Step inside the Glamorous ’30s Gala Folio at the White House

Artist Ann Leisure goes back to the 1920s to create the custom millinery for her hats — specifically, three styles inspired by Loretta Young and Janet Gaynor, who made their movie debuts in those decades.

What would your grandmother have worn? Why not.

It’s hard to imagine what my grandmother’s day-to-day clothes were like. Despite the era’s permissive attitudes toward gender roles and gender expression, she was buttoned-up. But I wanted to see my grandmother without the shackles of society, melding the modest comforts of her upbringing with the flamboyance of 1920s Hollywood.

Which is exactly what I did with these brightly colored vintage hats, made of a variety of fabrics. I gave them the retro flair of my grandmother, who lived through the Great Depression, by styling the hats with vintage scarves and hats made of chevron weaves. At the same time, modern-day Hollywood stars like Jan Harvey (Anna Harker) and Janet Gaynor (Louise Winder) would have paired them with stylish Lurex and nude denim jackets.

My cousins and I recently joined my stylist, Danielle Hadmar, at the elegant Hat Liqueur shop in Newport News, Virginia, to explore gowns from the 1930s and apply the iconic styling that turned my grandmother into a Hollywood star.

Danielle had me choose a character from the movie “An Affair to Remember” and find a feather-adorned hat with an oblong shaped brim and oversized buttons. To open my pocketbook, she suggested spending $50 on a luxurious vintage silk coat to match the vintage headpiece, in an effort to pay homage to the era.

Under Danielle’s direction, I put these hats together with new textiles, fabrics and accessories to create a look that felt authentic to the era of glamour.

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