Designer Interview: Philip Treacy Orchid Hats

The Royal Hats BlogWhen we see flowers on a royal hat, those flowers are almost always made of silk. Last fall, British millinery Philip Treacy worked with a group of Dutch Orchid growers and designed a number of hats adorned with real orchids. The results are quite lovely and made what I think would be the ultimate royal spring hat.


Designer Updates

The Royal Hats Blog After preparing yesterday’s post on fascinators, I enjoyed a cup of tea while perusing Philip Treacy’s new Spring Summer 2014 collection. While the collection is beautiful (see here for yourself), two pieces looked familiar:

Princess Michael of Kent, June 8, 2013 in Philip Treacy | The Royal Hats Blog Philip Treacy SS 2014 OC774

It is the black veiled bow fascinator Princess Michael of Kent wore last June.

Beatrice Borromeo, September 21, 2013 in Philip Treacy | The Royal Hats Blog Philip Treacy SS 2014 OC675

And a variation of the amazing headpiece Beatrice Borromeo wore to Prince Felix’s wedding last September. I suspect these fascinators were made bespoke for two these ladies last year then added to this year’s collection. Both are particularly striking pieces.

Photos from Wakeham via CorbisPhilip Treacy; and Pascal Le Segretain/Getty via Zimbio  

Hat Types: The Fascinator

Fascinator | Royal Hats

Lord Frederick and Lady Gabriella Windsor, July 1, 2000 | The Royal Hats Blog

Lady Gabriella Windsor in 18th century costume for a ball at Kensington Palace, July 1, 2000

History: Since ancient times, women have been adorning their hair with ribbons, pearls, and feathers. These hair ornaments came into a Renaissance of sorts during the 18th-century in Europe. Women in the court of Louis XVI (1774-1791) wore ‘poufs au sentiments’ – large hairpieces that displayed ostrich feathers, butterflies, fruit, model ships, animals, jewels or whatever else struck the wearer’s fancy. During the 19th century, these hair embellishments decreased substantially in size and were replaced with bonnets and hats with much less elaborate trimmings.

The term ‘fascinator’ first appeared in America in the 1860s in reference to a lacy, light-weight, loosely-knitted  shawl worn over the head. When cocktail hats were introduced in the 1930s, they brought small feathered headpieces back into fashion. During the 1960s, it became fashionable to affix a veiled, feathered, bowed or beaded comb to one’s beehive hairstyle instead of wearing a full hat.

A second Renaissance for the fascinator was introduced in the early 1990s by London-based milliners Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy. By 2000, fascinators were seen on countless catwalks, the popular TV show “Sex And the City”, at the Ascot Races and on a number of royal heads. While the popularity of fascinators now seesm to be on the decline, you will still see them perched on heads at occasions where hats were traditionally worn- weddings, christenings, National Days, major royal events etc. The one place you will not see a fascinator is in the Royal Enclosure at Ascot- the dress code adopted in 2012 requires that all hat alternatives have base diameter size of 4 inches. For a fantastic history of the fascinator from the 13th century to current day, refer to this article at V is for Vintage.

Characteristics: A large hair decoration on a band, clip or comb usually with elaborate trimmings (feathers, ribbons, flowers, bows etc.). Like a cocktail hat, fascinators are usually worn perched on the top or side of the head and do not fully cover the wearer’s head. Unlike a cocktail hat, a fascinator does not have a large base.

Royals Associated with this Hat Style: Almost everyone:

The Duchess of Cornwall, May 6, 2006 | The Royal Hats Blog Crown Princess Mary, April 14, 2011 | The Royal Hats Blog Crown Princess Mette Marit, June 20, 2006 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Maria Carolina of Bourbon Parma, August 27, 2011 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Mabel, October 20, 2010 | The Royal Hats Blog

The Duchess of Cornwall, May 6, 2006; Crown Princess Mary, April 14, 2011; Crown Princess Mette Marit, June 20, 2006; Princess Maria Carolina, August 27, 2011; Princess Mabel, October 20, 2010

Princess Eugenie, June 17, 2006 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Irene, October 5, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Elizabeth, May 17, 2008 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Marilène, October 5, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Michael of Kent, June 8, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Eugenie, June 17, 2006; Princess Irene, October 5, 2013; Queen Elizabeth, May 17, 2008;
Princess Marilène, October 5, 2013Princess Michael of Kent, June 8, 2013

Princess Tatiana, April 14, 2011 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Mathilde, April 30, 2006 | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Silvia, May 21, 2007 | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Tatiana, April 14, 2011; Princess Mathilde, April 30, 2006;
Queen Silvia, May 21, 2007; 

