Somehow it seems like homecoming in my head! I have been talking to so many people lately about the launch of JAMIE and the ability to access Luxury Interiors, and talking about my up-bringing in the fashion industry, that I want to bring you all of the greats.
Born in Vienna in 1889, Henrietta worked at Macy’s at the age of 16 making hats, which is how she received the nickname Hattie. She continued trimming hats for five years before she moved into her own shop
(called Carnegie – Ladies Hatter). People loved her hats, but Hattie’s spirit kept reaching for new heights. Within a few years she began designing dresses and by 1920 her designs were coveted around the world.
This simple beginning would turn into a truly amazing career, particularly for a woman in the 1930s. By that time Hattie employed thousands of workers and had a 10 million dollar business that included jewelry, hats, clothing,
and perfume. She focused on simple, beautiful clothing meant to show off a woman’s best features.
Unlike some clothiers, the woman in Hattie’s dresses was intended to be the star of the show, not the clothing itself. So while her clothing had a French finesse, it remained functional and comfortable. Hattie’s jewelry designs
were expressly intended to coordinate with her clothing, but soon became a popular line with or without any accompaniment.
1939 marked the year in which Hattie Carnegie jewelry began appearing on the market. Many of her pieces had special themes including Greek-styled jewelry and Asian-inspired pieces. Many pins featured animals and fish.
Beyond these themes, one of her hallmarks was the addition of fine rhinestones.
The Carnegie look defined the American desire for a style that is discreet, simple, and sophisticated. Her career began at a time when Americans looked almost entirely to
French haute couture for direction. When French fashion became unavailable during World War II, Carnegie continued producing high-quality clothing with the best American fabrics and designers. Carnegie’s work as a great
editor of French haute couture for the American market as well as her extraordinary record of recognition and development of American talent place her firmly at the forefront of the development of American style in the twentieth century.
She couldn’t sew or cut a pattern herself, yet Hattie Carnegie’s sense of style and taste sparked her rise from humble beginnings as a Jewish immigrant to the creator of a fashion empire around a distinctly “American” look.
This photo was taken during the mid-1900s.
I hope you enjoyed this post!