Marvellous Millinery- A Thing Of The Past?

Just recently one of my very stylish girlfriends played a major part at the Royal Sydney Easter Show. As part of her role as a Councillor of the Royal Agricultural Society, she attended a a dinner where formal etiquette was key. All the gentlemen had to wear a jacket and tie in the dining room and ladies were required to wear hats. Such a lovely tradition.

I love a good hat, but how often do we get to don one in modern times? Possibly just Melbourne Cup Day, or if you are a track aficionado, the whole racing carnival. Different seasons mean different hats.

Being a Melbourne girl, Liz, my fore mentioned friend, knows how to rock a hat, but some of us need help! Felt, straw, feathers and lace, anything is possible.

I love a head piece and was known on occasion  to just pin the odd flower or two in my hair and wear hats on a whim. This I think worked for me either, a) because I was young and impetuous b) I had no idea and liked to be different or c) all of the above, which I think is probably the answer.

I did always love old movies and felt it added a touch of Hollywood glamour to any outfit. Basically I thought I looked great, and assumed everyone else did too, ah the wonders of youth!

First rule! YOU are wearing the hat, the hat is not wearing you! Wearing an amazing hat is all about confidence. Sarah Jessica Parker is certainly lapping up all the attention her hat is creating for her.

A couple of tips to remember

1: Nine out of ten times I would recommend hair up with a hat. Experiment a little with your look before the event.

2: Think about the fabric of your outfit, to match match everything can look a little old fashioned.

3: What type of look are you trying to achieve? Sharp lines add drama, flowers add femininity and lace, a touch of intrigue.

There are a few magical milliners of our time, one of whom is the 21st century master, Phillip Treacy.

We all remember Princess Beatrice and THAT hat at a certain royal wedding in 2011.

This piece of millinery was lambasted world wide, in fact it even had it’s own FaceBook page.

Mr Treacy designed that hat and many more for the same function, but mention hat and royal wedding and that’s the one which comes to mind!

We could ask, in another colour or on a different head, would we have loved it? Personally I was not a fan of that creation, but I did love the gorgeous Valentino dress coat she wore to the cathedral.

I do feel that many an outfit gets lost in translation, and what we dismiss  as bad in print, could well be magnificent in the flesh.

The late Isabella Blow was a champion of Treacy’s. I don’t think I ever saw a photo of her without an amazing creation artfully placed on her dome. She definitely wore the hat!

Nerida Winter is a fabulous home grown talent based in Double Bay, N.S.W. I love her pieces. She has been designing for over 20 years, and amongst her many accolades, she was appointed as the Official Milliner to the Australian Jockey Club in 2004.

She uses exquisite colours and fabrics to make her creations come alive. I feel the designs are feminine without being prissy.

Richard Nylon, based in Fitzroy, Melbourne is fabulous too! Year after year his striking creations are worn and photographed for the social pages.

Then there is the ‘award winning’ Essential Hat Shop, tucked away up a back alleyway in  South Yarra. Definitely one for those in the know, recognised among horse whisperers, as one of the best maker and sales shops in Australia.

Really, all the hats produced in any of these shops are art, and a joy to wear.

Often bespoke and maybe worn once, they are so unique, they would be instantly recognisable if  donned again.

So if you think hats aren’t for you, why not just try something simple this winter.

Don’t let head wear be a thing of the past.

Perhaps a gorgeous beaded beret or a fabulous fedora. Start off slow and ease yourself into the marvelous world of millinery, you never know, you just might become a convert!

Jo Bayley, Fashion Editor The Culture Concept Circle 2012.

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