Saturday, March 08, 2008

Millinery: The Price is Right!

So you've been reading my blog for awhile, and are starting to feel just a tiny bit hat savvy. Or maybe a LOT of bit hat savvy.


Prove it.

Here's a photo of a vintage hat in the March edition of a famous fashion magazine. (Update: I have learned that the hat is a newly created concoction using one of a kind vintage materials)
Cute, huh?
HOW cute is the question though.
How much do you think this little veiled pillbox is going for?

(Don't peek until you have decided what you think it is priced at.)

You got your price?

Then start scrolling down.

The correct answer: $465 USD
The hat is from Ellen Christine millinery
Ellen often supplies Vogue and Harper's with vintage (update: and newly created) hats at eye popping prices.
(Update: Re Ellen's comment in the comments...the hat has SOLD! Bravo Ellen!)

The picture is part of a one page spread in the current March 2008 Vogue magazine, where one woman talks about style.
I thought it was interesting to note that the magazine mention Schiaparelli several times, and then slipped in a picture of one of her signature hat boxes as well.
Shoot, I see Schiaparelli hats in their original Schiaparelli hat boxes on ebay about once a month.
Usually they go for a whole lot less than $195....for example, here's one box and hat on auction even as I type!
Just thought you'd be interested in knowing more about vintage hats.
If you rather liked the pillbox, may I suggest you go on ebay, type in "pillbox hat veil" and enjoy looking at same kinds of pillbox hats priced at a fraction of the one above.
(If you want to, leave a comment about how much you *thought* the pillbox hat was going for!)


Kate said...

As you know, we both have much better looking vintage hats than that pillbox. What do those stylists know anyway? Not much! Hurry yourself to the movies to see Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Talk about character hats - especially that little veiled number. Oh la la la la la. It's been many years too since I heard an audience applaud at the end.
Enjoy! K Q;-)

Cristina de Prada - milliner said...

We are all laughing at that, but what about "newbies" that think "it would be nice to wear a hat, let's buy a vintage one...". After seeing that price tag I would decide to go bare headed!
It's totally ridiculous and out of touch with reality!
Ah well... I think nobody is fooled by that, we all have ebay at the end of our fingertips! Price is not an excuse to go without a hat.

Ellen Christine Couture said...

Okay, guys.....for the record: it's not a vintage hat! I made it from vintage (c. 1950) plaid silk organza, in a tiny pill box shape, which I make by hand, by the way. The feathers are Edwardian, from my archival feather collection, and the veiling is c. 1930 silk face veiling, from France. None of the ingredients are readily available on today's market, and so the price reflects not only the hand made craft, but the irreplaceable elements of the design.
Sorry to disappoint, but I welcome any and all criticism always. And I'm happy to refute, when I deem it applicable.
When in NYC, do drop in for a visit....yes, we carry vintage hats, for collectors, stylists, and designers as inspiration, but we do 5 full collections every year, of our own original designs, for men and women.
We work very closely with the stylists and editors at Conde Nast,and lots of other publication houses... and although it wasn't the best picture of my little hat, we love it nonetheless.
P.S. It sold!
Ellen Christine

Julie said...

Ok.. so the hat wasn't authentic vintage.. but close enough , huh Ellen?? 'milinery education ' via your blog must have taken root somewhere because my price guess was $450.00 ... How about that ??

Anonymous said...

Guess I wasn't paying close enough attention...I was way off on that price!

I'll probably be a bit slow in commenting (and posting) for the next few weeks. Looks like things are being pushed up in our timeline. So much to very little time!

Anonymous said...

sorry, ladies, but with the exception of cristina your gear looks decidedly tired (particularly the straw with the red mess on top.......sure, there's heaps of crushed and mildewy 50's (more often early 60's, mass manufactured) stuff on ebay or whatever, but unless properly restored they usually look like bad halloween.

i've been a professional milliner, formally trained, for 20 years-if a hat suits the wearer, the price is immaterial. see lily dache.

a custom made hand stitched hat bears no resemblance to the church rummage sale stuff you no doubt buy. and, by the way, a proper hat in the 40's often ran as much as $200.00.

oh, and it's schiaparelli with an 'I', not an 'E'.

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Dear Anonymous commenter:

I guess I need to document that I spelled Elsa Schiaparelli as it was spell on the hat box and on her webpage, and in the biographical dictionary. It is an odd word to spell...perhaps it has serveral variations?

