When 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.
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:
It is the black veiled bow fascinator Princess Michael of Kent wore last June.
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.
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; 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 Tatiana, April 14, 2011; Princess Mathilde, April 30, 2006;
Queen Silvia, May 21, 2007; Princess Marie Aglaë; October 20, 2012
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 DPP; Anwar Hussein via Getty; Patrick van Katwijk via DPP; Anwar Hussein via Getty; Patrick van Katwijk via DPP; Wakeham via Corbis; Bauer 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
Princess Estelle of Sweden celebrated her second birthday on Sunday. The Swedish course released three photos for this occasion; Estelle was wearing a sweet double hair bow. Adorable!
Photos from Kate Gabor via The Swedish Royal Court
My 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 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.
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 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 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 and Queen Sonja of Norway at the Women’s 12.5 km Mass Start competition on February 17, 2014
Queen Máxima of the Netherlands watching the men’s Snowboard Halfpipe qualification on February 11, 2014
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/Corbis; KCS 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
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?
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!