Design Review: Queen Elizabeth’s New Hats

Royal HatsIt took six and a half long months before Queen Elizabeth showed us a new hat in 2015. This new hat was soon followed by ten other new pieces, giving us a sensory overload of new hats. A number of you have asked to take a more relaxed, comparative look at the eleven new hats Queen Elizabeth débuted over the past month and here it is. While the fourth (yellow hat with silk flowers) is a Rachel Trevor Morgan design, all the others are the work of Angela Kelly.

Click on each photo to jump over to the original post in which it was featured. 

Queen Elizabeth, June 13, 2015 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats Queen Elizabeth, June 16, 2015 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats

Trooping the Colour on June 13 and the first day of Royal Ascot, June 16

Queen Elizabeth, June 17, 2015 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats Queen Elizabeth, June 19, 2015 in Rachel Trevor Morgan

Blue and yellow for Ascot on June 17 and June 19

 Queen Elizabeth, June 23, 2015 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats

First day of the state visit to Germany, June 23

Queen Elizabeth, June 24, 2015 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats Queen Elizabeth, June 25, 2015 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats

In Germany, June 24 and 25

 Queen Elizabeth, June 25, 2015 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats Queen Elizabeth, June 26, 2015 in Angela Kelly

In Germany, June 25 and 26

 Queen Elizabeth, June 26, 2015 in Angela Kelly 

Bidding farewell to Germany, June 26; reviewing the Yeoman Guards on July 9

Looking at this group of new hats all together, there are similarities in brim curves and scale but diversity in crown shapes. What stands out to me most, however, is the noticeable restraint in Angela Kelly’s use of trim.  The hats are still very interesting but much better balanced, more elegant, and so much more flattering to their wearer. It’s a very welcome change.

What do you notice in this group of new designs?

Photos from Samir HusseinMark Cuthbert, Alan Crowhurst via Getty; Mirrorpix/Splash NewsKay Nietfield/epaMichael Kappeler/dpaMichael Kappeler/dpaBoris Roessler/dpaJens Kalaene/dpa via Corbis; Chris Jackson via Getty; Peter Steffen/dpa via Corbis, WPA Pool via Getty

19 thoughts on “Design Review: Queen Elizabeth’s New Hats

  1. I am unimpressed with these hats. If I have to select one to wear myself, then it would be the yellow Ascot June 19 hat.

  2. The darker pink, the yellow, and the grey are just right on Her Majesty. The shape of each hat is perfectly suited to her face, particularly when she smiles…she is beautiful!

  3. The Trooping and Ascot hats are all fine – they go with their outfits well and suit Her Maj. The blue and white Ascot is particularly flattering with its white ‘halo’ (although I’d be happy to lose the blue feathers/ferns on the trim), and the yellow Ascot hat is gorgeous.

    The German visit was a worry in millinery terms, with some real clunkers – the white bow hat, the aqua ‘toilet roll cover’ hat and the white ‘toilet roll cover’ hat with the red feathers. The aqua split-crown hat with the wide brim is pretty and Her Maj makes it look great but it doesn’t seem to be fitting properly. That, or it’s been placed not quite right. The yellow and grey and grey and pale blue (the bow could go) are great hats and I hope we see them again.

    I’m apparently in the minority as I like the final pale blue hat. Something different for our beloved Elizabeth, Queen of Hats, that isn’t a cartoon shape or poorly trimmed. I agree wholeheartedly with MrFitzroy’s comment that she deserves better than adequate.

  4. Favourite hat: the blue and white she wore to Ascot. Elegant, classic and yet not boring.
    Least favourite: the baby blue mushroom she wore on July 9 with the Yeoman Guards. I don’t like the shape.

  5. Angela Kelly is definitely learning, especially in the trim department, but I would like to see more improvement in her proportions. Her hats, particularly the crowns, tend to strike me as too large, too small, too short or too tall. The Rachel Trevor-Morgan hat is just right!

  6. Well, it was quite a run wasn’t it? And, really a bit of a roller coaster. HM NEVER looks less than lovely, despite what may be plonked on her head. With a good hat, however, she can really look FABULOUS. That’s why it seems so unfortunate that so many of HM hats are really just adequate. The Queen is arguably the most famous (and seen) wearer of millinery in the world today. Doesn’t she deserve more than just adequate hats?

    We have eleven new hats:
    Four of them were exactly right, they worked with the outfits, they were striking, well designed and well made, they were JUST PERFECT — the hot pink, the RTM yellow, the lemon and gray, and the wrapped crown blue/gray (despite the sad tab bow)

    Four of them just missed the mark — blue and white Ascot, aqua state visit, and the aqua and blue peacock, suffered from questionable (if more restrained than typical) trimming choices, and the white brimmed cloche (while lovely) just didn’t seem to have proportions quite correct.

    Three of them are fairly incomprehensible, for one reason or another. Trooping the Colour, the white bowed state visit hat ( looked like it was perhaps a shape maquette but not a finished hat.) and the swirly cloche (which seemed more like an idea that was still being developed).

    Oh MrFitzroy does go on doesn’t he…..apologies for being long winded, and always appreciative of your indulgence. Still out of that many new hats, it just seems that more (if not all) of them should have been listed in the FABULOUS category! (Especially since most of them will continue to repeat for 3, 5, or more years in the future!)

    Would anyone care to predict which of these will become new workhorses in the rotation and appear many times over the next couple years?

