This is Paramount p1202-826, a Carole Lombard portrait from late 1933 or early '34. Obviously, her unusual hat is the photo's most distinguishing feature.
Lombard's seemingly effortless fashion style extended to hats too, and this entry will examine the career of the milliner who helped outfit not only Carole, but most of the top actresses of classic Hollywood. Her name was Lilly Dache.
Born in 1896 in Begles, France, Dache emigrated to Atlantic City in 1912 to live with an uncle. Already trained as a milliner in France, she moved to New York, briefly worked at Macy's, then joined a custom hat shop and eventually bought out the owner.
Dache's purchase of the store coincided with the increased popularity of hats in Hollywood, especially turbans.
Hearst's San Francisco Examiner of Nov. 1, 1934 showed hat input from Dache, next to a Lombard fashion column (double-click to read this and the following piece at full scale):
In June 1938, this syndicated full-page column about Dache ran in papers such as the San Bernardino (Calif.) Sun:
"A girl will pick a sport brimmed hat if her man likes a good pal. Men flock to Carole Lombard because she is an all-round girl and is always ready to go places. And her hats, you will observe, are the sport brimmed type."
It is said that at her peak, Dache designed 90 percent of the hats stars wore in films.
She hired good people to work with her, such as the designer Halston in the 1950s. But hats were falling out of favor and Dache left the business in 1968. Loretta Young purchased her final 30 hats.
Dache died at age 93 on Dec. 31, 1989.
Last week, we noted Carole is battling Claudette Colbert for a berth in this year's "Summer Under The Stars", TCM's August tradition. A recent check showed Colbert with a narrow 52 to 48 percent lead, with than a week to go.
Voting is restricted to members of TCM Backlot, so why not join now? It's $9.97 a month or $87 a year. Get more information at https://join.tcmbacklot.com/p018?utm_source=backlot-site&utm_campaign=gwp-product-review&utm_medium=homepage&utm_content=link1.