Over the weekend, James and Julia Ogilvy (James is the son of Princess Alexandra and the late Angus Ogilvy) celebrated their twenty-eighth wedding anniversary. We don’t often look back at millinery fashion from the late 1980s so I thought we’d grab the opportunity of this milestone to do so.
James Ogilvy and Julia Rawlinson met during their first year at St. Andrews University and married on July 30, 1988 at St. Mary The Virgin Church in Saffron Walden, a small market town in the bride’s home county of Essex just south of Cambridge. Julia wore a gown in white dupioni silk with a v-neck, fitted bodice, and full, ballgown skirt that swept into a short train. The dress is firmly dated in the late 1980s by the voluminous leg ‘o mutton sleeves trimmed with bows (a popular design detail that in all likelihood was also on the back of the dress!). Devoid of lace or beaded trimming, the stars of this dress are its silhouette and the silk of which it is made. Not surprising for a country wedding of a more distant member of the royal family, Julia forwent a tiara and anchored her silk tulle veil with a crescent of fresh flowers to match her bouquet.
The bridesmaids, which included Lady Gabriella Windsor (front left, below), wore dresses in the same white dupioni silk with pale pink sashes and similar floral headpieces to the bride. The bridal party had a quintessentially English country look that might seem familiar thanks to the popular movie “Four Weddings And A Funeral” which screened just six years later.
Princess Alexandra topped her cerulean blue suit with a matching straw hat. While not as tall as the designs we see her favour today, the hat had many design elements that seem “oh-so Alexandra”- a pork pie shaped crown, wide brim and lavish silk flower trim. It’s a wonderful hat and the saturated colour was particularly beautiful on her. Alexandra’s daughter Marina, shown on the right in the photo below, wore a classically shaped hat in black textured straw with a wide brim.
Queen Elizabeth wore a two toned straw hat with rounded black crown and flat, yellow brim. A wide yellow hatband and spray of black cherries completed the hat. The cherries were an unusual and fun trim and while the graphic hat did an excellent job of grounding the eye-assaulting paint splattered suit, I think the entire ensemble was so firmly rooted in the late 1980s that it’s best left there.
Diana, Princess of Wales, topped her Catherine Walker dress and grey coat with white straw picture hat by Philip Somerville. The hat, with a short upturn on the brim, was simply trimmed with a ruched white hatband and marks a time when the princess was transitioning from the smaller, fussier hats she wore in the early years of her marriage to the more streamlined style she adopted over the next decade.
The complete antithesis of Diana’s streamlined hat, Princess Margaret’s hat was textbook 1980s excess! In vibrant royal blue, her halo brimmed design was entirely covered in silk blooms on the underside of the brim that framed her face like a peephole in a rose garden. Attractive? I’m not sure. Memorable? Absolutely!
While just twenty-two years old at the time of this wedding, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones (now Lady Sarah Chatto) was already showing signs of her uncluttered millinery style and preference for classic hat shpaes with a simple straw wide-brimmed hat with contrasting hat band.
The Duchess of Gloucester topped her red suit with a large boater style hat in straw trimmed with side sprays of flowers both above and below the brim and a monochrome hatband. The Duchess of Kent went for fashionable 1980s polka dots with her ensemble, matching her pale pink dotted suit to the bumper brim of her hat. It looks like the hat was finished with a bow at the back and a pale pink straw domed crown.
The Duchess of Kent’s daughter, Lady Helen Windsor (now Lady Helen Taylor) was typically fashion-forward in a crownless straw hat with upturned brim trimmed with a large scarf of blue organza at the back that trailed down her back (see it at the 6:00 mark in the video below)
Finally, Princess Michael of Kent wore a pale pink straw hat edged in black piping, placed at a rakish diagonal angle on the side of her head. We’re so used to grand design elements (soaring brims, huge feathers etc.) on Marie Christine’s current hats that the smaller scale and gentle shape of this piece makes for a great surprise.
1980s fashion is often not regarded with kindness and while several design elements in the hats seen here seem rather dated, I think they are wonderfully elegant examples of the millinery fashions of the day. What hats stand out to you most at this wedding?
While Princess Eugenie’s fashion was very 1950s today, Viscountess Linley jumped forward to the swinging 60s with her ensemble. Her hat is an eye catching rounded pillbox in textured cornflower blue straw, trimmed with a flat bow at the front. With her plaid coat from the same era, it’s a LOT of look but Serena carries off the exaggerated hat and I think it’s rather fun on her.
Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan Previously Worn: This hat is new
Margarita Armstrong-Jones looked very grown up in a green silk covered percher cocktail hat trimmed with looped green bows and white silk flowers. This shade of green is lovely on Margarita and the scale is perfect for her. We have another budding royal hat wearer here, dear readers!
Princess Margaret's descendants: Lady Sarah Chatto and husband, Viscountess Linley with kids Charles and Margarita. pic.twitter.com/EqkhRSGoeE
Designer: I suspect Rachel Trevor Morgan as well Previously Worn: This hat is new
Lady Sarah Chatto topped her navy and white ensemble with a new saucer hat in the same colours. The white straw underbrim on this piece livens it up and while I’d love to see Sarah try out a few other shapes, I really like the colour contrast and sale of this piece on her. It looks like a hat most of us could integrate into our own wardrobes and this practicality makes me adore Sarah’s millinery choices all the more.
As they do each year on Christmas Day, members of the British Royal Family attended church this morning at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene near the Sandringham Estate. Queen Elizabeth led her family in a new bright red hat and coat with grey and black mottled faux fur trim. The hat, with a flat crown covered in red fabric, features a matching faux fur brim.
Designer: I suspect Angela Kelly Previously Worn: This hat is new
Duchess of Cornwall topped her grey and black embellished coat with a black felt hat with flyaway raised brim. The hat is simply but effectively trimmed in a wide stripe of silk around the brim. Camilla’s hats are often lavishly embellished and this more streamlined piece is a nice contrast for her.
Designer: Philip Treacy Previously Worn: This hat is new
Duchess of Cambridge wore a new hat in hunter green felt. The perching saucer shape on this piece is supported by a large poinsettia-like flower at the back which that gives much texture and interest to the hat. The colour is lovely on Kate and the hat was showed off to great effect by her chignon.
Designer: Looks like Lock & Co. Previously Worn: This hat is new
Countess of Wessex looked wonderfully elegant in a grey tweed coat with matching hat. The cocktail hat, with a beret base, features a tall rim at the top of the hat. The small hat is given further visual punch with trimmings of a large twist of coordinating grey straw and a swath of black net tulle (see the hat in greater detail here). Dove grey is an unexpectedly lovely colour on Sophie and I thought she wore the piece well.
Designer: Jane Taylor Previously Worn: This hat is new
Lady Louise Windsor stepped out in a simple black tam trimmed with a small bow at the side. This piece seems to mark Louise’s entry into the realm of hat wearing which, excitingly, gives us royal hat fans one more hat wearer to watch.
Princess Beatrice wore a new bespoke piece in black velvet.(see a better view here). The bumper brimmed hat is trimmed with beaded detail around the crown and a flat bow with beaded centre on the side of the brim. Placed at a jaunty angle on her head, the colour and scale of the hat made it a beautiful piece for the young princess.
Designer: Juliette Botterill Previously Worn: This hat is new
Princess Eugenie repeated the dark teal straw cocktail hat with black crin swirling trim we saw her debut at Ascot this year. The hat’s beaded brooch trim at the top its base adds a festive touch that makes it a great choice for Christmas and I was happy to see it worn again today.
Lady Sarah Chatto wore a simple black straw hat with simple rolled brim. Sarah’s personal style tends toward the simple and streamlined and while not as memorable as other hats worn today, it fits well with Sarah’s aesthetic.
Is there anything more fun than chatting about Royal Ascot hats? I am so honoured to be joined by milliners Christie Murray, Fiona ManganandJill Courtemanche, here to share their millinery expertise and thoughts on the final royal hats we saw today on the first day of the Ascot races.
Jill: This is a hat seemingly more fit for a hunt than the races. I think the colors are lovely on her but the detailed, feathered up-brim feels too fallish and the billowy fabric around the crown is dated. It doesn’t convey the joy or freshness of the fashion that is more customary at Royal Ascot.
Royal Hats: Jill, it might not feel ‘fresh’ because the coat is from 1980! 2 words come to mind- feather overdose.
Christie: I think that the shape of the hat is very age-appropriate and I love the look of the feathers on the upturned brim. I just can’t say that I’m a big fan of the trim. The material is quite wide and heavy, and is draped quite loosely. I’m not 100% on the feather and brooch detailing either. I think, the shape and idea of this hat is there, but tend to think that less-is-more in this instance. Princess Anne is so elegant and I’d love to see this hat paired back a bit, even with no trim, to let the feather work and shape speak for itself.
