Hat Cousins: Queen Elizabeth and the Mushroom Brim Hats of Angela Kelly

Royal Hats It has been a long while since we looked at one of Angela Kelly’s signature design shapes. Over the past two years, we have looked at her designs with: Diagonal Crowns,  Flat BrimsTeardrop Crowns, Split Crowns, Oblique Brims, Wrapped CrownsHourglass Crowns, and Square Crowns with Rolled Brim. Today we’re going to pick up this series with a look at Kelly’s flat crowned hats with mushroom brims.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Touring Turkey, May 15, 2008; Visiting Canada on June 29, 2010

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

 In Canada, July 1, 2010; At Ascot, October 19, 2013

Embed from Getty Images

Hosting a Buckingham Palace Garden Party, May 30, 2013

The large, rounded brim (similar to a mushroom) makes this hat shape rather distinctive… and perhaps slightly reminiscent of a 1960s era lampshade. Kelly consistently pairs this rounded brim with a flat crown, a pairing which works well to balance the hat. What works less well, in my humble opinion, is the proportion of this hat on a petite queen. I think it’s slightly too big for Her Majesty and slightly overwhelms her fine features. The palest pink hat (with feathers, above center) has a slightly smaller brim than the rest of the hats in this genre and this scale reduction works very well (minus the haphazard feathers). I’m not sure the hat will ever shake it’s retro feel but that’s also what I kind of like about it. What do you, dear readers, think of this particular millinery design?

Photos from Getty as indicated


38 thoughts on “Hat Cousins: Queen Elizabeth and the Mushroom Brim Hats of Angela Kelly

  1. Queen Elizabeth has her trademark look which she obviously likes but I cannot get on board with these big hats that look like lampshades. I do not think Angela Kelly’s hats and coats do the Queen any favours, but she seems happy enough in them. If I was her, I would wear Stewart Parvin coats, and experiment with some other top British designers like Bruce Oldfield, who dresses many of her relatives, and wear Rachel Trevor-Morgan hats, and try out a few other top milliners, such as Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy, who have designed hats for her relatives with great success.

  2. My family and I have always had the utmost respect for the British Queen, but we seldom like any of the clothes or hats created by Angela Kelly. We realize how big a challenge it must be to dress one of the world’s most photographed women. We cannot bring ourselves to like these big mushroom shaped hats which are too overwhelming for a short, elderly lady. Miss Kelly’s hats are usually too heavily trimmed also. The coats without any collars always look unfinished and not elegant enough for a Queen to wear. We also wish this Queen would change her bags and shoes. We would not want her to risk a fall, but even if she would just wear some other than the black ones, it would be an improvement.

  3. I don’t like these over-trimmed mushroom hats on the Queen. Someone statuesque, such as Queen Maxima, could wear them, but even then the trims would have to go!

  4. What an interesting connection. I hadn’t thought of most of these hats together. Thank you for your research.
    I do like the very first hat (the old periwinkle blue one) as well as the dark turquoise with the pleated silk trim that may or may not be a mushroom derivative, but the others never have been particular favorites, especially the two last pinks. But it’s the trim that ruins those two for me.
    What interests me most is the second hat, the pink and white. Are you sure it’s a Angela Kelly? it’s the first version of this hat worn for Ascot 2009:

    What’s interesting is that this second hat is from Rachel Trevor Morgan; it’s on her website (page 3, hat 16). Usually replaced hats are made by the original designer. (I’m sure this doesn’t have to be true, but it does seem to be the case in examples I can think of.)

    • Interesting connection! Looking closely at these two hats, I think they are two entirely different pieces. The giveaways for me are the different materials the hats are made of and different shapes of the top of the crown- the crown of the Angela Kelly hat is covered in fabric and is just slightly rounded. The crown of the Rachel Trevor Morgan hat is straw, angular and slightly fluted at the top, giving the illusion here that it higher on one side of the crown than the other. It is rather curious why two hats were made for this outfit!

      Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

      • I agree that they are two entirely separate pieces. Usually when two entirely separate hats are created (even years apart), however, the first generally milliner has been used for the new hat as well AK has designed several replacement or second hats for her older ones, as has RTM, but I can’t think of another instance where one milliner was used for the first hat, a different milliner for the second. With all the record keeping that must go on at Buckingham Palace, I suspect they don’t leave much to chance.

        • I’ve been thinking about this more- occasionally, the Queen has worn a Rachel Trevor Morgan Hat with an Angela Kelly designed dress and coat (see here, for example. I wonder if all Angela Kelly outfits have a coordinating hat made and on occasion (for reasons I would be most interested to find out!), a second hat is commissioned? This is the best explanation I can come up with for the ‘one outfit with two hats from different designers’ scenario.

      • This reply may be out of order, because there’s no “reply” button in the right place, two posts below, but thank you for your new links and ideas. I do wish we knew what AK and group were thinking. I’m sure there’s always a definite, well calculated reason for their decisions, even when the outcomes may seem a little bizarre. (Of course, they may be laughing their heads off at our speculations!)

  5. I do not think the lampshade works on the petite lady that we are discussing here. I am small too, and Angela Kelly would starve if she had to rely on me to buy her hats and clothes. I wish the Queen would try a hat by somebody else such as Ryan Wilde or Philip Treacy.

  6. Looking at these hats, I believe it is a shape that fits HM perfectly. I am always amazed at how different the same shaped hat can look based on the fabric, color, and embellishments. I also wonder if anyone has ever counted the number of hats HM owns. Where in the world is a place big enough to hold all of them? Does she ever donate any of these or lend them to family members or maybe her ladies-in-waiting? Awesome job to keep all these hats in perfect condition!

  7. I actually think the lampshade works quite well on HM; Angela Kelly has done a great job to make certain it doesn’t hide the Queen’s face, which lampshades often can do to people. I agree that the trimmings are sometimes a bit odd for my taste, I think this is a classic shape and don’t find it dated at all. The two from her 2010 Canadian trip are my favorites of those selected here.

  8. MrFitzroy loves HatQueen’s listing of the posts on Kelly shapes that have preceded this one: “Diagonal Crowns, Flat Brims, Teardrop Crowns, Split Crowns, Oblique Brims, Wrapped Crowns, Hourglass Crowns, and Square Crowns with Rolled Brim”. One almost gets seasick just reading the list!

    This shape does seem more classic than dated…in the way a Garbo or Fedora always look classic. A Cloche seems to have more potential to often look dated. Several of Ms. Kelly’s other listed shapes seem to have potential to look far more dated and silly in the future than this one.
    HM wears these so well! The brim does seem to encourage her to keep her chin up, if you will, and they do frame her face marvelously.
    As a couple of other commenters have noted, in designs by Ms. Kelly, the devil is always in the details. In this shape particularly, simple and somewhat bold trims work marvelously, and with the notable exception of the pink hat with the fussy band and explosive multicolor shaved feathers, the designer seems to realize this.
    Wonderful post HatQueen, it’s a treat seeing these designs assembled together.

  9. I like this shape, and the blue one with the bow is one of my favourites. I’d never seen the first stripey one before – that’s quite bold isn’t it!

    I also think the one worn in France last year with the patterned band is from his block. I appreciate your thoughts on the blue one in the comments, and think this is the same shape as the pale pink one here.

    Anyways – I think Her Maj suits a lampshade, I like them a lot!

    • Good point- this hat certainly fits this genre as well.

      Here’s an interesting twist- the hat photographed in Angela Kelly’s 2012 book (clearly made to match this outfit) appears to follow the full ‘mushroom cap’ shape (I think, extending down further than the hat above). It makes we wonder if the hat above is a renovation of the original below or are the two entirely different creations?

      • I didn’t mind this hat because the brim wasn’t too wide, and the trim was simple, but the hat above on the stand is hideous!

      • The hat worn by this Queen on her tour of France last year works because it isn’t such a big and definite mushroom shape and the trim is so simple. It is a surprise for an Angela Kelly hat. It is one of her very best hats and outfits. I hope this Queen never wears the hat pictured in Angela Kelly’s book, it would be too much hat for this lady.

