As a young girl growing up in historic New Jersey, I was fascinated with hats. The fascination began with those worn by my beautiful, artistic and very fashionable mother.  My own collection began at 16 when my older sister gave me a vintage 1940's black felt cocktail hat with a sultry veil and rhinestone brooch.  My first "grown up" chapeau and voila! ..... I was hooked for life.

 
Time passed, careers and friends changed, but my love of hats and fashion grew stronger with every passing year.  My background in professional sales and advertising blended with my love of antiques and fashion, which led me to take the leap into opening my own vintage clothing and antique business.   My collection grew to over 1,600 hats, and I and my little shop in the antique mall were even featured in a Sunday edition of the state's largest newspaper.  My fashionable mother was so proud!

My passion grew, and I trained in professional millinery at New York City's Fashion Institute of Technology, where I learned to design, sculpt, sew, make patterns and create my very own hats.  The mysterious processes of hat making were finally revealed, and the secrets changed my life forever.
 
Then one brisk Autumn day, a romantic love from my past appeared and re-ignited the flame.  He tugged at my heartstrings so hard he pulled  me clear across this beautiful country, landing me gently on a sunny beach on the Pacific Ocean.  Years later, this lovely loft is still home to my millinery studio-by-the-sea, although there is NO room for any more hats.
 
Even so, I still have over 700 hats, each unique and vintage.  My loft is so crowded with dozens of steamer trunks filled with antique clothing and textiles...that they have certainly overtaken my life.  Through the years I have also amassed a personal research library of over 500 vintage and rare out-of-print books on fashion, etiquette, historical costuming and millinery.  Additionally, all of the millinery memorabilia, trims and feathers, and hat making equipment of all kinds that fill the 10 foot high shelves stand as a testament to the fact that all things hats is my #1 PASSION! 
 
My decades of research have also led me to a successful second career as a teacher of millinery history, public speaker, and millinery consultant.  I am a member of The Costume Society of America,  The Vintage Fashion Guild, and the Fashion Guild West.
 
I have sold via the internet and vintage shows for many years and have built up a strong clientele of faithful customers and friends. Still, those boxes of rare hats and trunks of antique clothing keep multiplying like rabbits.  And so I decided to launch a website, in order to sell many of my own personal treasures.  As  collectors can imagine, this is a very difficult thing to do, as I cannot decide what to keep and what to let go.  Now, at age 50+, and following the unexpected death of my wonderful mother a few years ago, life has changed for me.  Things that were once so important have transformed in their meaning.  Which, I suppose, can be a good thing.   
 
My beautiful mother was so open and loving, and she never hid her feelings away...she opened her heart to everyone she knew, spreading her love, songs and smiles to all around her.  Like her heart, these many hats she and I collected should not be hidden away in boxes...unseen and unappreciated.    They need to be shared, the hat boxes and trunks thrown open, and their beauty spread to new owners and new homes. 
 
THANK YOU MOM and DAD for all you shared, and for opening my eyes to love and beauty.  

 
BARBARA

aka Mme. Babette