Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Adolfo Hats, 1963-66

On Monday, we looked at some of the hats from Adolfo's early career while working for Emme.   

Adolfo left Emme to open his own millinery salon at 22 East 57th Street, New York in 1962. His hats continued to be very popular and were featured often on the editorial pages of high fashion magazines. 

His hats were also often found in fashion advertisements for other companies, always with attribution in the small print.  This ad was for dresses by Nantucket Naturals with hats by Adolfo.

He also paired with several clothing manufacturers to make hats that coordinated with their garments.  Here, the suit is by Modelia and Adolfo made the matching hat.

In 1963, Adolfo made an agreement with the Award Hat Company to launch two new labels that bore his name.  He would design the hats, but Award would manufacture them.  The Adolfo Realities line was a bridge line and the Adolfo II line was a less expensive one.  These lines were sold in department stores and smaller boutiques across the country, and were more affordable for the average American woman.  His own Adolfo label hats were sold in his 57th St. boutique and at the upper tier of department stores across the country, such as Saks Fifth Avenue, I. Magnin, etc.

This is the label from Adolfo's custom hat line.  It is often found with an additional label attached from the first tier department store where it was sold.  This label signifies the most expensive of Adolfo's hats.

Adolfo Realities label from his bridge line.  These hats were manufactured by the Award Hat Company, but designed by Adolfo.  This line was less expensive than the custom label hats, but still of high quality.

The lowest tier label, the Adolfo II line was designed by Adolfo but manufactured by the Award Hat Company.  This was the least expensive of Adolfo's hat lines and the hats were made of lower quality materials with the trimmings often glued on instead of stitched.  That is not to say that these are not great hats!  They are still far superior to hats made in later decades!

As the decade moved on and fewer women were wearing hats, Adolfo began designing more dramatic styles in order to counteract the trend.  He held that hats should be worn as a fashion accessory rather than as a necessity.

Adolfo was quoted in 1993 as saying that even though he got his start in millinery, he never enjoyed making hats.  I'm not so sure I believe him, because his hats were beautiful.  By 1966 though, hats were becoming less and less popular and few women wore them anymore.  Adolfo made the incisive and timely move to designing clothing, probably more as a business decision than anything else.  We'll look at some of his clothing tomorrow.