The t-strap heels of the 1920s and 1930s represent the modernity and dynamism of the time period, with both its practicality and its elegant design. On designing these heels, though, André Perugia (1893-1977) was considered a master, with his signature shoes including silk and leather, as well as rhinestones, pearls, and rosette buttons. Perugia custom made evening shoes for Hortense’s particularly small frame, eleven of which are preserved at the Villa. One can see how much Hortense cherished the shoes, worn for many parties and occasions at the Villa, but still in extraordinary condition after over 100 years.

Hortense Mitchell's Actons's Shoes


This beautiful white egret feather hat was recently revealed to be a Caroline Reboux (1840-1927) design. Reboux, known as “the queen of hatmakers,” pushed the boundaries of women’s fashion headwear in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with unique styles such as Gainsborough hats, cloche hats, and hats with attached veils. Interestingly, due to the near extinction of egrets because of hunting, the use of egret feathers in clothing became unfashionable as well as illegal in several countries during the 1910s. While we are unsure if this piece was made before or after the passing of these protection laws, it nonetheless represents an interesting clash between fashion and environmentalism.

A Lock & Co Hatters Silk Top Hat. Made from silk and fully satin-lined with a leather inner headband. The maker’s mark is stamped on the inside Lock & Co. Hatters St James’s Street, London. Ca.1900. Founded in 1676, Lock & Co Hatters is the world’s oldest hat shop and among the longest lasting family-owned businesses in existence, and are still making high quality hats to this day.