In Kate Middleton Fashion
While the use of hats in fashion was born out of an era of nobility and aristocracy, the shift to modern times might have phased them out were it not for bespoke milliners like Philip Treacy and Louis Mariette. “Everybody [used to have] the misconception that hats were for ladies of a certain age,” says Treacy, who has created hats for everyone from Gothic rocker Marilyn Manson to members of the royal family.
Kate often donned hats or fascinators, which has turned up the fashion heat of her otherwise conservative (or one may call bland) outfits at events. Most recently we’ve seen her wear a beautiful black hat at friends Harry Meade and Rosie Bradford’s wedding, and yet again she flaunted a stunning piece at Harry Aubrey-Fletcher and Sarah Louise Stourton’s wedding, and another notable piece at the wedding of Harry Lipes and Laura Parker Bowles.
“Everybody has a head, so everyone can wear a hat. The purpose of hats is to enhance the features of the face. People make the mistake of thinking one needs confidence to wear a hat, but [actually] people gain confidence by having something beautiful on their heads.” Don it for the latest Ascot races, next big wedding, or do as the true fashionistas do and cap off an otherwise ordinary outfit with eye-popping hat couture.
Mariette, who created the world’s most expensive hat priced at US$2.7 million, says, “Bespoke millinery is the art of understanding the essence of the lady to adorn the creation”. Mariette likes to experiment with new techniques like burning feathers in acid, hand-painting resins and sourcing unusual trimmings like ornate Tibetan bells. “Is she wildly eccentric, likes dramatic entrances, or is she demure? Will she be masquerading as an alter ego for the occasion? The hat must intrigue and entice admirers to want to know the person”.
What is the process of a bespoke hat?
Bespoke millinery takes into account the face, hair, posture, skin colour and eyes of the wearer, as well as the event she will be using it for.
The milliner first meets the clients along with outfit she has chosen
Various shapes are tried on to see what she feels comfortable in and what looks best, and the trim of the hat is discussed, choosing materials such as felt, fur, straw, feathers or veiling
The milliner creates drawings and sketches of the hat, before being sent to a block maker who carves mockups of the actual hat .The craft is very precise because in hat making, even a fraction of an inch is crucial.