My purpose in posting "The Price is Right!" was to point out that millinery IS, and always has been expensive, and rightly so.
My comment about ebay was meant to encourage people to explore the idea of wearing hats by looking at ebay items, and purchasing them if they struck their fancy.

I am also aware that many people cannot afford $465 for a single hat; it would be a shame for them to eschew millinery simply because of financial restraints.

I personally own several professional handmade millinery pieces by current well known milliners, and readily paid the $200-$300 for the beautiful creations.

I also enjoy owning hats made by Schiaparelli, Frank Olive, John Fredrick, Sally Victor, Vera Whistler, and other historical designers, all of which were acquired on ebay. I attended the Schiaparelli show at the Philadephia Museum of Art with my very own Schiaparelli hat on my head, a happy acquisition from ebay.

I regret that you did not care for my millinery creations or my personal millinery collection. It suits me and my life style, which may not in any way be similar to yours.

Cristina's work is lovely, and of course you were right in complimenting her.

I hope you will enjoy reading my thoughts about millinery and life in general. Millinery is a hobby, and an interest of mine; while I have sold my creations and have been commissioned to create millinery for several occasions, I am blessed with a financial situation that makes it possible for me to create for my own enjoyment, be it good or bad.

Thank you for taking the time to comment, you thought were direct and lively.


Cristina de Prada - milliner said...

Apologies, where apologies are due.
I gave a pretty strong opinion but I had no idea that this was a new, handmade hat, using vintage material (and neither did Jill!). So Ellen, please accept my apologies because what I said was not applicable to your beautiful pillbox.
Having said that, why should a top class hat not cost 400+ USD? Does the time we invest on making them, material we use and uniqueness of the final product not justify it?
I think it does, and one of the reasons I have not yet considered pursuing a millinery career (other than the fact that I'm just a wannabe) is that people are not ready to pay for what a hat (the way I like to make them) is worth.
So hats off to Ellen for finding people ready to fork off what the hats are worth!

Marie Christopher said...

I really enjoy my vintage hats -- many same labels as yours, Jill. It is not difficult to spiff them up correctly and quite an honor to wear them ---- all purchased on Ebay and at antique shops and fairs.

And, I am proud to wear hats professionally made by you and Kate. I love my Katrinkas and my Jills.

Onward! Through the anonymous fog.

Jane Carlstrom said...

It has taken me awhile to digest this and come to terms with it.

In the long run-------

I appreciated the spunky and informative reply by Ellen Christine, especially that she signed her name.

The response by Anonymous, came across to me as nasty, we are potential customers Now, I am very hesitant of buying from someone who claims to be an established professional milliner. I will always wonder if that is "the one."

I was also afraid that if I stuck my words out, Anonymous, might come to my blog and make nasty comments about my millinery efforts.

So sad, because, each of us has a place in the hatting world. Many of us begin with vintage hats because we can afford higher quality there than we can in newly created hats. And like ladygrande states, there are ways to clean and fix those old beauties. Indeed, that is how I learned about blocking and working with felts and straws. Yes, we ladies not formally trained but with motivation and love can "properly restore" vintage hats.

It is wonderful that there is a market for expensive hats, and it is super that some milliners receive those prices.

I'm not at that level and indeed, do not target that audience. My goal is to get some neat hats (hats people buying them think are neat,) and of good quality, out to people, who like myself are in a mid-middle class bracket, also to receive reasonable compensation. My goal is not to be a production milliner or a tony milliner, just one who puts out a few nice hats that allow other women to feel and look great.

I appreciated Ellen's comment on the photography. Though, it seems to me that many of the young professional class today look at things much differently than those of us 50 and over - things not in a perfect light or pose, things more edgy, seem to appeal to them; and things put in those lights sell better to that group.

Oh well, those are some of my thoughts and reactions.

Oh wait, I did think that the Schiaparelli box was about right on price, as it seems to still be the "shocking pink" original color, most are faded and do not command near so high a price. The faded girls are the kind, I can afford and have and love even though they are not mint.

So Jill, in the end, I applaud you for writing about hats, for enjoying hats, for sharing that joy with others and generating thought and comment on hats; for encouraging others to wear and enjoy the hat of their choice.

Hat on!


You can publish this or not, as you see fit. Thanks again for making my world a hattier and happier one.