WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — A hat-making legend known for her elegant and graceful fashions, particularly in the District, Vanilla Beane, died at the age of 103.

Beane founded Bené Millinery & Bridal Supplies in Ward 4 where it’s operated for over 40 years. In that time, Beane’s clients included people such as Maya Angelou and Dorothy Height. The Smithsonian has featured Beane’s work.

Known as “the Hat Lady” in the DMV, news of her passing was shared on Twitter and other social media platforms, along with condolences with her family.

Mayor Muriel Bowser released a statement declaring that Beane embodied the Black experience:

Combining grace, elegance, and longevity, Ms. Vanilla Beane embodied Black excellence. Today, we send our love and prayers to Ms. Beane’s family and all who will miss her.

Mayor Muriel Bowser, Washington, D.C.

Bowser presented Beane with the Award for Distinguished Honor at the 27th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards in 2022.