Milliner Profile: Ahko Hirata

This week, Princess Aiko stepped out in a hat with floral trim. The floral trim was a Goyo azalea, Aiko’s personal emblem, incorporated into the hat’s design by Japanese milliner Ahko Hirata.

Fellow royal follower and expert on the Imperial royal family, Prisma, shared this week that the wonderful waved royal blue hatband Empress Masako wore on November 13 to the National Sea Enrichment Festival in Hyogo was also Ahko Hirata’s design. Hirata also designed the first hat Masako wore as empress on May 4, 2019, a wonderful yellow silk bumper with hatband beaded with a diagonal rising sunbeam motif.


Ahko Hirata was not on my radar and should have been- her late father was the first Japanese milliner to train in couture techniques in Paris and was Empress Michiko’s go-to milliner for decades. Ahko’s aesthetic, not surprisingly, is different than her father’s designs, but no less impeccable or memorable. This profile gives a glimpse into her millinery story.

4 thoughts on “Milliner Profile: Ahko Hirata

  1. Great little video. It’s always interesting watching a creation in the making. The Japanese ladies look so classic and chic all the time. I wonder what Masako’s white hat with the blue band looked like previously.

  2. I didn’t realize Hirata Akio’s daughter had followed in his footsteps and now has her own successful millinery business! What a delight to see and hear Hirata Ohko in action, and to know her own children are also interested in continuing to make hats. It’s nice to know hat making and millinery will continue with a new generation.

    Thanks for sharing all of this HatQueen and Prisma! I’m glad to learn about another milliner and to add yet another place to hopefully visit in Japan one day.

  3. What a fascinating video! The details of the hat-making are mesmerizing. I’m very glad to know of the designer whose work I’ve admired. I especially enjoyed seeing the toy-inspired hats she designed during the the covid shutdown. Thanks to HQ and Prisma for sharing this.

    I have the sense that Ahko Hirata does not get as publicly credited for her work the way other royal milliners do. Is it fair to say that?

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