How It’s Made: Handmade Italian Straw Hats

Royal Hats A look back to the now almost lost art of entirely handmade straw hats. Enjoy!


Princess Eugenie at Goodwood Races

Princess Eugenie, who recently moved back to London, attended Ladies’ Day at the Glorious Goodwood races today in Chichester. She used the occasion to début a large asymmetrical hat. Described by the designer as a silver grey straw “large disk hat with waffle veil and pearl brooch,” the hat cast a much larger footprint than any other Eugenie has worn this year. It’ a great shape and scale for her and I appreciate how the bold shape is softened by the light colour and romantic trim. I’m just not sure the hat was showed to greatest effect with her simple white dress and grey jacket.

Designer: Nerida Fraiman SS826 design from the Spring Summer 2015 collection
Previously Worn: This hat is new
What do you think about this pale grey straw hat?
Nerida Fraiman SS826 2015
Photos from Getty as indicated and Nerida Fraiman

Imperial Couple Visit Toyota Factory

After returning to Tokyo earlier this week, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited the Toyota factory in Toyota City. The purpose of the visit was to see steps in the production of the “Mirai”, Toyota’s car powered by hydrogen fuel. Empress Michiko repeated the hat she débuted early last month, thankfully providing us a much better view.

Empress Michiko, July 27, 2015 | Royal Hats

Made up of stacked white and grey flat disks, the bottom grey disk is covered in silver fishnet which lends a subtle sheen to the piece. The hat is trimmed with a flat white and grey bow behind which are tucked some silk leaves and flowers. From the closer view I have tried to provide below, the hat is much more adorned than many of the hats Michiko has worn in recent years.

Empress Michiko, July 27, 2015 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown. Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: June 3, 2015;  May 26, 2015

While I love to see Michiko’s hat style expanding by even the tiniest of steps, I’m a little perplexed by the choice of this particular piece with her boldly patterned hound’s tooth check coat. The Empress has a number of hats with hound’s tooth check trims (see here, here, and here) and I would have expected her to pair this coat with one of those hats, which would have coordinated more directly.

Photo from Asahi Shimbun via Getty

Seeing Triple: Queen Elizabeth

Royal HatsWhen Queen Elizabeth repeated a turquoise blue hat for her visit to East London nearly two weeks ago, a number of readers noticed the hat is not the only one in her millinery closet with this distinctive stepped crown shape. Rachel Trevor Morgan has created three hats for Her Majesty in this style, each trimmed with a cluster of handmade flowers – flowers that balance the higher, stepped side of the crown. While the brim shapes slightly differ between the three pieces, the three pieces are undoubtedly related.

A visit to Barking and Dagenham, July 15, 2015

Visiting Rome, April 3, 2014

Queen Elizabeth, June 18, 2011 in Rachel Trevor Morgan | Royal Hats

Enjoying Ascot, June 18, 2011

What do you think about this trio of hats? Is there one that stands out to you most?

Photo from Getty as indicated and Pacific News via Zimbio

Imperial Royals visit Nagoya

On Sunday,  Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan visited the Akasaki Institute at Nagoya University. The Empress wore a new white saucer hat trimmed with a wide twist of the same slate blue silk crepe as her suit. The twist is a bolder trim than we usually see on Michiko’s hats and brought a sense of whimsy to the piece.

Empress Michiko, July 26, 2015 | Royal Hats

Designer: likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: this hat is new

Yesterday, Their Imperial Majesties attended the opening of the XIX INQUA Congress, held this year in Nagoya.  For this event, Empress Michiko repeated her black hat with bronze bow. She does not wear many metallic hats and this one, which coordinates well with her suit, is a nice departure from her go-to grey.

Empress Michiko, July 27, 2015 | Royal Hats

Designer: likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: June 17, 2015

I’m always happy to see the Empress take even tiny step of experimentation with her millinery and these two pieces are slightly different than what we usually see her wear. What are you thoughts on these two hats?

Photo from Sankei and Sankei

Royal Wedding in Monaco

Royal Hats The civil wedding ceremony of Pierre Caisraghi and longtime girlfriend Beatrice Borromeo took place on Saturday in Monaco. For the event, which was followed by an informal picnic for 700 guests hosted by Prince Albert and Princess Charlene in the Palace gardens, Beatrice wore a dusty pink v-necked, empire waisted gown by Valentino. The bodice of the dress was covered in gold lace which was also used to make mid length, floaty sleeves and trim the bottom of the skirt. Beatrice completed the look with a small headband of fresh flowers.

Pierre Casiraghi and Beatrice Borromeo, July 27, 2015 | Royal Hats

Pierre Casiraghi and Beatrice Borromeo, July 27, 2015 | Royal Hats

While an outdoor wedding with picnic is the perfect wedding to wear a hat, the only member of Pierre’s family to do so was his sister Charlotte. She topped her orange printed dress with a simple white straw picture hat trimmed with a wide sash around the base of the brim which trailed off the back of the hat.

Charlotte Casiraghi, July 25, 2015 | Royal Hats  Charlotte Casiraghi, July 25, 2015 | Royal Hats

For the formal dinner hosted by Princess Caroline Saturday evening at the Hotel de Paris, Beatrice wore a second Valentino design in luminescent grey and white silk organza (see her arrival on video here). The sparkling clouds hand embroidered and beaded on the skirt made for a rather dreamy ensemble that on any other day, would have likely been a twinge just too literal.

Pierre Casiraghi and Beatrice Borromeo, July 27, 2015 | Royal Hats

The happy couple will celebrate their religious wedding on August 1 on one of the Borromean Islands on Lake Maggiore in the bride’s native Italy (when one’s family owns some islands, it is a logical place to have a wedding). After these two Valentino couture pieces for her civil nuptials, I can only imagine Beatrice’s next dress will be spectacular.

Photos from Valentino; Valentino via VogueGigi Iorio/Splash News and Gigi Iorio/Splash News via Corbis; and Xposure via Vogue

This Week’s Extras

Royal Hats

Queen Elizabeth, in a pink Angela Kelly design, was spotted driving herself to church last Sunday (Daily Mail)

Infanta Elena was spotted at the train station last weekend with her daughter and her go-to straw fedora  (Hola)

Princess Alexandra of Kent wore a lovely cream tulle trimmed hat on her visit to Lindon Tweeds last week (British Monarchy)

The Swedish royal family are vacationing together on the island of Oland. The younger members were spotted enjoying a bike ride together in Borgholm (Lehtikuva)

The Daily Mail’s Rebecca shared a peek at one of the exhibits in this summer’s Buckingham Palace tour. This scene shows the brim and crown of this hat on their blocks. This scene shows the hat’s different flower trims placed at the side and the Queen’s famous white hat from the Diamond Jubilee Flotilla up on the shelf.

Rebecca English Twitter

Royal Hats

Interesting interview with Prince Albert’s eldest child, American Jazmin Grimaldi (Harper’s Bazaar)

The Danish royal family at their annual summer photo call ( Crown Prince Frederik, Crown Princess Mary and their family were also photographed at Gråsten Castle last weekend (Monarchy Press).