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  • Mikelle Drew

28 Days of Black Fashion History: Mildred Blount

Known as milliner to the stars, Mildred Blount is today’s 28 Days of Black Fashion History muse.

Mildred’s interest in millinery stems back to her childhood when she became interested while working as an errand girl at Madame Clair’s Dress and Hat Shop in New York City. She and her sister would later open their own dress and hat shop catering to wealthy New Yorkers.

I found a wonderful YouTube video chronicling more about Mildred Blount’s life (and it’s backed up with reputable periodicals, which is awesome!), but here are a few bullet points about this talented woman:

  • Blount had a love for researching various fashion “hat” history which would help inspire many of her modern day creations.

A look designed by Mildred Blount (Jet 28 January, 1954)

  • She designed 87 miniature hats, representing styles from 1680 to 1937 for the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

Ebony, April 1946

  • She answered an ad for a learner with the famous John Frederic, Inc. millinery (unheard of for a Black woman at that time) and was hired! It was during her time working for John Frederic that she helped design the hats for “Gone With the Wind”. She would become the first Black milliner to design hats for movies.

  • She paved the way for diversity and inclusion being the first African American to be admitted to membership in the Motion Pictures Costumers Union. She would also refuse to enter through the back door of any venue or movie set she was working.

  • In the 1940’s, she opened her own hat boutique which catered to a Who’s Who of Hollywood and Black wealthy women including Marian Anderson, Joan Crawford, and Rosalind Russell.