Over a week has passed and Royal Wedding fever is still surging through Britain and the rest of the world. Not only have the many designer dresses and shoes provided inspiration for the next sought after summer wedding outfit, but a new found love (or hate) for hats has been born. A plethora of weird and wonderful hats were paraded by some of the most high profile figures in society, decorated with feathers, flowers and frills in all shapes and sizes.
However, it was a particular guest of Wills and Kate, Princess Beatrice, who divided the nation after arriving in an extravagant hat creation at last week’s Royal Wedding. What seemed to be a gravity-defying work of art, many fashion critics have been quick to slate the gaudy and outlandish choice for such an occasion.
The milliner responsible for the controversial creation and maker of a total of 80 other hats on show, for example Victoria Beckham’s navy pillbox, was designer Philip Treacy, who has defended his headgear as ‘gorgeous and beautiful’. Royally commissioned as milliner for the wedding, Treacy has said that; “My inspiration was beauty and elegance; it’s a 21st century Royal Wedding”. A now undisputed style icon herself, Ms Middleton was previously attracted to Treacy’s unique style, wearing one of his wide brimmed black hats at Sandhurst in 2006.
Vivien Sheriff, also milliner to the Middletons, identified a few trends for upcoming weddings. She pointed out the recurring appearance of discs, referring to the popular saucer-shaped hats, and said that the shape is easier to wear as it doesn’t restrict the face. “You can be kissed and you can greet people”, of course a requisite of any wedding guest. The Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips, also set to marry this year, wore a striking Treacy interpretation of the disc-shaped hat. Sheriff also noted that the most popular colour seemed to be “a pale lilac”, however, a good number of ladies in bright colors were spotted among the crowd including Queen Margrethe II of Denmark in an electric blue, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s wife Miriam in red and the Queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, who sported a purple headpiece and floral jacket combination.
Perhaps a bolder and more controversial statement than Treacy’s lavishly ludicrous hats, particularly in the fashion world, was made by Samantha Cameron, wife of Prime Minister David Cameron, who arrived without wearing a hat at all. Some have been outraged by her ‘sans cap’ outfit saying that it was ‘bad wedding etiquette’; etiquette guide Debretts stated that ‘hats are traditional, but by no means compulsory, at British weddings, and a matter of personal choice for christenings or funerals.’ Whilst etiquette may excuse Samantha Cameron, fashion critics have been far less forgiving saying the choice was ‘absurd’.
Philip Treacy’s millinery marvels are certainly the latest on trend accessory among the rich and famous and will no doubt inspire the forthcoming designs to hit the high street. However, I wonder whether Samantha Cameron will actually lead the fashion forward parade with her ‘recessionista chic’, seeing more people opting to step out without headgear and letting their outfits speak for themselves.
In any case, the Royal Wedding has certainly brought hats back to the fashion forefront and I look forward to seeing how this accessory becomes an essential item in 21st century occasionwear.