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August 7, 2022

Stunning Portraits of Lucille Ball as a Model for Fashion Designer Hattie Carnegie in 1935

We “Lucy lovers” almost have to credit the famous Hattie Carnegie and her salon with the start of Lucille Ball’s career. Hattie was born on March 15, 1889 in Vienna and came to New York where she eventually based her fashion empire.

She rose to fame in the 1920s and ’30s which was the era of hats for women and Hattie started out as a milliner where owned a beautiful shop on East Tenth street. She called it Carnegi-Ladies Hatter. After that, she turned her attention to her dress shop which she opened in a much ritzier neighbor hood on the upper West side at 42ND and 49Th streets. Now close to Saks Fifth Avenue, the Hattie Carnegie boutique began to cater to a much different clientele. Hattie sold dresses that were her own design as well as dresses from designers such as the famous Chanel and Dior as well as a costume jewelry line she also designed herself. Believe it or not, she even sold cosmetics, but under a different name.

It wasn’t long before Hattie’s designs were a major success and her client list began to include movie stars and royalty such as the Duchess of Windser and Joan Crawford. Hattie died in 1956 but her dresses, hats and jewelry are still prized and highly collectible even today and often go for outrageous prices and they are worth every Penny!

When young Lucy graduated from high school and went to New York City looking for work and to make her mark on the show-biz world, she thought she’d try her hand at acting but when some teachers at the actors studio told her she was basically talentless, knowing she needed to eat, Lucy decided to give modeling a try. Thinking that the name “Diane Belmont” sounded sophisticated, she applied for a job at the famous salon. Because of her height and slim figure, she was hired.

Hattie took a instant liking to the skinny, long-legged girl and saw something in her that that others didn’t. She used Lucy more often than her other models because she never complained, worked hard and always maintained a sense of humor. She also had the body to carry off all the looks in the salon. Hattie also recommended Lucy for the “Chesterfield Girl” billboard ad campaign. It seems as if it was a match made in heaven.











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