Hidden Hats Uncovered: Gage hats

2018-81 Thanksgiving Day dinner, 25th November 1954 (1)

This stylish woman is Elizabeth Maude Jolly, known to her friends and family as Maude. A few years ago, Hat Works were kindly gifted a collection of her hats.  In the photo above, she is wearing a 1950s cocktail percher style hat with a two-piece black satin outfit, and checkerboard-cuff gloves, at a Thanksgiving Day dinner on 25th November 1954 in Hong Kong.  Maude’s husband was Lieutenant-Commander James Jolly – he was the Director of Marine in Hong Kong, so they lived there during this period. The label in the hat is Gage ‘handicraft’.


Here is another photo of Maude at the thanksgiving dinner.  She obviously loved this Gage hat though, as she wore it to another Hong 2018-81 Thanksgiving Day dinner, 25th November 1954 (2)Kong Marine Department event; this time a cocktail party on 17th January 1955 (image below). On the underneath of the white detail at the front there are remnants of make-up.  You can see why as this decorative section hangs down over the forehead.





Gage label hats were made by the milliners A.S. Gage of Chicago – here are a few of their adverts, showing the types of hats they created.

Maude must have been fond of Gage hats, as she also had this piece in her collection. You can see the Gage label in the hat has changed. Whilst it might not be one of the 2018-82bmost exciting looking hats (Maude herself adorned it with one of her brooches to jazz it up) – we actually have a photo of her wearing this hat to the Hong Kong Family Planning Association conference in 1955. Maude was a part of the Association, and in the same year the Government began to finance the Association’s activities. 2018-82e

2018-82 Family Planning Association conference of Hong Kong, October 1955 (1)

2018-82 Family Planning Association conference of Hong Kong, October 1955 (2)

Now we go from Hong Kong to Chicago, to look at the Gage building where A.S. Gage milliners were based.  The image on the left below is from the 1880s, advertising the company’s ‘Fancy Dry Goods’ including millinery. The bottom right image below shows the building as it stands today: now a restaurant named The Gage, serving European food with an American twist.


The restaurant decided to celebrate the heritage of the Gage buildings, nodding to their hatting industry within the decor.


To close this post I’ll bring things a bit closer to home.  One of Stockport’s own restaurants has decided to celebrate the town’s hatting industry in both name and in decor: Berretto Lounge with their wall mural of hats behind the bar. They invite you to try and name all the types of hat! Have you seen any other places which use the hatting industry as their design inspo?

Image may contain: people sitting, table and indoor
Berretto Lounge, Stockport (Image credit: https://www.facebook.com/berrettolounge/

Until next time…


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