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Lilly Daché

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Lilly Daché
Lilly Daché
Scrutinising her new hat design in 1956
Bornc. 1892 (1892)
Bègles, France
Died31 December 1989(1989-12-31) (aged 97)
Louveciennes, France
Known forMilliner, fashion designer
Russell Earl Carn
(div. 1930)
(m. 1931; died 1988)

Lilly Daché (c. 1892 – 31 December 1989) was a French-born American milliner and fashion merchandiser. She started her career in a small bonnet shop, advanced to being a sales lady at Macy's department store, and from there started her own hat business. She was at the peak of her business career in the 1930s and 1940s. Her contributions to millinery were well-known custom-designed fashion hats for wealthy women, celebrities, socialites, and movie stars. Her hats cost about ten times the average cost of a lady's hat. Her main hat business was in New York City with branches in Paris. Later in her career she expanded her fashion line to include dresses, perfume, and jewelry.

Early life and immigration

Residence on 56th Street, New York

Daché was born in France[1][2] and immigrated to the United States in 1924, arriving on September 13.[3] She moved to New York City and got a job at the Bonnet Shop.[4] Daché bought out her friend's share within a year and owned the entire business.[4]



Daché's contributions to millinery were wrapped around turbans,[5][6][7] custom-fitted hats,[8] brimmed half hats, hat caps with visors,[9] cone-tipped berets, loose-fitting colored hairnets,[10][11] and decorative flower-shaped hats.[1][12] Daché said that glamour made a man ask for the wearer's telephone number and it also made a woman ask for the name of the wearer's tailor.[13] Her business flourished in spite of the Great Depression and World War II. Her hats cost upwards of $20 to $80 at a time when a decent hat could be bought for just a tenth of that.[14][15]

Daché worked with Hollywood costume designer Travis Banton to provide hats.[16][17][18][19]

Daché begain designing swagger hats in 1948.[20][21][22] She also designed clothing, cosmetics, jewelry and other accessories.[23] She had business branches for these products in Paris.[1]

Personal life


In 1931, Daché married French-born Jean Despres who was an executive at the large cosmetics and fragrance company, Coty. She had a daughter, Suzanne. Dache retired in 1968 after selling her last hats to actress Loretta Young. She died on December 31, 1989, in Louveciennes, France.[5][24][25] In her final years, she spent time in Delray Beach, Florida.[26] She also spent time in New York City and Meudon, France.[18]

Dache became a celebrity when she was a guest on a 1955 episode of the television game show What's My Line?. Panelist Arlene Francis guessed her mystery identity.[27] She is referenced in the song "Tangerine" performed by the Jimmy Dorsey orchestra as the female singer sings in the second course that Tangerine is all they speak of with darkened eyelashes and a fashion hat by Daché.[28] Some of her custom hats are displayed at New York's Metropolitan Museum.[18]






  1. ^ a b c d e Kellogg 2002, p. 76.
  2. ^ Carey 2014, p. 84.
  3. ^ Barrett 1994, p. 69.
  4. ^ a b Grantland 2016, p. 109.
  5. ^ a b "Services set for milliner Lilly Dache, 97". The Miami Herald. Miami, Florida. 3 January 1990. p. 17 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  6. ^ "Spring Pertness in Pert Turban". The Morning Chronicle. Manhattan, Kansas. 10 March 1940. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  7. ^ "Crowned Heads". The Baltimore Sun. Baltimore, Maryland. 11 September 1950. p. 8 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  8. ^ "Javanese Turban". The Leader-Post. Saskatchewan, Canada. 6 March 1940. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  9. ^ "Some of our trickiest fashions come to life through accidents". The News. Paterson, New Jersey. 3 August 1939. p. 23 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  10. ^ "Turbans, Nets, Straws for Spring Hats". The Bridgeport Post. Bridgeport, Connecticut. 13 March 1964. p. 32 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  11. ^ "Dache collection gay and flattering". The San Francisco Examiner. San Francisco, California. 19 October 1951. p. 11 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  12. ^ "A Frame for Beauty". The Baltimore Sun. Baltimore, Maryland. 1 April 1956. p. 61 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  13. ^ Cooper 1980, p. 95.
  14. ^ Ware 2004, p. 148.
  15. ^ Joselit 2002, p. 113.
  16. ^ Moore 2018, p. 20.
  17. ^ Kellogg 2002, p. 77.
  18. ^ a b c "Hats off to milliner in Hollywood's golden era". The Palm Beach Post. West Palm Beach, Florida. 7 February 1990. p. 36 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  19. ^ "Lilly Dache, 97; French Milliner, Trend-Setter". Los Angeles Times. 3 January 1990.
  20. ^ "Lilly Dache shows first custom collection of cloths with hats". St. Louis Globe-Democrat. St. Louis, Missouri. 25 November 1948. p. 59 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  21. ^ "Lilly Dache creates swagger high fedoras". The Morning Call. Paterson, New Jersey. 14 August 1959. p. 5 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  22. ^ "Costumes Considered in Fall Hat Designs". Spokane Chronicle. Spokane, Washington. 29 August 1949. p. 47 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  23. ^ Sherrow 2001, p. 96.
  24. ^ "Lilly Dache". HonoluluStar-Bulletin. Honolulu, Hawaii. 2 January 1990. p. 28 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  25. ^ "Celebrity milliner Lilly Dache". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. 2 January 1990. p. 27 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  26. ^ "Lilly Dache was in her prime when everyone wore hats; but now..." The Miami Herald. Miami, Florida. 20 November 1977. p. 17 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  27. ^ Heller, Franklin (28 August 1955), Episode dated 28 August 1955, retrieved 2 June 2016
  28. ^ "Tangerine". Lyrics. Stand54 Network. 2021. Retrieved 27 May 2021.



Further reading