Antique & Vintage Dress Gallery


#9283 - c. 1940's BES-BEN Museum Quality "Mantilla Comb" Hat! In 1920, Benjamin Greenfield and his sister Bessie (hence the "Bes-Ben" name merging their first names!) opened a millinery shop in Chicago. In 1938 they moved to the fashionable Michigan Avenue, and Benjamin soon became known as "The Mad Hatter of Chicago" with his outrageous designs. His famous clientele included Lucille Ball, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland and Elizabeth Taylor... with his hats selling for between $37.50 - $1000! Maine Antique Digest wrote "Every summer, however, he would clean out his inventory for the new season at a midnight sale, marking down the hats to s little as $5. Then at 2 AM, he would toss the rest out the front door to waiting bargain hunters."! In 1999 a Bes-Ben hat sold for $18,400 at auction. In my opinion (yeah, who asked me!) some Bes-Ben hats aren't all that attractive, however this is a definite exception! Black felt cap trimmed in tiny red beads with a huge tortoise shell mantilla comb attached! The only issue is the torn veil, but I will include a vintage veil to replace this one if you would like.

SOLD - but on display in Museum Category for Research/Display