Saturday, January 5, 2013


23 years ago, so long ago, in another life, I had a little shop on Union Street in San Francisco. It was called Callanan Hats and Things.I had opened the store on a shoe string. My bff Rosi Zingales helped me build the store out. Friends such as Dora Marra from HEADDRESS and Inge Christopher rattan handbags sent me stock on open credit to help me get up and going.

I had my hat sewing machine set up in the store and would make lovely fur felt hats. One of my most popular sellers was a fur felt cloche with a band of Golden Chinese Pheasant fathers.

What a nice surprise I got yesterday when I received the below e mail from a customer from that era. It brought back such nice memories from my SF days. My retail neighbor Nancy and her assistant Sandra from American Girl in Italy, Wally from Tampico, Leslie and Eleanor from Jest Jewels. Leo Van Galen, an old time sf character and Upholster to the Pacific heights crowd, from whom I rented the space.
The annual easter hat parade is my legacy on that street. It started from a suggestion I made at a retail business meeting.

From: Maureen Maguire
Sent: Saturday, January 05, 2013 12:32 AM
To: John Callanan
Subject: Hat in need of some help

Hello Mr. Callanan,

I am a big fan of your hats, first seeing them in San Francisco in the early '90's. My favorite hat of yours that I own is black with a band of pheasant feathers. But the feathers are starting to pull away from the band. Is there anything I or you can do to remedy?  I'm reluctant to wear the hat because I don't want any of the feathers to fall off!

I live in New York and can send my hat or drop it off to you.



Maureen Maguire

Hi Maureen,
Sounds like a hat from way back when I had a store in SF on Union Street.  Living in Hong Kong these days.
I think your hat is a cloche style with golden Chinese feathers. That style was one of my favorite!
I bet it even has my original green "Callanan Ireland" label.
Gosh, great to hear that you got 20 years enjoyment from the hat! It warms the cockles of my hear to know that, the hats I made so long ago,  are still being worn.
As with most hats, it's the delicate trim that goes in the end, although the hat itself will last for ever with the care you show it.
I no longer hand make hats. I sold my sold to the devil and now mass produce hats in China. I do not get the same pleasure out of massed produced hats as I did out of hand made one but someone's got to pay the bills;-))
I can suggest that you bring it to a milliner in NYC and maybe they can replace the trim or even add a new trim for a new look.
In years gone bye, this is how ladies updated their wardrobes. Changed the trim as fashion dictated.
Maybe try Barbara Feinman millinery in the East village (we took class together at F.I.T.) or Lynda at the hat Shop on Thompson

I hope this helps you.
You have made my day!

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