It has been my great honour to have American milliner Jill Courtemanche and British Milliner Katie Vale join us this week to chat about this year’s fantastic and zany royal hats at Ascot. Sadly, yesterday was the final day of the races (and this is our final day covering the wonderful hat bonanza that is Royal Ascot). With no further adieu, let’s look at the hats!
Queen Elizabeth in Angela Kelly
JC: I quite like this look on the Queen. The simplicity in this case works nicely as the fabric work is done so precisely. My only complaint is the crown line could have been softened slightly and I think the placement of her hat pin across the front is a bit odd but overall it is a very clean tailored look.
KV: I really like this hat, possibly my favourite of hers all week. The colour is lovely; very delicate and feminine. And the brim is a lot wider than we’ve seen previously from her. There are no flower decorations – just a material bow around the crown – and I like this subtle design. This has a big thumbs up from me.
RH: This hat surprised me. A vast majority of the Queen’s hats are significantly embellished (bows, feathers, flowers etc.) and Angela Kelly’s designs tend to take a heavy hand when it comes to trimming. This hat is a departure with its clean lines and restrained simplicity but it looks absolutely beautiful on Her Majesty. Well done Ms. Kelly! I am amazed by the Queen and the way she continues to experiment with her hats. Her style continues to evolve and I deeply respect the way she continues to experiment with her hats and clothes. She truly is a fashion icon.
Princess Badiya El Hassan of Jordan
KV: I like the use of block colours and there are some beautiful shades of blue around at present. I think it could actually be a bit lighter and brighter in colour to match the coat dress a little more. I like the flowers and veiling but feel that the arrow head quill is a little lost. I’d prefer it if there were 2 quills, but having just one seems as though it is totally out of place.
JC: I happen to adore blue and black together and I think this fascinator has pulled the two colors together perfectly. The hat looks slightly heavy on her but I am willing to overlook that because the colors combination is so lovely with her dark hair. She looks polished and ladylike.
RH: I usually like fun, whimsical hats but this one seems awkward to me. I think I am reacting to the heaviness that Jill mentioned and the clash of blues that Katie mentioned. Or maybe it just pales in comparison to some of the truly fantastic hats we have seen this week.
Princess Beatrice in Misa Harada
JC: This hat is fantastic on Princess Beatrice, like golden spun sugar. It’s youthful, light and fun and a great color with her complexion. For me this is a home run, take note young America – this is how you should be dressing for weddings and special events!
KV: I love the gold colour of this saucer disc, but I think it gets lost a little in her hair, which is a shame because her hair and fascinator are both beautiful but together they blend into one! I like the size of it and there are some pretty feathers and spiral designs. The only downside is that Beatrice is famous for pushing the boundaries in millinery; whilst she doesn’t always get it right I admire her so much for that and look forward to seeing her next hat. Unfortunately thus disc isn’t pushing any boundaries. So on the last day of ascot I feel a tad let down! But overall it’s a pretty design.
RH: I think Bea looks stunning! I love this colour of gold on her and adore the gold accessories with her magenta dress. I think the hat is youthful, fun, stylish and full of personality- this is Beatrice at her best. Absolute perfection!
Princess Eugenie in Sarah Cant
JC: I do believe this is my least favorite look of the week. Again I am confused by the use of felt for what should be a summer hat and why such a lovely young woman would choose such a matronly look is beyond me. The shape of the hat is very interesting but the fabric choice seems off. I also think this silhouette is terrible with the high collared dowdy coat. She would have done better with a higher crown to pull her up out of the coat. This one is a real miss in my opinion.
KV: I really like this hat! The striking red and black is a bold and classic colour combination. The shape of the crown and brim are both quite angular, but work well together. This is a well balanced hat. It looks as though there is a red stripe along the brim, which I don’t actually think it needs. The shape of the brim alone is nice enough. Again…..my favourite of hers all week.
RH: I’m leaning toward liking this one. The brim shape is unique and so very interesting- it frames Eugnie’s face so nicely without obscuring it (as many large brimmed hats do). The stripes on the top of the brim are also graphic and punchy- very unexpected but striking. I agree, however, that a wool hat in June is surprising.
And that wraps up coverage of Ascot 2014! My deepest thanks to our guests, American milliner Jill Courtemanche and British Milliner Katie Vale, for sharing their passion and insight on hats this week. It has been so amazing to have you here! Stay tuned tomorrow for a final wrap-up and poll to decide our favourite Ascot royal hat this year.
Photos from Getty as indicated