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Any hat experts in here???

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by sher katz, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. sher katz

    sher katz Registered Guest

    This is the most unusual hat label I have ever seen. Aside from the late 1940s I. Magnin label is this adorable little man made of beads and crystals sewn to a orange ribbon, then glued inside the hat. The hat is pretty adorable too.. anybody ever seen this little man before? Any clues to the maker?? Thanks!
  2. vintagebaubles

    vintagebaubles Administrator Staff Member

    It might help to see the entire hat, if nobody has seen this little guy before....
  3. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    AHA - that is the little beaded figure I once read about! I can't refind what it is that I read though. I have an orange fur felt pillbox from about 1952 that has the same little beaded fellow on the grosgrain sweatband inside the hat. I recall reading SOMEWHERE that this was done by a milliner who was not allowed to put their name on a label inside the hat. I thought it might be Halston, but I reread his book and didn't find the reference. Anyway, maybe Barbara or Sue (two resident hat experts) might know. A full picture of the hat would be beneficial. Is there another label in the hat - a store label perhaps?

    This is mine that has the same little beaded guy inside:

  4. thespectrum

    thespectrum VFG Member Staff Member

    Oh wow. I would love to know the answer to this as I have several hats (packed away in my collection) with this little figure. Since I have never put them up for sale I never tried to reaearch the meaning or origin. I am hoping Sue or Barbara will know the answer here.
  5. Rue_de_la_Paix

    Rue_de_la_Paix VFG Member


    Oh yes! The mysterious little man in the hat band!!! Hurrah! How nice to see him up close like that! I have only 1 hat with him, and my little guy has lost most of his glitz and he is quite worn.

    Back in 1990 I became good friends with the women who had long been the head of the Millinery Information Bureau in NYC (now that org has a different name if it is even still in existence). Casey and I had many discussions about milliners and their trademarks and secrets, but I did not take notes. Stupid on my part. I recall her telling me who did the little man, (Halston could be a right guess, but I think he was no longer working anonymous by the late 50's...) but I forgot all about it until years later I found a hat with him inside the band. Now, I am useless to recall, but I will make it my mission to figure this one out.

    Just a guess off the top of my head, would maybe (just a guess) be Mr Frederic of the famous team of John-Frederics. When Fred and John (Mr. John) split up, Fred continued with the JF labeled line of hats, but Fred also had a number of pseudo names he used on labels such as Mr. Fred and other names I cannot recall right now. He had a lot of labels and no one knew it was him designing. But he did sew jewels inside of some of his hats, often sewn on ladies faces embroidered on the label.

    One thing....Jonathan, your hat looks like it dates to more the late 1950s. I am dating it not just by the style but more by the type of felt which was used on the hat, and the color. Of course, I am not sure 100% on this.

    Sher Katz, you say your hat has a I. Magnin label from the late 1940's? I cannot imagine that this little man sewn to the inside was around from the late 1940s to around 1960. Whoever the designer was, I doubt he would have used an anonymous signature for that long, at least it seems odd. I suspect your hat might be 1950's. Can you show the entire hat, and also show the label? This might help us all to narrow down the years "he" was working, and where the hats were sold.

    Maybe Sue Langley will chime in. Oh SOOO-OOOO!

    Sorry I cannot be of more help right now. But I loved seeing him again!

  6. sher katz

    sher katz Registered Guest

    Here are photos of the hat. The deco G in Magnin I usually associate with the 1940s, but it could be early 50s. Thanks for the bits and pieces you all shared... hopefully someone will answer all our questions
  7. sher katz

    sher katz Registered Guest

    magnin label
  8. The Vintage Merchant

    The Vintage Merchant Administrator Staff Member

    Bernard Workman.

    i'm pretty sure Ang (Dorothea's) has mentioned him in some posts here before, too.

    We have this Bernard Workman hat, here is the underside with labels, and the Bernard Workman bead guy...

  9. The Vintage Merchant

    The Vintage Merchant Administrator Staff Member

  10. The Vintage Merchant

    The Vintage Merchant Administrator Staff Member

    i couldn't find anything about Bernard Workman, but i LOVE the hats we have of his. both of these are from Wolf's Des Moines.

    we did read some where that the little stick man was referred to as Bernard Workman's Work Man. but don't remember where that reference came from.

    sorry i don't have more about him. would LOVE to know more though. :)
  11. hatfeathers

    hatfeathers VFG Member

    How have I NOT come up with a bead guy hat yet? I've had hundreds go through my doors, with more than a few setting up residence in my collection. Was Mr. Workman a line mainly distributed in the Northern US area? I tend to get things from as far as Des Moines, and then a few southern stores...I'm in central Missouri, Middle US.
  12. sher katz

    sher katz Registered Guest


    Thanks for solving the mystery of the little man! You guys rock!
  13. Rue_de_la_Paix

    Rue_de_la_Paix VFG Member

    WOW! Thanks SO much Sue! And thanks to Ang as well.

    I wrote it down this time. Just another example of why I never allow anyone to call me a hat "expert"....I learn something new almost every day.

    I did manage to find a few references to Bernard Workman, both as a manufacturer of women's hats, and as a label, but nothing specific to the man himself, or to this little beaded man. The references go from 1939 to 1959, so we know his firm was making hats for at least 20 years.

    Now my question to answer for myself will be... did someone else design the hats under the Workman label? At least in later years? I think maybe so, as his firm is listed in the 1950s as a hat "manufacturer" and not as an individual salon or designer. And who worked for him? I wonder who was working for him, and did they go on to later fame? Am I going back to square one? Ha ha ha.

    Of course, so many milliners started out under other labels, we may never know.

    I love the VFG!

  14. vintagebaubles

    vintagebaubles Administrator Staff Member

    Like Jenn, I'm amazed I've never come across this little guy--I've had a zillion hats and still have a zillion of them, including a huge lot I got that had a lot of midwest labels in in.

    And, like Suzanne, I am in PA, so I wonder if this maker was primarily a regional one?
  15. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    OH how I wish I could remember where I read the name of the designer it was supposed to be. The story is still making sense to me because it was a designer who went to work for someone who wouldn't let them put their label in as the designer. I was thinking it was a department store, but it might have been a manufacturers, like Bernard Workman. He obviously supplied hats for department stores. If not Halston, might it have been Adolfo?
  16. peaceful vintage

    peaceful vintage Administrator Staff Member

    Sher, Your hat is lovely and your post is so interesting as that little man was a wonder to many members.

    Jonathan, I love that hat you showed. That is a beauty.

    Barbara, Your shared information is fantastic and informative as usual.

    Mary, I am amazed that you were able to find those two hats on the whim with the little man and the same label. You rock! :headbang:

    This forum is amazing. I sometimes wonder how old you all are to have so much knowledge. I am sure you all learn everyday but you should pat yourselves on the back because you all are wicked smart! :)
  17. Sher, I would date your hat as very early '50s, around '50-52. I have a red velvet princess line dress from about 1951 that has the same I.Magnin label, so I think they may have used it into the '50s a bit.

  18. lkranieri

    lkranieri VFG Member

    Here he is.

    Per your question, Jonathan, it looks like it was designed by Alfred Weil.
  19. thespectrum

    thespectrum VFG Member Staff Member

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