The hat is back on top.
Well, it's difficult to imagine it any place else other than the top but needless to say, it's happily back on its perch, having been placed up there once again by the ongoing juggernaut of trending fashion seasons, (Kate Middleton) and the elite stylists - the ultimate interpreters of fashion and more often than not, the muses behind many a themed collection from the most prestigious fashion houses in the world.
Andy Warhol was famously befriended by editor and eclectic hat wielding (more fitting term than wearing in this instance) fashionista Isabella Blow, who was also the creative inspiration behind the works of hat designer Philip Treacy as well as the late Alexander McQueen. Jackie Kennedy did wonders for the Pill Box style and in recent times; Italian style icon Anna Piaggi, artist Daphne Guinness and Lady Gaga have completely re-energised and re-invented the way we wear hats.
The Fall 2012 shows of Lanvin, Rick Owens, Christian Dior and Marc Jacobs - who showed an entirely hatted affair; bringing back the look of Audrey Hepburn at the height of taught and styled sophistication in her role as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.
There's a reason some of the most iconic personalities in history were hat wearing divas and why a lot of the most iconic imagery of our time has involved the humble hat.
You see, the hat to me is an extension of a look. It's like the full stop after a sentence. It provides a conversation between yourself, another and your style. It provides a finish to an otherwise running dialogue.
When I first arrived at London's Heathrow airport as a naive 22-year-old woman, slash, girl - I was wearing several hats. In hindsight I must have looked ridiculous but it did seem the perfect way to keep my newly shaved head warm and account for all the rif raf that needed to come with me but didn't quite fit within the confines of my one allowed suitcase. I won't go into the scene the hats caused getting through customs or the line that formed behind me - or the questioning about what my suitcase could possibly contain if this is what I wore on a 24 hour flight from Sydney.
All you need to know is that to take away my hat is to take away me. To be or not to be.
They were to be. Full stop.
The now former head of Christian Dior, creative director John Galliano was once quoted to say,
"To imagine an outfit without a hat is like imaging an English tea pot without a lid".
I have been fortunate enough to work with many talented milliners as a fashion stylist here in London so I look on with great interest at the style pages and blogs dedicated to that of Kate Middleton.
I read many articles with the raging debate over the fashion sense of Kate Middleton and well, smile. She is by no means a pioneering creative with a natural flair for style, but then, she's not claiming to be. As one of the most photographed women in the world, there are quite a number of people the poor girl needs to please. What I do like about (our) Kate is her appreciation for the hat. There's rarely a big occasion where she doesn't wear a hat or fascinator, which I believe is doing wonders for its once again rise in popularity. Long live the royal touch.
The team behind successful e-tailer my-wardrobe.com have recently launched a site called lovehats.com which I was lucky enough to attend the launch party of last week as a guest of milliner Olivia Roat (who I also wore on the evening).
The event showcased the new site on iPads which were scattered about the room, impressively utilising the new technology which allows you to upload a picture of yourself to try on a selected style without the fuss of having to go to a store or 'guess' how it might look. The site also features a full 360 degree rotation of each and every hat with just the click of a mouse.
Not only is the hat the ultimate in accessorising, it's also a generally cheaper option than shoes or handbags to pull together an incomplete look. Often all an outfit needs is a little pop of character and away you go. Confidence all piled up in top heavy volume.
So, you're ready to get hatted now but unsure what styles to go with?
Ask the stylist.
For those still getting used to the hat, I'd suggest trying a selection of beanies, berets, fascinators and hair clips. For those who really want to make a statement, the upcoming ladies day at Royal Ascot is the perfect excuse to pull out all stops and try a wide brimmed, pill box, cocktail hat or even a modern turban.
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