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Glamorous Fashion Portraits of Lucille Ball for Fashion Designer Hattie Carnegie in 1935

Lucille Ball’s career began with Hattie Carnegie and her salon. Her fashion empire was based in New York, where she was born on March 15, 1889. She rose to fame during the 1920s and ’30s when hats for women were popular, and she owned a beautiful shop on East Tenth street. She called it Carnegi-Ladies Hatter. She then opened her dress shop on the upper West side at 42nd and 49th streets in a much ritzier neighborhood. Hattie Carnegie began catering to a much different clientele after being located close to Saks Fifth Avenue. She sold dresses of her own design, dresses from famous designers like Chanel and Dior, and jewelry designed by herself. Hattie’s designs soon became a significant success, and her client list expanded to include movie stars and royalty such as the Duchess of Windsor and Joan Crawford. In 1956, Hattie passed away, but her dresses, hats, and jewelry remain highly collectible and go for outrageous prices today.

The young Lucy, who graduated high school and headed to New York City to search for work and make her mark, thought she would try her hand at acting. Still, when some teachers at an actor’s studio told her she had no talent, Lucy decided to try modeling, knowing she needed food. She applied for a job at the famous salon because the name “Diane Belmont” sounded sophisticated. She was hired because of her height and slim figure. Hetty took an instant liking to the skinny, long-legged girl, seeing something in her that other people did not. She used Lucy more than any different model because she worked hard, never complained, and always maintained a sense of humor. She also had the body to pull off all the looks in the salon. Hattie also recommended Lucy for the “Chesterfield Girl” billboard campaign. It seems like a match made in heaven.

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Written by Alicia Linn

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