Fiona: Oh dear….I feel the hat is more suited to a winter race meeting with all those guinea fowl feathers (I suspect, they are some kind of guinea fowl) to the underside of the brim although it is a sinamay hat. Not particularly liking the loosely draped fabric around the crown either and it looks a little shoddy on the top edge, as though it was badly blocked or perhaps squished in a suitcase!!!! The outfit wouldn’t be my favourite, not a fan of that rich beige colour. On the plus side, this hat shape is nice on her and I love her skinny belt. So I think Anne on this occasion, in my opinion, has not got it right!
Zara Phillips Tindall in a new cocktail hat by Rosie Olivia. Dress by Paul Costelloe.
Fiona: Nice, simply detailed hat which suits Zara very well. I like the combination of nude sissal and primrose yellow flowers though there is nothing particularly stand-outish about this hat, she played quite safe today! The yellow colour she seems to like a lot and we see it on Zara quite a bit. That dress is beautiful – the cap sleeves and turtle-neck collar do wonders for her figure. Overall a nice look.
Jill: Lovely and those daffodil yellow flowers, made from goose feathers are gorgeous (if I was there I would have a hard time keeping from reaching out to touch them)! From all angles this hat is chic and suits her perfectly.
Royal Hats: I adore the fresh,unexpected colour scheme. At first glance, I missed that the flowers are constructed from feathers and agree that they are fantastic. It’s a very pretty hat with a sense of humour that I really appreciate.
Christie: How lovely is this colour on Zara Phillips! The feather flowers are very clever, they bring a floaty, lovely element to the piece. Again, I don’t think it’s actually on quite correctly, which does make it difficult to comment on balance. It’s looks as if it should be sitting slightly lower and more forwards on her face, which I think would then help the straw drape to work with the lines in her look. I really love how she’s accessorised this outfit, it really nails the summer racing brief.
Autumn Phillips in a new saucer hat by Gina Foster. It is the “Anzio” design.
Christie: It looks like a beautifully constructed hat, again I just want to go and tilt it on her head so that it’s sitting beautifully! The curls in the half-burnt ostrich feathers work well the the lace detailing in her outfit. As a blonde, and with the hat in sinamay, she can get away with more black in her look, without it being too heavy. Although, I’d still love to see it broken up a bit ~ I do love colour for Royal Ascot!
Jill: Very nice, I love the saucer shape and that the floral trim frames her face above and below the brim. The most important factor here is that she is wearing it correctly, so often these platters are sitting flat on the head and without the angle they can be too harsh to the profile. My only comment on this would be that it would have been nice to pull a little white into the trim to match her skirt and brighten the whole thing up a bit.
Fiona: Nothing spectacular about this whole outfit, looks very last minute and possibly a little cheap and nasty overall! That wrap-top does nothing for her and the hat might be improved if the placement was slanted more. The twisted spines needed to be better thought out and less crazy looking for such a safe outfit. Sorry Autumn, not a huge fan of the outfit today!
Royal Hats: Fiona, you have me rethinking my adoration for this hat! I still love it it but agree that the outfit isn’t Autumn’s best.
Lady Sarah Chatto in a repeated saucer hat by Stephen Jones
Christie: How lovely is this image! I think that Lady Chatto has stayed very true to her personal style with this headpiece, I can’t imagine her being comfortable in anything large and ostentatious. I like how there’s a sneaky fur felt crown with a sinamay brim, it works well with the lines in her jacket. I would have loved to have seen her hat slightly more tilted, and her hair up with this look, but other-wise it’s very paired back elegance, and very her.
Royal Hats: The hat is lovely (although I would love to see a different shape on Sarah) but since the straw brim shows as grey, I really don’t like it paired with with this black and brown striped coat. Sarah has a cream hat in this style that I think would worked much better.
Fiona: I think this hat is a little small and would look better placed at a slant. I do however like the simplicity of it and the velvet juxtaposed with the sinamay, it is a good combination. Although I am not a mad fan of brown I think she can carry the horizontally striped coat well.
Jill: This is very safe, it’s a clean line and very classic. My only issue is that it is sitting too far back on her head, the brim line should be more in line with her eyebrows. I don’t even mind the velvet as it is paired with the open weave straw but it would have been more adventurous in brown or with a bit of trim to mark the liveliness of the occasion.
Immense thanks to Christie Murray, Fiona ManganandJill Courtemanche for your contributions today. We will all be back late tomorrow to chat about the hats from the second day of the races. To sign off now, here is a peek at a few more royal hats spotted at the Ascot racecourse today:
Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Prince Harry in silk top hats – one polished and one not. After our wonderful tutorial on buying a silk top hat last week, I find the look of an unpolished silk hat rather ragged in comparison!
