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“Pounds (as in English currency) may be limited, but taste is not” was a favorite motto of London milliner Mitzi Lorenz.

Mitzi Lorenz was apparently born in Vienna, Austria in March 1911 and became interested in a millinery career when she was 15 years old and apprenticed in a fashion house in Vienna.

Ms. Lorenz later married Andre Weinberger, who in 1938 changed his name to Andre Lorenz. A 1939 English register records Andre Weinberger (later crossed out with Lorenz written over it) with Maria L. Weinberger, whose name was also crossed out with Mitzi Lorenz written over it. Andre’s occupation was recorded as proprietor of a fashion studio and Mitzi’s occupation was recorded as milliner. The two were business partners, as well as husband and wife.

With just one pound (English currency), Ms. Lorenz bought two hoods (from A Hood or Cone is the term used to describe a hat body in an almost Fez like shape, normally used for a brimless or small brimmed hat) , a hat block, and trimmings, to set herself up in the millinery business. The Lorenzes moved to England in 1936 and began their millinery enterprise in 1938. They lived in a flat above their hat shop on Great Portland Street. The Mitzi Lorenz business flourished and became a millinery empire that trained and employed a number of England’s renowned milliners, such as Frederick Fox.

In an interview with milliner Frederick Fox, he remembered: “So I went up to the corner and I was standing there and this man came up to me and said, ‘I’m Jean Marie, I work at Mitzi Lorenz and…I’d like you come and meet Madam’. So I went and had an interview with Madam and I went to work at Mitzi Lorenz. [laughs] So…I started there and I was there for… three years, four years, something like that. And very happy, nice workroom. Where was she based? She was, first of all it was in Great Portland Street and then we moved over to the factory which was in…at the back of the Middlesex Hospital…Anyhow, Jean Marie, who was marvelous, I mean he was such a nice man…there were four designers there; two women doing sort of inexpensive and Jean Marie and myself working together…And (Mitzi Lorenz) was lovely, I mean she really was a sweet woman…”

As the Mitzi Lorenz business grew amid plaudits for the creations, Madam Lorenz was referred to as a “hat-making legend…a famous maker of model millinery…a brilliant artist…etc.” and in 1992 Lorenz referred to herself as the world’s oldest milliner. In October 1999 Mitzi/Marie Lorenz died at 88 years of age. From January 1961 to October 1999, her daughter, Vanessa, was the director of the family business, which, as of at least 2020, seems to be dormant.

Written by LKRanieri

from a 1980s hat - Courtesy of stellarosevintage

from a 1980s hat

Courtesy of stellarosevintage

from a 1980s hat - Courtesy of leonardo da vintage

from a 1980s hat

Courtesy of leonardo da vintage