After looking at the hats worn by Queen Elizabeth, Princess Anne and Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, we now turn to the hats worn by the Countess of Wessex and York Princesses. Joining this conversation are three milliners whose work has graced royal heads – Christie Murray, Jill Courtemanche and Fiona Mangan. I’m thrilled to have these ladies join for Ladies’ Day at Ascot today!
Countess of Wessex in a revised hat by Jane Taylor
Christie: How lovely is the Countess’ dress! I love the detailing at the bottom. Jane’s done a lovely job with this bias, mesh sinamay brim. The patterning works beautifully with her outfit, as well as the colours and textures of the vintage-style veiling. For me, I don’t think that the trim is quite balanced. I can see what she was going for, but I think it’s just missed the mark. Otherwise, it’s a beautiful look. I’m loving that everyone so far hasn’t gone for the traditional ‘lace and floral’ for Ladies Day! More paired back, chic and minimalist elegance. It’s modern femininity and I just love it.
Jill: Thank goodness for Sophie this week, she really has been the vision. Another beautiful, classic, ladylike outfit topped with a gorgeous hat. I really like the pattern on the straw with the detail in her dress and that the feather trim on the hat extends above and below the brim, that is quite nice. I do think the design on the trim is a little too harsh next to the face, the veiling adds a little softness but it seems a bit unfinished. Overall though I think this look is a winner and with the earrings and broach it’s stunning!
Fiona: Love the dove grey colour in the dress but feel the style is suited to someone a little older. Sophie looks so much more elegant in a tailored outfit so to be honest, this dress is a little disappointing. I quite like the hat shape but the trimming is too wild for my taste with the feathers looking like they were dropped out of the sky without much thought on how they were arranged. Again, the veiling is not properly trimmed!
Royal Hats: I believe this is the same hat Sophie wore to Ascot in 2012 but with different feather trim. The previous feathers had a larger and more natural sense of movement which I think I might prefer. Feathers aside, for me the star of this hat is the brim and the use of the lattice weave is absolutely brilliant.
Princess Beatrice in Laura Apsit Livens
Royal Hats: I adore this hat! I love the contrast between the traditional shape and the modern colour blocking and love that while it is completely unembellished, it is anything but boring! Hats at Ladies’ Day are famous for being trimmed to death (or into complete absurdity) and I adore that Princess Beatrice caught everyone’s eye today with this very streamlined piece.
Fiona: Love her whole ensemble. Her dress is so classic, so simple and against the bold colours of the hat and shoes this is a winner for me in a lot of respects. I do however feel the hat would have been really nice if she had tilted it, though sitting straight across her head adds a bit of the unexpected and quirkiness to her look. The hat itself is beautifully finished. I keep thinking there should be some other trimming on it but the boldness of the design approach is like that of when you walk out the door all dressed up for an occasion, which is to remove one accessory piece– the Less is More Concept! A Bold and Brave hat I would say!
Jill: There are a couple things I like about this hat, the turquoise is a lovely color on Princess Beatrice, very flattering to her coloring and I like the very wide straw edge on the brim but that is where it ends for me. The shape is too flat and I am not a fan of the orange / turquoise combination. Her dress is a lovely, classic silhouette and really an open canvas as far as hats go. The only way I could see this working is if she added a statement necklace which picked up on the turquoise but even then the hat could benefit from some trim (and less orange).
Christie: The colour choice is really youthful, I love how Princess Beatrice and worked it in with her shoes. And I love the chic minimalism of her white outfit, just gorgeous! For me, the shape of the crown and the depth really doesn’t work with the brim though. It looks far too large for her head, and squashes the look. I would have love to have seen and smaller and slightly taller crown, or more angular, to really work with this outfit. I do love that they’ve let the colours do the talking and haven’t killed the hat with a trim. Perhaps, if it was sitting further back on the head, it would work even better? Great idea but just hasn’t quite been pulled off, in my opinion.
Royal Princess Eugenie in Nerida Fraiman
Jill: Princess Eugenie’s hat is youthful and fun, very nice on her. The deep green is flattering and the lightness and movement of the crin trim is very pretty. I particularly like this look in the photo above when she has her jacket off, it’s a terrific match with her fun dress and really makes her eyes pop. I am not a huge fan of the brooch trim but it does brighten the whole look and is a modern, young way to add jewelry to her ensemble.
Christie: I think this headpiece is really gorgeous! Porkpie hats are difficult to block in sinamay and I think it’s hard to make crinoline not look tacky. Nerida’s done a wonderful job. The colour of the headpiece looks beautiful with Princess Eugenie’s eyes and hair colour. From a styling perspective, I would have been more likely to pull out that pastel, flamingo pink in to the body of the hat, which would have balanced the pattern on the bottom of her dress, stood out against her hair colour, and been more age-appropriate than the green. But I do think she looks gorgeous.
Royal Hats: This hat is one of my favourite colours- a colour that looks beautiful on Eugenie. While the colour scheme on this hat is certainly dark, I think her summery dress balances it and makes it work.
Fiona: Another beautiful look from one of the younger Royals. Her dress with the graphic print is age appropriate and fun. The petrol blue hat has a great shape and her placement is perfect. I love using crin myself but in a more structured way – this is a very typical Nerida Fraiman application of crin, where she sculpts it which works to soften the structure of the hat.
While it was officially Ladies’ Day, a number of very dapper royal men in top hats were spotted as well:
Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece
Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence and the Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York
I adored Countess Spencer’s beautiful teal blue saucer below, trimmed in what I suspect are handmade silk roses. And my favourite non-royal hat of the day? This beautiful Rachel Trevor Morgan design worn by none other than the designer herself.
Numerous members of the British royal family who usually attend Ascot instead took part in events commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. We will look at hats worn at these events along with all those worn on the fourth day of Ascot later today. Until then, what did you think about these and the other royal hats worn today for Ladies’ Day at Ascot Racecourse?