Tip Top

Marlene Dietrich wears a top hat in "Morocco," 1931.

Plenty of stylish types have worn top hats—an entry in Encyclopedia of the Exquisite—over the years. But did anyone ever wear a top hat with more panache than Marlene Dietrich did? She made her American movie debut in 1930 in Morocco, playing a cabaret star, and thrilling audiences with her audacity. She appears swaggering around the nightclub’s stage in a top hat and tails, languidly dragging on a cigarette while she sings a love song—and ending her performance by throwing back a glass of champagne, then stealing a kiss from a pretty woman. Wow! (You can see the clip below.)

“The best part of Morocco is when I am in my own tails,” Dietrich said. “They look unbelievably beautiful.” She’s right.