Bling! : Excessive Accessories: Bling Fling
Object Name:
Hat
Object ID:
1999.4.7
Year Range from:
1945
Year Range to:
1965
Owned:
Raszkowski, Agnes
Used:
Berlin, WI
Made:
Benjamin Benedict Green-Field/Bes-Ben/Chicago
Description:
Unusual hat in a conical spiral of green suede with 23 plastic balls and gold plastic bead edging has a dark wide-mesh veiling; underlining in a green nylon with 3 brown plastic comb fasteners; underside cloth label with red letters on black background: Bes-Ben/MADE IN CHICAGO; also has a white cloth hand-labeled in pen "344"

From the collection of Berlin, WI milliner Agnes Raszkowski.

Bes-Ben hats were made by Benjamin Benedict Green-Field (1898-1988), who was known as "Chicago's Mad Hatter." He was famous for creating whimsical and elegant hats for women, which including many celebrates such as Lucille Ball, Marlene Dietrich and Elizabeth Taylor.
Benjamin was born in 1898. His father was a iron worker who died when Benjamin was six years old, leaving his mother, Ida, as sole supporter of the family. In 1919 Benjamin and his sister, Bessie, opened a store on State Street, combining their first names to create the famous Bes-Ben logo. Eight years later they had opened 5 stores. The hats were quite tame until 1941 when Benjamin's creativity and sense of humor began to surface in his hat designs. The price of his hats ranged from $37.75 to $1,000. However every summer he would clean out his inventory for the new season at a midnight sale, marking down the hats to $5. At 2 a.m. he would begin to toss the hats out the front door to waiting bargain-hunters. (http://www.greenfieldfoundation.org/1_ben_green-field.htm)

Click to Enlarge
Image