It is my great honour to introduce Dutch milliner Wies Mauduit, creator of La plus belle! bespoke millinery in The Hague, as my guest to discuss today’s royal hats at Ascot!
Despite rainy weather for the second day of Royal Ascot today, Queen Elizabeth wore a bright smile- perhaps thanks to her new hat?! In pale blue straw, the hat features a tall, domed, straight-sided crown and a short, downward facing cartwheel brim. The design is completed with a straw hatband covered around the front with handmade silk blossoms in shades of purple and blue.
Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Wies Mauduit: After yesterday’s fireworks, giving us Queen Elizabeth in an interesting new brim shape, Queen Máxima in a very Ascot worthy creation by a Dutch (!) milliner and the Duchess of Cambridge in a beautifully romantic hat and dress combination, today’s hats were comparatively simple. And maybe that was a good thing, as there was a lot of rain falling on Ascot today!
The betting on the colour of the Queen’s hat was suspended yesterday after an unknown punter put a stake of four figures on yellow, the betting organisation suspecting foul play. Instead, Her Majesty turned up in blue. Today the bets where on pink but Queen Elisabeth appeared yet again in blue, a lovely pale shade with just enough turquoise to keep it from being baby-ish (note the matching umbrella!)
Royal Hats: I like to think she follows the betting and chooses a colour just to foil everyone! This hat immediately reminded me of this similar hat, also by Rachel Trevor Morgan, that the Queen wore to Ascot in 2014. My second thought was one of surprise- this is almost the same colour palate that she wore yesterday. I can’t remember the last time she repeated a colour, back-to-back at Ascot.
Wies Mauduit: The hat’s simple design is enlivened by a half circle of silk flowers, echoing the pattern and colours of Her Majesty’s dress. The petals of the white flowers have been delicately outlined by hand in black ink to make them stand out against the pale blue sinamay. The work of a skilled and talented flower maker!
Royal Hats: Thanks for pointing that out- I never would have realized that the petal markings would be hand drawn but of course, that makes sense when you’re talking about hand-made silk flowers (the markings don’t magically appear!). The shape, colour and scale of this hat is great. I agree that what makes it stand out to me is the floral trim. It’s delicate, soft and so well balanced- while there’s considerable colour contrast between those in colour tinged cream and darker purple, their thoughtful and artful placement makes them work beautifully together.
Wies Mauduit: The silk bourrette tweed of the coat in combination with the silk flowers make a lovely, summery look on such a rainy day! My only quibble might be that there is nothing to tie the hat to the gold buttons on Her Majesty’s coat, but that may be due to the choice of brooch: the blue silk flowers harmonize perfectly with the cornflower blue of the massive sapphire.
Royal Hats: Great observation. I thought the blue blossoms tied perfectly with Queen Victoria’s sapphire brooch (not a typo- this is a brooch Prince Albert gave Queen Victoria) but I can see how a gold brooch (or silver buttons) would make what is already a great ensemble, completely unified.
Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan. Coat and dress by Stewart Parvin
Previously Worn: this hat is new
Photos from Getty as indicated
An interview with Rachel Trevor-Morgan from People Magazine yesterday (not very in-depth, but possibly still of interest) — https://people.com/royals/queen-elizabeths-hat-maker-shares-why-this-years-royal-ascot-style-change-is-cool/
HatQueen, thank you for the link to Anfisa Korelova (the flower maker) — some of the pieces on her website are absolutely astounding, as well as the photos of her actually making the flowers. And Wies also, thank you for the very detailed explanation and photos from your Instagram. I am certainly going to pay greater attention going forward to the flowers on hats as independent works of art!
At the risk of being sent to The Tower I’m afraid this hat was too much like a lamp shade for my liking. Not a fan.
How’s this for best photo of the day?!