Some of my favourite royal hats worn at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge four years ago were worn by extended members of the British Royal family. Here is the first of two posts devoted to looking back at these hats.
Viscountess Linley kicks off our review in a straw based cocktail hat covered in small rectangles of silk. These rectangles were placed to form the petals for structured flowers, anchored with pearl button centres. These most unusual flowers were not only striking, but created the most wonderfully layered and textured effect on the hat. With her streamlined cream Roland Mouret coat, the Stephen Jones designed hat made for a modern and very chic ensemble.
The Countess of Ulster (pictured above in front of Lady Sarah, wore a small black straw percher hat. Her mother-in-law, the Duchess of Gloucester (below), wore a dramatic navy and white hat. With a small white straw crown and large navy saddle brim, the hat was trimmed with curled ribbons around two sweeping navy feathers. This hat is much bolder than what we’re used to seeing on the Duchess and I thought it was smashing on her.
The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester’s two daughters, Lady Davina Lewis and Lady Rose Gilman, also attended the wedding. Lady Rose’s headpiece consisted of a a large white headband topped with a large, muti-layered pinwheel flower. The pinwheel, in a slightly darker shade of grey than her coat dress, looked to be centered with faux pearls.
While difficult to see here, Lady Davina’s hat was made of the same navy satin as her dress. Built on top of the cocktail hat’s round base was a tall slope of folded silk in high waves. The bottom of this trim was made in magenta silk, revealing a shock of pink contrast at the back of the hat. It is a rather avant garde piece that you might need to see on video for a better look (you can see the Gloucester family’s arrival at Westminster Abbey here at 37:00).
This group of hats shows great creativity and style, don’t you think? Stay tuned later tomorrow morning for some beautiful hats worn by the Kent cousins.
Photos from Getty as indicated and BBC TV via The British Monarchy
I’m always happy to see Lady Sarah Chatto at British Royal Family events. Her sleek, streamlined style often carries a 1950s vibe and this kind of ‘vintage modern’ personal style is unique in royal circles. In recent years, Sarah has frequently stepped out in two versions of the same Stephen Jones saucer hat- one in cream and one in black. I suppose life as a ‘mini royal’ does not warrant many hats and ordering a favoured style in two classic colours is an easy way to manage a millinery wardrobe. In a world of marvellous hat design options, however, it seems curious to me to have multiple versions of such a distinctive shape. When she appeared at Easter two weeks ago in another version of this same style, I found myself even more perplexed.
The wedding of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles ten years ago was attended by numerous members of the British Royal Family. After looking at the hats worn by the couple’s immediate families and Charles’ siblings,let’s look back at the millinery worn by members of the extended British Royal Family.
Viscountess Linley followed the fascinator trend of the time with a statement headpiepiece of pink feathers. The piece curved around her head, down the side of her face, leaving her looking like her head was alight in pink flames. I adore the colour of this headpiece with her grey sill suit find the shape to be overly theatrical. Lady Sarah Chatto was characteristically streamlined in a large dove grey picture hat. Embellished only with a slim silk band around the base of the crown, the focus of the hat was found in the contrasting shapes of the flat crown and cartwheel brim. With Sarah’s coordinating dove grey dress and coat, the look was streamlined, clean and elegant (and the perfect backdrop for some of her late mother’s diamonds).
The Duchess of Gloucester (center, below) topped her tailored powder blue coat with a wide picture hat in the same shade. The hat was wrapped in multiple strips of organdie ribbon braided in a wide plait.
The Duchess of Kent wore a flirty mint green cocktail hat with silk base and cascade of side feathers. While I think more vibrant colours are much more flattering on Katharine, her hat was whimsical and unexpected and I liked it much more than her pale floral and mint green silk suit.
Princess Alexandra of Kent topped her lilac jacket with a felt hat in the same shade. The higher-than-usual domed crown was balanced by a wide brim that slightly upturned on one side and a triple pleated band that knotted at the front of the hat. I adore this shade of purple on Alexandra but wonder how many sandwiches were hidden under the tall crown (what other purpose could warrant the height of that crown other than smuggling snacks?)
Princess Michael of Kent chose an ensemble in classic navy and white. Her hat also featured a domed crown, anchored by an oval brim in cream straw. The hat’s only trim, a curving horizontally placed feather spine, was a little austere but emphasized the oval shape of the hat. The austerity of the hat balanced the fussiness of her suit and accessories (how many brooches does a royal really need?) and I think her hat translates more successfully today than the rest of her ensemble.