Hats: Humor & High Design — presented by the Texas Fashion Collection & the Milliners Guild

March 1, 2022 — From Zoolander to Moschino, fashion uses outrageousness and humor to catch our attention. During the turmoil of World War II, the “Mad Hatter of Chicago” Benjamin Green-Field, pictured here with a hat model, declared “Anything which makes people laugh at this point in world history may be said to have its own excuse for being.”

The Milliners Guild and Texas Fashion Collection announced their collaboration on a fashion exhibition titled Hats: Humor and High Design. Free to all NorthPark visitors from March 7-May 15, the exhibition celebrates fashionable laughs and headwear as a space for stylistic experimentation. Featured designs include the top 10 finalists of the Milliners Guild "Bes-Ben: Humor and High Design Hat Competition" alongside contemporary and historic milliners such as Stephen Jones, Cigmond Meachen, Byron Lars, Benjamin Green-Field, Cristóbal Balenciaga, and Jack McConnell. On public view for the first time will be unique creations from the TFC holdings by Dallas-based milliners Ian Dellar, Sue Dooley, and Edna Mye

The inspiration for this exhibition came from the capricious and surrealist millinery designs of Benjamin Green-Field. Known under the label Bes-Ben, his hats featured unusual trims such as dancing rabbits, playing cards, and golden birds. The exhibition features two original Bes-Ben hats alongside examples from other milliners who bring wit and whimsy to their designs. This project revels in the collective imagination and ingenuity displayed by milliners of the past 90 years. 

The exhibition was curated by Annette Becker, director of the Texas Fashion Collection, part of the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas, and Laura Del Villaggio, milliner, teacher and member of the Milliners Guild.

The Milliners Guild is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to increase the public’s awareness of the skill set and products used in the headwear trade. The Milliners Guild’s membership includes small business owners, seasoned artisans and emerging designers and supports those who design, produce, and promote handmade headwear by offering education, access to resources and global exposure. 

Exhibition Dates, Hours and Location
March 7–May 15, 2022
Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Sunday: Noon–6 p.m.

NorthPark Center, 8687 N. Central Expressway, Dallas, TX 75225


Velvet hatlet with gold birds on the top and face netting