I love this hat on Her Maj, it has a youthful feel that somehow perfectly captures her (93-year-old) spirit. The flower work is delightful, just as yesterday’s was, although they have quite different vibes to them. I’m loving these flower-filled hats …
Wies, your comment about the flower maker, as well as a similar comment someone made yesterday with regard to the Duchess of Cambridge’s hat lead me to wonder — obviously flower making is a whole separate skill than making the rest of the hat, but do flower makers work on staff for milliners? Are they independent and the milliner hires for a given hat the flower maker known for the best talent in the desired type of flower? Do the flower makers have their own studios, of which the milliners are customers? I realize these questions have nothing to do with Ascot, I am just curious.
I’ll let Wies answer this in greater detail but here’s a quick response- I believe it’s a bit of both. Rachel Trevor Morgan and her team do their own flower work in house while Philip Treacy uses Russian silk artist Anfisa Korelova for some of the blooms on his hats.
It is a good question Matthew, and it has something to do with Ascot, as Ascot is the occasion to “go big” and sometimes bold in millinery and that usually involves more or less exuberant trimming.
When I started in millinery, hat making and flowermaking/featherwork were two separate professions.
Nowadays there are not many flowermaking houses left. I know three in Paris, one of which has been absorbed by the house of Chanel and the other two struggle to stay independant and survive.
If we concentrate on “couture” flowermaking (leaving aside fast ‘n cheap production from China etc. which involves artificial silks and heat gun glue), there are two types:
Serial production and one-of-a-kind. In both cases the fabrics (silks like satin, organza, chiffon etc.) have to be starched first. For serial making the shape of the petals will be cut out with an “emporte pièce”, I don’t know the word in English but it is like a cookie-cutter. The petals will then be pressed in a hot metal mold to get the desired shape. Flower making houses have dozens of different molds, many of which are antique. It is their treasure. The petals will then be glued one by one around the seamens and the stem with textile glue. The shape of the petals and flower leaves can furthermore be enhanced by working them with hot irons.
One-of-a-kind flowers are usually made without molds, or with a combination of different techniques. The petals are cut out by hand and dyed. The flowermaker will mix her (or his) own dyes and build up the colour in different layers, always working on wet fabric. The petals are hand shaped with hot flower irons, then assembled as mentioned before. Steamens and wire are dyed to match.
Other materials can be used, like velvet, leather, silk abaca and even plastics.
It is a labour of love, but quite addictive. Some people get so skilled that they can trick nature. Their flowers attract bees!
To come back to your question: a milliner may buy flowers from a specialized house or make their own (for special orders) or both, depending on the cost and the wishes of the client. I get mine from Artnuptia in Paris but recently started making my own.
By a coïncidence my Instagram post of today is on this subject and I will share it if that is OK?
You could also take a look at the Insta accounts of @artnuptia and @etslegeron, and at those of three artists whose work I admire very much, Dutch based Kirchizian Lana Semenova (@zijdenbloem) and British masters Anne Tomlin (@annetomlinflowers) and Bridget Bailey (@bridgetbailey.textile.milliner)
These two pictures give you an idea of the work involved.
It’s interesting that the palace (If recalling correctly) described the color as “a mottled duck egg blue”….so it appears they were out to differentiate the expected “two days of blue” stories. Though one expects ‘duck eggs’ to have a bit more of a greenish tone with the blue? Perhaps MrFitzroy just knows different ducks…..
The hat…..hmmm…with the first (from a distance) images early in the day, MrFitzroy thought “Oh dear, another one where Ms. Kelly just phones it in, random craft shop bargain bin flowers and all…”. Apologies to RTM for even having such a rogue thought.
However, the closeups revealed much more nuance — and the details really do raise the bar on closer inspection. It is still a bit standard, but would indeed be most charming if one were standing right next to HM. The problems being that the hat needs to read well from both a distance and close up — and that one should just react to the hat overall, and not have to analyze it closely to find it’s charms.
Still it’s a ‘two-fer’ for HM….two lovely blue ensembles and a beautiful start to Ascot week…..will we have a trifecta of blues tomorrow? Do tune in and see!
I too thought instantly of the 2014 Ascot hat, which I believed to have too many flowers. Today’s hat in particular looks a little as though a Hawaiian lei was wrapped around at the last minute. Although the coat is the Queen’s best-fitting pattern (although oft repeated), what I really dislike is those buttons on the coat. The color actually distracts from the hat and the dress.
