There is little information to be found about Keneth (aka Kenneth) Hopkins, but for a few years in the mid-late 1940s when he was one of Hollywood’s top milliners – on and off screen.
Hopkins was born Feb 27, 1912 and was educated in San Francisco, where he worked as an artist in his youth. He went into the millinery business in San Francisco with his partner Avis Caminez (who later became the editor of Tatler magazine as well as a playwright.) Actress Jeanette MacDonald reportedly discovered Keneth’s hat shop in San Francisco and soon Hopkins had a following of celebrity clients. By 1944 Hopkins had moved to Los Angeles and was making hats for films. His first was a hat for the movie Phantom Lady – a murder mystery where the accused can only verify his alibi by finding a lady he can identify only by her hat! The most famous film for Hopkins’ hats to appear in was Cover Girl, with Rita Hayworth.
From his Beverly Hills salon Hopkin’s long list of private clients ranged from actress Kay Francis to stripper Lily St. Cyr – the “best dressed undressed woman in the theatre.” In 1950 he was commissioned to create a $1,000 chinchilla hat for Mrs. Earl Warren, the wife of the Governor of California. His hats were often seen on covers of various magazines, from Coronet to LIFE. In 1948 Hopkins was commissioned to create new styles of men’s hats to combat the growing trend in hatlessness, but the oversized caps and asymmetrically brimmed fedoras he designed were not a hit.
On February 5, 1953, Hopkins burned to death weeks before his 41st birthday in his West Hollywood apartment. The cause was determined to be a fire started by careless smoking in bed.