Monday, September 18, 2023

Simone Mirman

Simone Mirman (1912–2008) was a Paris-born milliner based in London, chiefly known for her designs for the British royal family.

Simone had an apprenticeship with Rose Valois, one of the leading Parisian milliners of the 1920s and 1930s, where she developed her talent for designing hats to suit the trickiest faces, considering her first success to be a design which worked for her mother's features.

In her early 1920s Simone met a Jewish medical student, Serge Mirman, whose communist beliefs made him undesirable to her parents. Despite neither speaking English, the couple eloped to London in 1937, but only married in 1939. 

During the Second World War the newly wed, impoverished Mirmans lived in a small attic on Spring Street in Paddington. Each morning, they hid the evidence of their real life and transformed the attic into a millinery salon for Simone to serve customers seeking off-ration hats. As clothing coupons were not required for hats, there was a steady demand for the designs Mirman created out of scraps and oddments.

In 1947, Mirman was able to afford better premises near Hyde Park. In 1952, she moved to Chesham Place, Belgravia, where her salon and workroom remained for the rest of her professional career.

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