Today was Ladies’ Day at Ascot and I am so pleased to be joined by two talented ladies, British Milliner Katie Vale and American milliner Jill Courtemanche, for a review of the day’s hats. What a day it has been!
Queen Elizabeth in Rachel Trevor Morgan
JC: The color on this hat (and coat) is stunning! I still think the sharp upturn of the brim is not my favorite shape on her, but I applaud her for mixing it up and embracing a variety of silhouettes. The detail on the trim of this hat is really great. The shading in the flowers and darker edging on the ribbon all make for lovely accents and give the hat a real three dimensionality which is very pretty.
KV: It’s a nice inoffensive hat. I like the asymmetrical brim, which is different to others we see from the queen; usually she has more of wide brim with an upturn. The colour matches her dress perfectly and the flowers are quite pretty. The size is good and it’s well balanced, but it doesn’t excite me.
RH: Does anyone where these saturated shades of blue better? I have long been a fan of Rachel Trevor Morgan’s feathered flowers and these blooms, with the two-toned blue and navy straw bow loops, make this such a pretty hat. I also really like the shape of both the brim and the crown. This might not be the fantastical, whimsical show-stopper hat we associate with Ladies’ Day but I think the Queen looks beautiful.
Princess Beatrice in Sarah Cant
KV: Oh I love this! A pretty colour and I like the stitch detail on the felt. It’s not often that you see felt being worn in the summer, but I like the brightness of it. The size of the button base is delicate. My only negative is that I don’t think it actually goes with her outfit.
JC: I really want to like this, but I think the fact that it is felt is throwing me. I love the color (even though it is the wrong shade of orange to match her skirt) and the shape is very nice on her especially the profile, I just wish the hat was in a straw so the whole thing would be lighter. I like that’s it’s youthful and fun yet I just don’t think it’s quite right.
RH: I also love the shocking, vibrant colour, the sculptural quality of the shape, and the stitching detail. Like Jill, I am perplexed with the choice of a felt hat for an event in June. Pair it with a navy or grey winter coat for Christmas this year and I will swoon!
Princess Eugenie in Robyn Coles
KV: I bet those two dangly bits have got in her way all day! The rose seems too high from the base and whilst the colour goes well with her outfit I just think overall it’s a tad bland. It’s a nice size though but I’ve seen her in nicer designs.
RH: I desperately want to pivot this hat so that those two tails are not over her face. If they were dangling down over her ear, I think the eye would be drawn up and the effect of the hat would be really pretty.
JC: The color is perfect with her jacket (which I covet) and the shape is vey clean and modern, overall very nice on her but I do not know how she can stand having the ends of that bow in her line of vision all day! I don’t like anything that creates a focal point on the face like that, I think it’s distracting I would have preferred to see the trim a bit more off to the side. That said she looks incredibly ladylike and pulled together which is fantastic!
The Countess of Wessex in Jane Taylor
KV: Zara has always been my favourite royal hat wearer, but at this rate Sophie may be over taking her! I love the shallow crown, and the shape of the brim gives lots of lovely movement. The design of the loops is also really well placed both on top and underneath the brim. My only criticism is that she is in a completely black outfit and it looks a little somber.
JC: Another gorgeous silhouette, this hat is divine! A definite show stopper and it feels light for being all black. The way the trim loops through the brim to frame the right side of her face is genius. Her overall look could have used a pop of color, it’s bordering on dowdy especially with the weight of the fabric (I would take 4″ off the length of that skirt and add a brightly colored belt) but she looks demure and feminine, this look is classic.
HR: Is it black or is it navy? In the closeup shots, it looks navy. Even with questions of colour, this hat is spectacular. The gentle wave shape of the brim contrasted with the large bow loops is brilliant. Like Jill and Katie, I’m not sure this dress was the right pairing for it. The hat however, was my favourite of the day.
Princess Anne in Snoxell Gwyther
JC: I am glad that for Ladies’ Day Princess Anne clicked it up a notch. I adore the bright color on her and it’s fantastic with her coat I just find the crown a bit too heavy for her delicate features. The trim is not my favorite but it is simple and allows the coat and her other accessories to have a place. When I just see a headshot I think this is way too much but in full length it really works nicely and I think this is her best look so far this week.
KV: This hat is totally unbalanced! The crown is too big and the brim is too small. However it is lovely to see her in a nice colourful hat, as the previous two days I’ve just thought the hats weren’t enough for Ascot.I do love the hot pink / navy colour combination though and think the decoration is very elegant, yet striking.
RH: I don’t care about the slightly off proportions of this hat. It’s a hot pink hat on Princess Anne! That alone is cause for major millinery celebration!!. It is also really pretty with her gorgeous coat.
Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, Princess of Jordan, Sheikha of Dubai in Philip Treacy
KV: YES!!! Now that’s an Ascot hat. The overbrim trim is delicate lace that matches her dress, and it really does work well decorating the brim like this. The underside decoration appears to be a large flower with feathers then on top of that; I think if you can’t go OTT at Ascot when can you? However, I think it should be either a flower or a feather spray. Overall though I’m a fan of this hat; it really makes me smile.
RH: You can always count on Princess Haya to wear something astounding on Ladies’ Day and she certainly didn’t disappoint today. I love the lace trim around the brim although I agree that the feather explosion on the side is a little large (it looks even larger than her head!). That being said, Ladies’ Day is all about fantastical hats and Princess Haya carried this one off with impeccable style.
JC: This is gorgeous, she looks absolutely stunning by far my favorite look of the day. Dare I say a modern Eliza Dolittle! In America most people are so uneducated on hat wearing that the movie My Fair Lady is their only reference for race day hats and I really feel this is a modern take on that and it’s perfectly executed. The detail work on the trim is beautiful, she’s wearing it perfectly so it’s frames her face and her dress is simple enough that the hat is really the main dish (which I love). This is what Ladies Day at Ascot should be.
That leaves you, dear readers. What do you think of the royal hats on display at Ascot today?
Photos from Getty as indicated