  10. I like all of them, especially the deep pink one, and the bright blue one which was added in the comments area. HM looks fantastic in the bolder colors.

  11. I think this shape works very well for Her Majesty. As usual, Ms Kelly has a somewhat heavy hand with the embellishments, but the simpler ones are quite nice. It’s interesting how changing the brim changes the whole look of the dark blue hat.

  12. The style of the hat suits HM. She wears it well. My favorites are the navy blue with the white bow and the white hat with the red flower. I might add that the brooches she wears with these outfits are two of my favorites. The Maple Leaf brooch especially, as I live in Canada.

    • I originally had included this hat in this post but looking at it really closely, noticed that the brim is not the full ‘mushroom cap’ shape. Notice how the brim on the hats above makes a full curve down around the Queen’s face? This one stops a little short. Perhaps the brim was cut back or perhaps Angela Kelly has changed the hat block she is now using for the brim on this style of hat. Nevertheless, this blue hat is a tweak on the full ‘mushroom brim’ shape. The beautiful pleated trim and gorgeous colour makes it one of my favourites in this group.

      • I don’t mind this hat on the Queen. The brim is not too wide and the pleated trim works. Is it definitely an Angela Kelly design?

  13. Better shape than some hats the Queen wears. Do wish the designers would come up with something new and becoming to the Queen. So tired of the neckline on her coats. The pearl necklace and brooch with nearly all outfits is more like a uniform than the way most people would dress.

  14. I like this shape on HM. You would think the downturned brim would hide her face, but it actually highlights it. Or maybe that’s just HM herself 😀 As usual with Angie’s hats, it is the trimming that can make or break a hat. The crisp white bow on the navy hat and the cheery rose on the white hat – just perfect. The other hats are too fussy in the trimming, though the lavender one almost makes it.

  15. Add me to the list of those who find this a favorite hat shape on HM. Success or failure seems to depend on trim and overall outfit coordination in these photos. I like the periwinkle, the navy, and the white w/red flower best. It is hard to be certain from these pics, but do the navy and the white one have slightly asymmetrical crowns?

  16. I actually prefer the larger size brim on her. They frame her face quite nicely and help ensure that the trim along the band doesn’t take the spotlight away from her face.

  17. I have to admit that this design is one of my favorites from Miss Kelly. It is a nice shape, and does have a kind of 60 s Audrey Hepburn vibe about it. For the most part it does work well for Her Majesty, but on some of them, a smaller brim would have worked better. I also take issue with some of the trim. Although the Queen always looks regal and approachable, some of the trim is too fussy. I would love to see her in a small hat like the one Ryan Wilde designed that was featured on Korean Vogue. HM wore similar hats in the 40s and 50s, and they suited her very well. That style is one that should make a comeback.

  18. I like the look on Her Majesty. Compared the size and style Princess Beatrix (who, it looks to me, picks her hats to fit over, not her face). HRH the Queen has also kept her hair style unchanged for years. I would like to see Princess at Beatrice in hats to fit her face, not hair).

  19. This is a very interesting hat shape. With the down-turned brim, it is one that instinctively I would say wouldn’t suit the Queen’s role, where her face needs to be visible. However, looking at the pictures, the structure and placement actually mean that this is never a problem. I must say, I think almost all of these really suit the Queen – she wears hats with brims of this size that are straight or upturned, so I don’t feel that it’s a style whose scale overwhlems her per se. The worst one is undoubtedly the last pink one, as the trim makes it look just like an elderly lampshade. But many of the others work very well – the first blue one, the navy with the white bow, the white with the red flower are all successful in my opinion. In fact, I think I’d argue that the slightly larger scale of those gives them a distinction that the smaller pink one lacks.

  20. Of all the hats above, in my opinion, the navy one works best, I can’t tell from this image if it has an angled crown, this would certainly add some style to the shape. The bottom pink is odd and most like a homemade lampshade!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.