Thursday, November 15, 2012

Vintage Designer: Mr. John

Spread from Vogue, April 15, 1965. Mr. John hat is on the left. Source: On Pins and Needles

I picked up an awesome orange hat by Mr. John the other day not knowing much about the designer. After doing some research, I realized what a great find this really was! Mr. John, whose given name was John Harberger, was a milliner who started his own hat line in the early ‘50s that was favored by celebrities and film stylists. According to Mr. John’s New York Times obituary (he passed away in 1993), his hats were worn by the Duchess of Windsor, Gloria Vanderbilt, Lauren Bacall and Joan Crawford, and also appeared on Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind, Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express, Greta Garbo in The Painted Veil and Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Not too shabby! Mr. John’s hats also appeared in many fashion spreads, including the above photo from a 1965 issue of Vogue. I also love this New York Times quote about his designs: “In the 1940's and 1950's, the name Mr. John was as famous in the world of hats as Christian Dior was in the realm of haute couture. At a time when other milliners were piling on flowers, feathers and tulle, Mr. John was stripping hats naked, relying on pure shape for effect.” Here are some of my favorite photos that I found of Mr. John creations including the style below that will be listed in the shop this week!

Miss Sweeden Anita Ekberg wearing a Mr. John veiled hat in 1951. Photo from Fans in a Flashbulb.

All from the Powerhouse Museum collection

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