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Marilyn Monroe Cloche Hat

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by Marilynfan, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. Marilynfan

    Marilynfan RegisteredGuest

    Hello Everyone,

    I came across this website while researching cloche hats. I am a Marilyn Monroe collector and I recently won a hat in a high end auction that belonged to her. I am trying to determine when she might have purchased this hat (i.e when it was made).

    The description says:
    Black Draped mohair cloche with bow on side. Jay Thorpe, New York label. Stamp in interior read, "Helios HB body made in Austria."

    Here is a link to a photo of it (you can click on it for a bigger pic).


    I have read that cloche hats are usually from the 1920's. I'm hoping this hat was made later than this. I searched online and found out that the Jay Thorpe boutique was actually located on the same street Marilyn lived on in New York. She was in New York on and off from the mid 1950's until 1962. The auction house also made reference that the hat could have been made for her film "Some Like it Hot" in 1959. The film featured 1920's fashion.

    I would appreciate any information that will help my research or any contacts that I should speak with.

    Thanks ever so,
  2. Elsewhere

    Elsewhere VFG Member

    I don't know that I'd term this a "cloche hat".

    But on the bright side, it DOES appear to be from the correct time period (late 50's/early 60's)!!
  3. Marilynfan

    Marilynfan RegisteredGuest

    Thanks Kristine! I am relived to hear that. Although I am a little peeved that 2 different auction houses would describe it as 1920's style cloche if it isn't. I was going to display it with the flapper style in mind (found some neat custom mannequin heads) however I won't if it is obviously not that style. As you can tell I have zero knowledge of vintage fashion :)

    Here is another pic of the hat from a previous Christies auction.


    Again, any information about this style and the year it was made would be appreciated.
  4. Wow - the second photo shows it much better.

    Agree that it's late '50s. The mohair is also a very '50s material for a hat.

    Melinda, I think your best bet is to search through all the pics you can find and see if you can find any where MM is wearing it. She wasn't a big hat wearer, I'm guessing that you're looking for a day time snap where she wasn't going to anything particularly grand.

    Cloche is a misused word - auctioneers often use the wrong words with their items I find. That's why we need to make our own mind up. Congrats on owning something she wore though! I'd love to be in that position - I share your love.
  5. Ookoo

    Ookoo Registered Guest

    Is that the same hat in both photos?
  6. Hi Melinda,

    I'm just going through your amazing MM website: I love your story about the check and how you researched the story - I see that you have the photo of the dress from the Christie's catalogue - did you know that it was auctioned for $20,700? I just looked it up in my copy....
  7. Ookoo

    Ookoo Registered Guest

    There's a u-tube slide show of MM wearing hats, and at about the 1 minute mark there's a hat that maybe looks like this one.

    MM on u-tube
  8. Marilynfan

    Marilynfan RegisteredGuest

    It is supposed to be the same hat. I won't have it in my hands until next week to confirm. But I agree it looks suspiciously different. I have a feeling the second pic from Christies was labelled with the wrong lot number. Which ticks me off a bit since I specifically bid on this hat because it WAS pictured in the previous Christies catalogue. Oh well, it is still hers so I can't be too cranky :) But fingers crossed it is the same one.

    Yeah, I have already exhausted my Marilyn wearing a hat photos but I won't give up. That is partly why I am looking for find all the info I can about the hat - I don't have a photo to confirm the date. UPDATE: Just had a look at the video I don't think that is it but thanks so much for taking the time to look for me. You guys are so helpful!

    Nicole, you have the Christies catalogue? I love looking through mine - just so personal. Yes, I have all the prices printed out. It was crazy how much stuff sold for - now it is coming up again in auctions for half the price. My website is a labour of love. You can see I like fitting together a story for the items I have - like the check. It is much more interesting when you know the background.
  9. Melinda,

    I admire your dedication - I got into Marilyn as a teenager in 1980: my first fascination, barely predating my fondness for vintage. I love being able to combine the two.

    We waited a long time for that Christie's auction, didn't we? I would have loved to have been there, I'm not surprised at how much things went for, it's easy to get carried away at auction and when members of the public are there: well, they lose control!

    I'll have to keep an eye out on ebay - I'd love to own something of hers, clothing of course - oh, that would be wonderful. I love the dresses in the catalogue - they say so much about her and what was important to her, I love that she kept so many things like the Johnny Hyde suit. She had some amazing clothes.

