Monday, February 7, 2011

Famed Hat Designer Sally Victor


Famed hat designer Sally Victor was born Sally Josephs in Scranton PA on Feb 23, 1905. Her early education included studying painting in Paris France for two years. In 1927 she married Sergiu Victor who was a hat manufacturer. Her design career began when she was a millinery buyer at Macy’s Department Store in New York City. In 1934 she was given $10,000 by her husband to setup her own shop. She was so successful, sometimes called the dean of American millinery design, within five years Sergiu closed his own manufacturing company and joined her.



Victor had her own ideas on millinery for women. Victor declared a good hat can be worn any time. “You can wear a black velvet hat in June or a white hat in November if the it looks well”. Her goal was to design hats that made women look prettier.

Her designs were heavily influenced by art exhibitions and architecture, calling on her early years of art study in Paris. A 1948 exhibition at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art inspired designs in a Franco-Flemish mode. Later a line was crafted based on Moco Polo. She also borrowed inspiration from buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum, crafted all in straw. Among her best known work was the collapsible straw hat, the war worker’s turban, and the airwave or piecrust hat. She crafted custom hats for Queen Elizabeth II, Eleanor Roosevelt, Judy Garland and perhaps her most known work is the pie crust hat worn by Mamie Eisenhower at the inauguration.

From the beginning of her career she was ranked one of the leading American milliners along with Lilly Dache and John Fredericks. She was among the first to establish a ready to wear line, Sally V. She retired in 1968 and sadly passed away in New York in 1977.

These selections are on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Sally Victor, Inc. They are only a sample of the thousands of exquisite designs by Victor during her lifetime. Today Sally Victor hats are in high demand.



Anonymous said...

Thank you for this history. It is very interesting and I intend to use some quotes during a fundraiser/hat show!

AlleyCatsVintage said...

I'm glad you liked this blog on Sally Victor.