My Mom, The Style Icon

Posted on by Rehn Dudukgian

I recently came across an amazing blog called My Mom, The Style Icon where readers submit pictures of their mothers during their style heyday. Inspired by this blog, I started digging around for a picture of my own mother during the '60s, when she dressed to her best during the reign of the likes of Jackie O. and Grace Kelly. One of the reasons I started studying millinery was because of my mother's hat collection dating back to that time. She was a graduate student at UCLA, preparing her doctoral thesis on French Literature, and worked as a teacher's assistant in the French Department. While her passion for modernism inspired her to choose French existentialism as the main area of her graduate studies, her love for classicism brought about her love for beautiful couture hats. With a modest income, this would often require diligent saving on her part.

Armand of Beverly Hills, who was known for his exquisite hats and high profile clientele, grew to be my mother's favorite milliner of the time. His work is exhibited in movies such as "What's Up Doc?" where Barbara Streisand sports a custom made cap by Armand throughout the film. My mother's love for hats has trickled down to me and it wasn't long before I discovered my passion. Several years ago, she brought down a few dusty hat boxes from the back of her closet and showed me all the different hats that clearly marked different stages in her life: the black and red toyo straw hat she took on her first trip to France, to the white silk organza hat she wore on her wedding day. To this day, anyone would consider her collection a marvel to view as art, or wear as fashion. Each hat is made by hand from rich silks and fine straws, something so rare these days. It's hard to pinpoint where exactly it started, but somewhere in all the beautiful commotion of these hats, which mark the decades of a full life, I decided to embark on my own journey: putting my life into that age-old art of the hat.

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