Royal Ascot Day 4: The Yorks

Royal Hats

I’m so fortunate to be joined today by Lauren Ritchie, creator of Melbourne-based Lauren J. Ritchie Millinery, to chat about today’s royal hats at Ascot!  

The Duchess of York topped a sunshine yellow dress with a teal velvet headpiece trimmed with peacock feathers and finely dotted net veil. The milliner notes that the hat is partially upcycled from a vintage piece.

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Lauren Ritchie: Jess Collett has made some wonderful pieces for the Duchess of York! 

Royal Hats:  I’m really liking their ongoing collaboration. It has really elevated Sarah’s hats!

Lauren Ritchie: I really enjoy the combination of the radiant yellow and jade peacock but would have put her in the same coloured shoes instead of the purple. The green accessories of bag, clutch and gloves are a well considered combination.

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Lauren Ritchie: I’m unsure of how this hat was designed to be worn. My first reaction is I would like to pull it firmly down over her right eye, moving the plumes to be more central on her head to add height but then looking from other angles,  the hat also looks somewhat turban-like but moved forward on the head, treated more like a button. It is a playful combination of styles.  

Royal Hats: I think different placement on the head would help! The colour blocking is fun and Sarah wears green SO well. The headpiece base has an interesting shape that I like- it’s open without he doughnut look of a completely open circle. I’m just not sure about the styling here- does the velvet  headpiece and purse work with the light, sunny, summer dress? I don’t know.

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Royal Hats: I’m intrigued by this shape, Lauren- how would you go about blocking an interwoven piece like this? What finishing challenges does a shape like this bring?

Lauren Ritchie: For a piece constructed in this way, all of the finishing would need to occur underneath.  It is a bit of an illusion-  it could be two pieces that are constructed in full, finished parts and then interlocked together to form the final shape or it could be a pillbox shape that has been cut into and wrapped around itself. Either way, the base material would need to be very sturdy to support the weight of this material. 

Royal Hats: Thanks, Lauren. Your explanation is helping me realize how impeccably it is constructed. I can’t remember other royal hats that have included upcycled parts from a vintage hat and this is wonderful to see here. I’d love to see more upcycled and recycled royal hats!

Designer: Jess Collett
Previously Worn: This hat is new

The Duke of York again looked dapper in his elegant black antique silk top hat.

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What do you think of the Duchess’ hat today?

Photos from Getty as indicated 


16 thoughts on “Royal Ascot Day 4: The Yorks

  1. I’m not usually a fan of the Duchess choices. However, this hat is really lovely on her and fits well with the dress. It’s also suitable for the occasion.

  2. I really love this whole ensemble on Sarah! At first I thought this hat was a pillbox, then saw the partially open crown and was disappointed; but with these photos showing a better overhead view, I’m back on board! Since it’s a more open design, I think the velvet is still okay seasonally (compared to when Beatrice wore a felt cocktail hat some years back), even though it’s not my first choice of material. I would position it over Sarah’s right eye rather than her left; that is my one big complaint. The peacock green and yellow color combination is a big surprise, and one I adore! Concerning the shoes, I could go either way: part of me wants them to be peacock green, and part of me likes the purple; at least they aren’t the cobalt blue I first thought they were, because that didn’t work at all for me.

  3. Thank you for the more detailed photos from different angles. I’ve never seen a hat put together like this and it is very intriguing! I do agree that an updo might have showcased the hat better. I don’t mind the 3 colors together, I just wish there was some print somewhere to tie them all together, in the clutch or the belt or the hat trimming. They’re all the same intensity & tone which makes them work together to my eye. Andrew is looking very good lately. Someone pointed out that he never looks happier than when he is with his family and that is so true.

  4. Looks like a great design, and I love the idea of upcycling vintage elements. But there are a lot of good comments here: reposition the hat, preferably on an updo, and save the velvet for a fall/winter outing.

  5. This is a really interesting hat, especially when seen from the top, and the design suits the Duchess. I think an updo like this from 2018 would show it off to advantage:
    Embed from Getty Images
    Sarah loves to wear green; however this particular green is jewel bright, and the yellow of the dress is intensifying the green and upping the contrast, resulting in a powerful combination which is super interesting but, sadly, looks too “hard” I feel on Sarah’s delicate light colouring (whereas her daughter Eugenie could wear this green hat very easily and look completely natural). Sarah actually looks stunning wearing this yellow (wearing yellow well is one of the perks of being a redhead!) — but as we are talking about the hat here, I would try to soften the dominance of the green and blend it more into the outfit by choosing a dress in a less bright, less contrasting colour – such as the colours in the tie/waistcoat Andrew is wearing.
    BTW, love her gold bracelet right hand which says “Eugenie” – I suppose it says “Beatrice” on the other side. So sweet.

    • I agree, mcncln, this hairdo would look perfect with the new Ascot hat!

      Does anyone know what the original (vintage) hat looked like from which this one was made?

        • I’m not surprised. I was just curious, as the word “vintage” can cover a lot of ground – anything from generations past to Sarah’s own mother. Am I remembering correctly that she carried something belonging to her mother to Eugenie’s wedding?

          On the lighter side, looking at the first photo in the 4th gallery (right above the words “I’m intrigued by this shape”), is anyone else besides me looking at that photo and wondering what the Duke and Duchess have spotted on the ground in front of them?!?

  6. I love Fergie’s colour blocking here, that beautiful green just pops out against the yellow, boys choices with her colouring but for me it really works. I do think the purple shoes, whilst in the same colour family, are one colour too many though.

  7. I like the hat, but feel an updo hairstyle would have set it off better – long curls, net and feathers are too much.
    I also wanted different shoes.

  8. The hat is certainly intriguing and well-made, plus it’s a lovely colour and the feathers are quite beautiful. However, I’m not sure I love it from all angles. Seeing Sarah’s head bent adds a great view of how it all goes together. Yes, the teal works with the yellow, but goodness knows why she chose purple shoes (which are lovely with the yellow too, but quite jarring against the rest of her green accessories). Dress fit is sadly, not quite right.

  9. A most interesting hat shape, the material is possibly a bit heavy for spring/summer wearing, but I’m loving the colour and the trimming.
    Not too keen on the colour of the shoes in the ensemble though.

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