After looking at the hats worn by Queen Elizabeth and Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, Princess of Jordan, Sheikha of Dubai for the first day of Royal Ascot yesterday, my guest commenters British Milliner Katie Vale and American milliner Jill Courtemanche and I are going to look at the hats worn by the British Royal Family. Here goes!
Duchess of Cornwall in Philip Treacy
JC: I love that Camilla embraces wearing hats opposed to some who just plop on some old thing and go. She always manages to pull of what I think on a lot of women would just be too much hat. As such my first instinct is to say that the design of this hat is “heavy”, it has a lot going on (and a very distinct crown) but she carries it fabulously. The color lightens everything up and flatters her skin tone and the detail work on the trim is phenomenal. As a designer I can definitely say that putting that much trim on a hat and still managing to make it look light, is no easy task!
KV: I just love that Camilla has the confidence to wear such large hats. They suit her and she carries them well. The brim has an inverted edging I think, I really like that. And I think the decoration is dramatic! If there had been smaller decoration it would’ve been lost, because of the one plain colour.
RH: Gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. I also adore Camilla in large picture hats and there is something so beautiful about the movement on the side decoration of this hat. This hat has a LOT going on- inverted edging, double grey straw bands around the crown, a blue net band around the crown, and the curled bow loop decoration on the side- but it is so well balanced it does not seem overdone. Paired with Camilla’s beautiful blue and silver coat dress, I think this outfit is perfection. My favourite hat of the day!
Princess Beatrice in Sarah Cant
JC: Fantastic! The color and the shape are both gorgeous on her. The hat is simple but the detailing in the texture really add a nice architectural feel to the hat while still keeping it ladylike. It’s fun and age appropriate but not a fascinator which is refreshing.
KV: I like the colour tones and the decoration on the top crown, but I don’t like the brim and how it slopes in one sweep.
RH: I love it! The combination of teal and navy feels so modern and is perfect for Princess Beatrice. I love the unusual shape of the hat and the stitched lines on the crown and brim- beautiful embellishment without being too much. Many hats would have been too busy with this lace dress but these two pieces are the perfect compliment. Modern, interesting but still very beautiful on Beatrice. Another one of my favourite hats of the day!
Princess Eugenie in Nerida Fraiman
KV: I try to find positives in everything….but to me this just looks like a clam shell on her head with a flower stuck on it. I’m really sorry but I’ve seen her wear so much better!
RH: I am a sucker for a black and white hat and I find the small pleats on the base of the hat give it some texture. Eugenie has certainly worn some more memorable hats but this one seems classic and rather sweet.
JC: I can’t really say anything bad about this hat, the colors are nice and soft and there is a lovely combination of textures but its not something I am going to remember. I would like to see a bit more pizazz and fun, it’s Ascot after all.
Countess of Wessex in Jane Taylor
JC: This hat is interesting to me, I can’t decide which way to go. The shape and the color are lovely on her and I very much like the textural combination of the beadwork with the buntal as it’s not something you commonly see and therefore feels fresh but it also looks a bit heavy and the quills are all bent up. I think because it Ascot and you want to go a bit more over the top, it works but I’m not in love with it.
RH: I feel like this is a confusing jumble of things going on. I like creative and fantastical hats but this one feels really disjointed. I do, however, like this pale blue on Sophie.
KV: Oh dear! This just highlights how important placement is! If this was 1-2″ more to the left, with the pearl facing directly front on it would just look so much better. As it is though…..I’m not a fan!
JC: Why is she wearing this cocktail hat like a yarmulke? A very cute hat (if not a bit too youthful) and the colors match her suit effortlessly but in my opinion she has it on all wrong. I want to tilt it down towards her right eye so the veil cages over her eyes instead of her hair.
KV:Hhhmmmmm….the hat is nice and the colour tone matches her outfit really well, but it’s placed too far back. So it doesn’t sit right. Which is a shame as I really like her dress and jacket.
RH: Even with placement further forward as a cocktail hat should be (which would make SUCH an improvement), the brown and yellow colour combination seems really tired. I also think the flower plonked on the middle of this hat was not such a good idea. Anne has recently worn some new hats with brims; I think a more traditional shape with a brim works so much better for her than a cocktail hat.
Zara Phillips Tindall in Philip Treacy
KV: Does she ever get it wrong? A large front disc! Gorgeous! Modern! Stylish & chic. The spirals just add a splash of fun to it. The only thing is that as it’s all cream you can’t see the detail very well.
JC: I think Zara looks lovely in this hat. It’s a good shape for her and it’s a very clean, ladylike finish for her suit. I’m not wowed, I think we’ve seen this look before and as so it almost makes it look ordinary (which just sounds crazy because if one was to wear that here in the states it would be anything but).
Royal Hats: What a marvelous Ascot hat! I love the black and white colour combination, especially the mix of a rather sedate dress with a statement hat. Her chignon also balances the hat so very well. I don’t find this ordinary at all! Another one of my favourite hats of the day!
Photos from Getty as indicated