    • I think the following will become the ‘workhorses’: both yellow hats, the grey and blue wrapped hat, the pink and blue from Ascot. I think we’ll also see the aqua and blue peacock, the blue swirled cloche and the white hat with red feathers again, although to a lesser degree. That leaves the peach Trooping the Colour hat along with the turquoise pleated hat and white hat (matching the Diamond Jubilee flotilla coat) to sit on the shelf. I don’t think we’ll see these three much.

      • I basically agree. I’ll bet a yellow (or yellow and gray) dress appears to go with the yellow/gray hat, though. The gray-blue outfit may be considered a semi-mourning, outfit, I suppose, because of the dark gray, but it’s such a beautiful outfit.
        I doubt that the blue swirled cloche reappears, though, since it’s with a short jacket and extremely detailed at that. I imagine that she’ll wear the suit for receptions with no hat. I think too that there’s a possibility that the peach Trooping hat might become a workhorse if the outfit can pass as a non-color outfit and not a shiny, dressy outfit.
        I suspect, therefore, that the each hat’s fate is determined exclusively by whether its dress/coat remains practical. If an outfit becomes a workhorse but the hat’s unsuitable, then a new hat is created. If there’s a beautiful hat but the outfit doesn’t seem to lend itself to workhorse status, then the hat probably languishes in storage.

  7. Although recently debuted in public, the first and last hats shown above must have been made more than 3 years ago, since the outfits were worn for the Jubilee. (I realize that the first hat, of course, could have been made recently out of the original dress/coat fabric.)
    A recent trend seems to be bumpers around the brim or a curved brim that shows the inside brim on the outside: the bright blue and white from day 2 of Ascot and the yellow and gray from last day in Germany are the most effective examples, but the new white and green-blue combinations from 24-25 June show this too.
    The only hat I don’t understand is that first turquoise hat / blue coat on first day to Germany. I read somewhere that the blue flower on the hat was made by a German and that the hat was designed to feature the flower while in Germany.
    The decorations on RTM’s yellow hat are indeed beautiful, as others have mentioned, but so are the decorations on the two AK hats from the first two days of Ascot.
    I think that the one most flattering new hat is the gray and yellow. Not only are all the details precise perfection, but since one can see so much of inside of the brim, it rather looks as thought the Queen is wearing a halo.

  8. My favorite hat and outfit has to be the yellow one she wore in Germany on June 26. I love the beautiful gray tipped yellow feather with the grey trim on the brim. Also loved the collared coat which is a nice change from her usual collarless coats with the tree-strand pearl necklace. I thought it was so clever to have a dress that matched this yellow outfit and then the gray hat and coat she wore when at the Holocaust camp and memorial. Both hats and coats were stunning in color and design and a small, but welcome, change that I think made the Queen look really elegant.

  9. The only hat I don’t care for is the 1st day in Germany. The 2nd Germany day is OK except for the cutesy bow in the front. Both yellow hats are outstanding, and my favorite of the lot is a toss-up between the Ascot opening day fuschia and the wonderfully sedate grey/blue. What a great group of new hats! It was well worth the weary wait. (please pardon the alliteration.)

  10. The gray/blue is by far my fav hat of the bunch. Given the limits HM must have on hats, I am always impressed by the wide variety of colors and trims. The shapes aren’t always a hit, but look well made

  11. It is hard to see many differences in the hats when you look quickly. That is the way I think they would appear in a crowd. I really like the grey and blue…second last…the outfit is good. Worn on a somewhat sad occasion.

  12. What jumped out for me was the cloche type designs, of which there were three, all equally lacking in their effect (unless one was going for bulbous and unflattering). Definitely something I would wish the Queen to avoid in future designs.

  13. The Rachel Trevor-Morgan hat is very elegant on Her Majesty The Queen, although it would be nice to see that hat with a more wider brim. But the yellow hat is an absolutely perfect hat on The Queen. I don’t like the small Yeomen of Guard Inspection hat, of which she has a similar one paired with a lemon outfit some time ago. I did not like the hats at Ascot (apart from those worn on 4th and 5th day). The German State Visit was graced with new hats, but I only liked the one with the black edged brim. I have to say I am not always a fan of Angela Kelly’s work. Sometimes she tries too much to have all the details correct, with the same edge, on the hat, on the collar, on the sleeves, … The Trooping the Colour outfit was (from my point of view, because I was in the stands) a bit too soft on The Queen, especially the silly pairing of the same material, was over one bridge to far for me. I liked it back in 2012 when she wore it for the Royal Windsor Horse Show, because it was an evening engagement, but it did not match my expectations for a daytime engagement.

  14. I think you can always pick the Rachel Trevor Morgan for the sheer sophistication of the decoration. Look at the complexity and depth of hers against the rather amateur trim on AK’s designs. Hers all look as if she has a bin of pre-made stuff that she can choose from, whereas RTM makes something to fit the hat, the wearer, the occasion. I am sorry to be so harsh, but I am sad that Her Majesty has not patronised other talented milliners. Angela Kelly has done a sterling job, but she is not and does not pretend to be a top flight milliner.

  15. I agree – there are some real winners here. What stands out for me is that the use of shapes is quite varied, there are some real departures here, and where it’s an existing shape then the trim distinguishes it (ie the blue and green flat crown hat). I say it often, but it’s amazing that at 89 she’s still trying new things.

    I thought the white cloche was an RTM design, but now see your original entry says unconfirmed. Was sure I’d read it was one of hers, but sure your sources are more reliable!

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