    Oh - the hats in the pictures are the same one. It's just hard to photograph, and they were taken from different angles. It looks like in the first one they might have reshaped the hat, it doesn't look all scrunched like it does in the second one.
  10. Marilynfan

    Marilynfan RegisteredGuest

    Yes, we sure did wait a long time for that auction. I tried to bid on a couple items back then but they went way, way out of my league. Be careful on Ebay there are so many fakes on there. I told myself I wouldn't trust anything unless it came from that Christies auction. I got this hat at http://juliensauction.com they have a summer entertainment sale each year and this time there were several lots that originated from Christies. It ends up being more than Ebay but at least I can sleep at night knowing it really was hers :)

    BTW, if you are interested I made a DVD of the Christies auction. When the Happy Birthday dress comes out I still get goosepimples :) Just send me an email.

    Thanks for the vote of confidence on the hat. It is actually the bow that is bothering me the most. It is described as a knot in the recent auction and it doesn't look like it would stick out like the second pic. Oh well, I will find out soon for sure. Gotta hit the hay! Have a good night!
  11. Elsewhere

    Elsewhere VFG Member

    Those two photos don't look like the same hat at all.

    Hmm. That stinks.
  12. Coutureallure

    Coutureallure Alumni

    It looks like the same hat to me. Christie's just did a better job of stuffing it. I'd have to see how it fits on a head, but it probably is not a cloche. Check out my blog for some pictures of true cloche hats. It's a few posts back, but may be helpful.
  13. Laura

    Laura Alumni

    I agree, it's probably the same hat. The Christies photo is taken from the side and the other is taken from the front. You can see the knotted bow in the second image.

    The Christies catalogue showed the hat to better advantage. It's a nice looking hat!

  14. pastperfect2

    pastperfect2 Trade Member

    From the VFG Label Resource:

    Jay Thorpe was an exclusive store located at 24 - 26 W. 57th Street, New York which opened in the 1920s. One of the best stores on 57th Street, Jay Thorpe offered custom made clothing from French and in-house designers. The store was on an equal footing with Henri Bendel and Hattie Carnegie in terms of quality, but had a more eclectic image. Private fashion showings took place in the fourth floor bistro, where customers could relax with refreshments while watching models stroll by in latest fashions. Wilson Folmar was the head designer in the custom department from the 1930s to the 1950s. The store was out of business by the early 1970s.

  15. Elsewhere

    Elsewhere VFG Member

    I suppose improper stuffing could account for it - the first one looks almost like a modified pillbox while the second hat has more of that slouchy look. I just can't see any sign of the slouchy-ness in that first picture.
  16. vertugarde

    vertugarde Alumni

    The hat appears to be late 50's. Swathed round and turban styled hats were popular in the 50's and 60's. The mohair fabric and the construction with the narrow petersham ribbon would be right for the period. It could from a costume design point of view mimic a 20's cloche.

    Some Like It Hot was made in 1959. The Costume Designer was Orry-Kelly. Both Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis wear similar looking hats in the film. I can't recall Marilyn Monroe wearing this style of hat in the film.

    However, if the hat was worn in this film I would have expected the hat to have the actors name on a label of some sort.

    That's a nice coincidence about Marilyn Monroe living on the same street as the Jay Thorpe Boutique.
  17. Marilynfan

    Marilynfan RegisteredGuest

    Thanks again everyone for your input and the Jay Thorpe info. I should have it by the end of this week or early next. I'll be sure to post some more photos then. I agree about the idea if it was made for Some Like it Hot why wouldn't it have her name in it? She only wears a hat in the very opening scene when getting on the train. Although I have seen costume shots of her in a different hat than what appeared in the film but nothing that looks like this one. Unless she took it from wardrobe as a cast off meant for Tony/Jack - it is all speculation really. No way to prove it. If it does look like the style of late 50's/early 60's perhaps she simply purchased it herself to wear around New York and not be noticed. I'll keep my eyes peeled for casual shots.
  18. joules

    joules VFG Member

    I like to imagine that she wore it while meeting Truman Capote for lunch, "A Beautiful Child". I love the hat, and I so admire your site and collection. I loved seeing the check, having lived in Hollywood too. My credit union was right across the street, from the children's home where she stayed, so long ago. I think the hat was hers. :)
  19. Marilynfan

    Marilynfan RegisteredGuest

    Hey it just dawned on me that I have an update to the check story I have been meaning to add to the site but I forgot about it. With you guys looking at it now it reminded me, I just went ahead and added a photo of me.... here is the direct link for anyone else who is interested....


    P.S. Oh, yes - lunching with Truman - I can picture it. I loved her time in New York.
  20. wyomingvintage

    wyomingvintage VFG Member

    Wow what great research and that picture of you is SO cute!!!

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