Sally Victor (American, 1905–1977)

straw, synthetic, silk, raffia
9 1/2 x 18 1/2 in. (24.1 x 47 cm)
Credit Line:
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Sally Victor, Inc., 1944
Accession Number:
  • Description

    During the 1930s, '40s and the early '50s, when hats were considered required accessories for well-dressed women, Sally Victor was among the foremost American milliners. Creative and very successful for almost 40 years, Victor began her prolific millinery career in 1927. She was one of the original members of the Edward C. Blum Design Laboratory, and often used the Brooklyn Museum's varied collections to draw inspiration for her designs. She was so connected with the Design Lab that she participated in several collaborative exhibitions and the museum often used her designs in publicity materials to exemplify how the Lab could benefit designers by providing inspiration. Her work is characterized by a special quirkiness that could often be traced back to interesting sources such as Native American tribes, the artist Henri Matisse or Japanese armor. She also combined traditional hat-making materials such as felt and silk with new synthetic materials in unique ways. According to her May 16, 1977 obituary in the "New York Times," Victor described her mission simply as "designing pretty hats that make women look prettier."

    An example from Victor's early career, this hat is a creative representation of her design style. She uses a traditional Scottish form, the Glengarry, and executes it in straw rather than the more common wool. She also embellishes it with fanciful, stylized fruits and vegetables in cheerful colors, referencing spring and new growth.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Marking: Label: "Sally Victor/18 East 53rd St."
    Paper label: Tan straw trimmed with raffia fruits and vegetables/1933"

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History