Zara Phillips, November 2, 2009 | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Sofia, April 29, 2011 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Máxima, April 13, 2011 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Margriet; September 16, 2008 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Alexandra, June 23, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

Zara Phillips, November 2, 2009; Queen Sofia, April 29, 2011; Princess Máxima, April 13, 2011; 
Princess Margriet; September 16, 2008; Princess Alexandra, June 23, 2013

I hope this clears up any confusion between a cocktail hat and a fascinator (the mainstream press often gets this wrong). As you can see from the parade of fascinators above, these headpieces come in all shapes, sizes, colours and materials and are limited only by the imagination of the designer. My favourite royal fascinator is the one Crown Princess Mary wore for the christenings of her four children… although like a moth to a flame, I am inexplicably drawn to the Philip Treacy black looped and feathered extravaganza on Zara Phillips above. What is your favourite royal fascinator?

Photos from Tim Graham and Antony Jones/Brendan Bierne/ UK Press via Getty; Pascal LaSegretain/Getty via Zimbio; Antony Jones via Getty; Britta Pederson/EPA/Corbis; Patrick van Katwijk via DPPAnwar Hussein  via Getty; Patrick van Katwijk via DPPAnwar Hussein via Getty; Patrick van Katwijk via DPP; Wakeham via CorbisBauer Griffin via Zimbio; Julian Parker/Mark Cuthbert and Chris Jackson via Getty; Sean Gallup and Robert Prezioso/Getty via Zimbio; Reuters; Associated Press via Sulekha; Patrick van Katwijk aand Patrick van Katwijk via Dutch Photo Press 

Three Hats And A Winter White Coat

Royal HatsMy part of the world is unusually and quite literally shut down as the end of a three day snowstorm blows through. It seems fitting (for me at least!) to look thus, at this trio of winter hats worn by Zara Philips with her classic winter white wool coat.  There is: a brown newsboy cap; black embellished cloche; and a brown shearling stovepipe hat. Which one is your favourite hat paired with this lovely coat?

Zara Philips, December 25, 2003 | The Royal Hats Blog

Zara Philips, March 13, 2003 | The Royal Hats Blog Zara Philips, March 17, 2004 | The Royal Hats Blog

Zara Philips on December 25, 2003 and at the Cheltenham Festival, March 13, 2003 and March 17, 2004

For those eagle eyed readers who might suspect a fourth hat was worn with this coat, it seems that Zara has a new winter white coat these days that is slightly different from the one we see paired with this trio of hats above.

Photos from Andrew Parsons, UK Press and James Whatling via Getty 

Royal Hats at the Olympics

As the Olympics draw to a close this weekend, I thought we should look back at some of the royal hats we have seen during the Sochi games.

Crown Prince Haakon, February 14, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog Crown Prince Haakon, Prince Albert & Alexandra of Hanover, February 14, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Prince Albert of Monaco and Alexandra of Hanover attend the
downhill run of the men’s alpine skiing super combined event on February 14, 2014

Alexandra of Hanover & Pierre Casiraghi, February 14, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog Prince Albert, February 12, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog

 Alexandra of Hanover and her brother Pierre Casiraghi at the men’s super combined
competition on February 14, 2012; Prince Albert of Monaco at an event on February 12, 2014  

King Harald & Queen Sonja, February 17, 2014 | The Royal Hats BlogKing Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway at the Women’s 12.5 km Mass Start competition on February 17, 2014 

Queen Máxima, February 11, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog

Queen Máxima of the Netherlands watching the men’s Snowboard Halfpipe qualification on February 11, 2014

King Carl Gustaf & Queen Silvia, February 15, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog

King Carl Gustaf & Queen Silvia, February 16, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog

King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden at cross country ski events on February 15 & 16, 2014 

Photos from KCS Presse via Corbis; Leonhard Foeger/Reuters/CorbisKCS Presse/Splash News/Corbis; KCS Presse via Corbis; Kay Neitfeld via Corbis; Jens Buettner/EPA/Corbis; Hendrik Schmidt/EPA/Corbis; and KCS Presse via Corbis

Who Wore It Best: February 2014 Poll

The Royal Hats Blog

As winter drags on and on this year, I thought a dose of spring might be welcome. For the second poll this month, we’re going to face off two light, airy and decidedly springy hats. These two Philip Treacy designed cream picture hats, both with a tall, indented crown and raised brim on one side, were chosen by two royals with very different approaches to fashion. The question remains, dear readers, Who Wore It Best?

  Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Lady Gabriella Windsor at the Golden Jubilee Service, June 2002;
The Duchess of Cornwall at Ascot in June 2007

This poll will be a little shorter than most and will remain open until February 28 at midnight, GMT. That gives you just eight days to cast your votes- happy voting!

Photos from Getty as indicated