Making the World a More Beautiful Place One Hat At a Time

The Renaissance of Millinery

  There's a tempest brewing not in a teacup, but in a cloche hat!!  

It's a quiet revolution determined to bring back the popularity of wearing hats around the world!! " A hat on every head, everyday", is the motto being heard by professional, semi-professional, and up and coming milliners from all corners of the globe!! It's a revival of a nearly lost art, with untold employment opportunities in all related industries.    
  European countries like England, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, and as far away as Japan, and Australia, are front runners in the renaissance of the hat. One only needs to think of the elegant insouciance of the Duchess of Cambridge, and her regal carriage of any chapeau she chooses to perch on her lovely head! Designers like Philip Treacy, and Stephen Jones have become household names in England. Who can forget Treacy's outrageous statement piece worn by Princess Beatrice to the Royal Wedding, or his fabulous acorn hat worn by Sarah Jessica Parker on the red carpet in London several years ago? Even the iconic luggage and handbag design label of Louis Vuitton of Paris, staged a spectacular runway show  several seasons ago, complete with a steamer train chugging down the center of the runway!! A steady stream of models stepped off the train, each with their own impeccably attired porter, carrying their LV baggage, and very avant garde, oversized hats atop each head!!  It was nothing short of spectacular!!

 Not just for aristocrats anymore, the hat is a transforming element of fashion, that up until the 1960's, was a necessary finishing detail to any outift!!   America, on the other hand, in my humble opinion, has become fashionably lazy in its' attitude towards the hat. Resorting to it for practical purposes of sun protection, and warmth in cold weather, and it goes without saying, the obligatory, uniform, utiltiarian baseball cap. Apart from these, the hat has become a superfluous accessory, accused mostly of creating a dreaded malady called "hat hair"!!    Fortunately, American designers like Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, and Calvin Klein have incorporated the hat into their runway collections, further raising the awareness of hats as a statement piece!  Designers, like my favorites Louise Green, Jill Courtmanche, and Suzanne Newman, are busily creating new collections each season, selling around the world, and creating bespoke hats for discerning clients, including hats for the races.   The trickle down theory seems to be  working if only in fashion, as we see mass market chains like T.J. Maxx, Target and Kohl's, offering adorable fedoras, fascinators, and trilbys for their spring accessory lines. And just a brief word about fascinators!  They are the perfect accessory for those who claim that they are not "hat people", which is an imagined persona, perpetuated by those who have yet to come to terms with the attention they will receive, or have yet to find the right hat for their particular shaped face!! I prefer to think of them as the "hors d'oeuvre" of hats, and would be the perfect appetizer for those just getting their feet, pardon me, heads wet with the idea of putting something fun and fashionable on it!!    Thank heaven for the Kentucky Derby and the races at Saratoga, otherwise the hat in America would be nearly extinct!!  Church hats are also still very much alive and well, and of a breed all its' own in parts of the country.  And, lest we forget the Red Hat Society, whose members relish in oversized hats, with mountains of feathers, and a limited palette of red and purple.  Be that as it may, they are still the official cheerleaders of the wearing of hats, albeit with wreckless abandon!!  When I am old, I shall wear purple (and red) sparingly, but not necessarily together!!  

Elsie Collins