While t basic shape of today’s hat is fabulous, Monday’s pinched-brim hat was more spectacular and considerably more interesting.
I vote for red tomorrow. Red’s almost never worn for Ascot, is it?
Two days in blue! She’s trying to confuse the bookies, lol. It would be hilarious if she wore different shades of blue all week.
I love the colour and the shape of the hat, but really dislike the flower trim.
My bet for tomorrow is green.
Lovely. This colour is absolutely divine on HM. I agree that the flower trim is not an unqualified success, but it does make more sense when we see some of her floral dress underneath. I wish the placement of the flowers was not so regular; I feel a little asymmetry would improve things. Also, I love Prince Charles’s zebra tie! 🦓
I’m not in love with this flower trim, it looks like a bridesmaid’s headdress or a lei added to the hat. When you see the closeups, the flowers are beautifully made and show RTM’s usual artistry, but I wish the placement was a bit more sophisticated. Love the coat though and the coordination of the flowers and the Albert Sapphire. I hadn’t thought about silver buttons but now that I think of it, aren’t HM’s buttons usually gold or fabric covered… will have to scroll through some photos and see! Everyone looks very happy in spite of the rain!
I love everything about this hat: the color scheme (my favorite colors so I’m happy for the repeat), the delicate flowers – yes, there’s abundance but that’s summer – and the hat’s shape. I don’t know what it is but the hat gives off a slightly Edwardian vibe that I can’t resist. And the Queen looks happy wearing it despite the rain!
Interesting we see the same color/colour scheme on HM two days in a row! I have to agree with others the trim looks rather crafty (dare I say cheap?) from a distance, even though I know they are not since RTM is a master of flowers. I like the wider brim on the sides of this hat for something slightly different for HM, and the material of the coat and hat crown is lovely; and of course the brooch is stunning!
It really is the younger sibling of that fabulous 2014 hat isn’t it (which alas we’ve never seen again!) I like
It… but don’t quite love it. I just think the flowers could use a bit of a pruning, there’s a few too many for me. The colours are fab though, but like you say, somewhat puzzling that she’s repeated the same palate two days running. Let’s hope for sunshine and another colour tomorrow!
Wow. You all are a tough (translation- millinery savvy and knowledgeable) crowd!
I was thinking that myself! Sometimes I feel as for being so hard to please, but then I remember that I’m in good company!
That’s all due to your influence, HQ!
HA! I’m more than just a little bit proud!
This hat is lovely, but IMO not the showstopper of yesterday. And while definitely beautiful, I really don’t care for the floral trim. I think the hat would fare much better with a much simpler trim, but that is just a personal preference.
I agree with what you wrote. Pretty, but not a showstopper. I was more focused on her beautiful brooch.
I love the colour palette here, but I don’t think this is an unqualified success. The small silk flowers are beautiful when seen in close-up, but from a distance (which is what matters here!) I feel the overall effect is of a bit of a jumble. (Also, I personally like some greenery with my flowers when they are in a bunch, as foliage sets off the flowers so well and provides, and as these are very realistic flowers, I wonder if a few green fronds might have lifted things, and also made the overall effect less “crafty”.)
Should have proof-read better. …provides contrast…
Whilst I like this hat, it suffers from its appearance immediately after yesterday’s more adventurous hat in very similar colours, which I loved. The floral decoration here seems a bit excessive to me – a bunch of mixed flowers on one side/at the front, or a narrow circle of flowers all round, but not a combination of both.
hm looks delightful again. a surprise on the repeat of colour, but lovely nevertheless. not a great fan of small silk flowers – look a little too crafty, but the colours do tie the outfit and the stunning queen victoria’s brooch together.
thanks for the insight. bets are on yellow for tomorrow….
The yellow-for-tomorrow is my bet, too. Love this ensemble on HMQ; I gave a thought on HRH D of Cornwall’s dress. Given the rain, and her attempt to hide under the umbrella, my guess is silk, or a silk mix. It retreats to its own life when wet. I feel so sorry for such a mishap. Love to lovely Duchess! Awaiting next days of Ascot!