Paulette entered the world of fashion as a millinery model then salesperson. In 1925 with no formal millinery or fashion education she opened a small salon and started selling her first handmade hats.
William J hats were daring and imaginative. They included such outrageous designs as an octopus with tentacles wrapping around the head, a fish hat with glittering scales and a giant clam shell which the wearer’s face peeked out of like a shining pearl.
Although the history and use of hats goes back thousands of years for religious and protective wear, the millinery industry wasn’t established as a profession until the 18th century. The first famous milliner was the French fashion designer Marie-Jeanne Rose Bertin.
From the 1930’s to 1950’s, a hat was a required accessory, and America was a leader in designer millinery. A contemporary of both Lilly Dache and Mr. John was another prominent milliner, Sally Victor.
One of the 'Big Three' New York milliners - along with John Fredericks (Mr John) and Sally Victor - Lilly Daché was a powerful fashion industry influencer, both commercially and creatively.