Whether you know him as John P. John or Mr John, his legacy of chic headwear means that a name in inconsequential.
Born John Pico Harberger on 14th March 1902 in Munich Germany. First studying medicine at the University of Lucerne, Then art at the Sorbonne. Immigrating to the U.S. in 1919, John began his fashion career by interning with his mother Mme Laurel. 1929 saw John launch his first foray in the art of the milliner. With Frederic Hirst, they established John-Frederics. Thus the demand for sophisticated hats began. Stepping away from the more overly elaborate hats and choosing instead to simplify head wear, showcasing the beauty of the fitted form. No overblown plumage that overwhelmed the wearer. Hirst and John dissolved their partnership in 1948, Choosing instead to go alone with his own company Mr John Inc that same year.
Hollywood came calling for the services of Mr John. His most famous foray on the silver screen was with Vivien Leigh for ‘Gone with the Wind’. Other silver screen appearances include Marlene Dietrich for ‘Shanghai Express’, Greta Garbo ‘The Painted Veil’and Marilyn Monroe ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’. If we need more glamorous clients; Gloria Swanson, Joan Crawford, Lauren Bacall, Rosalind Russell, Gloria Vanderbilt and Wallis Simpson. With the change in fashion, the 1970’s saw the decline of Mr John Inc. However John did make bespoke hats privately for another 10 years.
John died on 25th June 1993. Another great hatter may have left us in body, he did leave behind a stunning array of headwear that continues to beguile for years to come.