s outfit, even hundreds of years ago. Back then, ladies used to wear them constantly, not only because of their beautiful and original shapes, but also because of the lack of makeup as a common tool – hairdressers were not so easy to find.

In the beginning of the XIX century, makeup was considered quite vulgar for women who were not actresses. Consequently, the main utilities of the hat were to protect and to adorn. It surely represented the perfect solution to be on vogue and feel comfortable.

After the Second World War things started to change: people became poorer and poorer, Americans moved to Europe and makeup begun to be more commercial as well as hairdressers, whose services became cheaper. From that moment on, hats started to be seen as a superfluous and expensive, almost useless, item for most of the people.

We still have images in our minds of those beautiful actresses playing romantic roles and wearing cool, huge and bizarre hats. But there was a woman in Paris who contributed to make this fashion item really popular, stylish and, above all, part of the history. Her name was Madame Paulette and everybody used to know her special creations. A book about her art will be published on April 22th. Hats by Madame Paulette will trace the creative process of the so-called ‘Queen of milliners’, who grabbed the enthusiasm of Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn and Princess Grace of Monaco, just to name a few. Annie Schneider has curated the tome that aims to be a guide that showcases diverse images and stories. Some pictures taken by acclaimed photographers such as Avedon, Newton, Horst and Klein, will be featured, too.

Francesca Crippa