1940s Rare Bes-Ben Butterfly & Leaf Cloche Hat

This is an incredibly rare and wondrous hat from the famed Milliner Benjamin B. Green-Field, who was known as "The mad Hatter" and was the genius behind the Bes-Ben label. The Bes-Ben hats are perhaps the most coveted amongst hat lovers and the crazier the hat the better. He was known for his fantastical and outrageous creations and used objects and materials never before used in hat making. Even at the time his hats cost from $37 to $1000, remarkable when you think that the average hat in the 40s cost around $2.

Here we have a rare, numbered hat that is made of flat, early plastic leaves that are hand painted with bits of gold seemingly dashed across the surface at random here and there. These are each hand placed and attached to a mesh base rimmed in a velvet covered wire to create and hold the shape. Little combs are hand attached to the sides to secure it into place. Each leaf has little silver beads hand sewn onto its surface - the represent drops of dew glistening in the sun. The front forms a stunning and large butterfly that sits jauntily just above the eye. It is profoundly quirky and fabulous but at the same time profoundly modern and wearable. A real rarity. Excellent overall condition

Almost impossible to measure as it just sits on the head with no true circumference It has some flexibility built in and that makes it one size fits all. The mannequin it is shown on would be the same size as a normal average size girl. There is some patina to some leafs - please super-size the photos to see - I do not feel these detract at all and in pieces like this the natural aging and wear only adds to their sense of history and appeal.

Modern Sizing Equivalent: One Size Fits All

Item# A238

This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.

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  • We require three equal payments of the layaway total. You will be invoiced for the first amount upon request
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  • items less then $500, or that are on sale, require a 50% deposit with the final payment due in two weeks from the date of deposit 

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Please review all measurements carefully. More often than not, vintage garments do not fit any size category exactly. If in doubt, measure a garment of your own that fits and is a similar cut and compare it's measurements to the listed measurements below.