Lilly Dache was born in France, and began her fashion career there as a milliner. She married Jean Despres, then emigrated to New York, New York, USA, in 1924. Dache is reported to have said, "Glamour is what makes a man ask for your telephone number. But it also is what makes a woman ask for the name of your dressmaker." She was the most famous milliner in the United States during her time.
Her major contributions to milinery were draped turbans, brimmed hats molded to the head, half hats, visored caps for war workers, colored snoods, romantic-massed flower shapes. By 1949 she was desgining dresses to go with her hats, as well as lingerie, loungewear, gloves, hosiery and a wired strapless bra. Both the designer Halston and the famous hair stylist Kenneth worked for her before going into business for themselves.
Dache's books include Lilly Dache's Glamour Book (published in 1956) and Talking through my hats (published in 1946).