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The life and legacy of master milliner Otto Lucas

As a German-born gay Jewish man, Otto Lucas found himself away from his homeland and stranded in London in the 1930s. Nonetheless, he established himself as a world-renowned milliner, and his legacy lives on through the pieces we have in our collection.

Lucie Whitmore

Fashion Curator

17 March 2022

Otto Lucas was an internationally renowned milliner, with his headquarters on London’s glamorous Bond Street and a client list filled with famous names. From the 1930s to the early 1970s, his name was synonymous with luxury headwear, and he employed a large staff in his workroom to meet the demand. But behind the success story was a very private man, who kept quiet about both his Jewish heritage and his sexuality as a gay man to protect himself and his business. In this film, we explore the public and private lives of Otto Lucas, to learn more about this iconic but often overlooked London designer, and showcase the three Otto Lucas hats from our collection.

If you'd like to hear more about Lucas and the hats we have in our collection, watch this episode of London's Fashion Alphabet - O for Otto Lucas!

You can find out more about Otto Lucas and his hats at our exhibition Fashion City: How Jewish Londoners shaped global style', currently running at the Museum of London Docklands. Book your tickets here. You can also buy our book that accompanies this major exhibition from our online shop, and at a discount when bought alongside your exhibition ticket.

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