Hat Quandry At Polo

While we’re waiting for today’s events to be underway at Royal Ascot, I have a hat quandary for you to ponder.

Last Sunday, the Queen attended the Queen’s Cup Polo Final at the Guard’s Club in Windsor. She wore, what at a very quick glance, I thought was a much admired, repeated coral pink hat trimmed with a distinctive straw rose.

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Because I’m a bit distracted this week, I didn’t think much about the hat. During Monday’s Order of the Garter post, however, several of noticed changes from its previous outing. This piqued my curiosity so I went back to this hat’s last appearance on March 10, 2014 for some side-bypside comparisons.

 

March 10, 2014 photos on the left; June 16, 2019 photos on the right

 

Even with less than ideal photos, there are some clear differences. Most obvious is the new brim and hatband. The flowers are different but the very similar petal individual shapes lead me to suspect that the flower has simply been rotated 180s and is, essentially, now upside down.. The hatpins are different. Finally, the crown on this week’s hat is a shorter version of the same formed shape- the space between the middle pleat (just about the hatband) and the top is smaller in the more recent version. This shape change on the crown suggests to me that we have a new hat, maybe with some recycling of the old hat’s trim?

Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan
Previously Worn:March 10, 2014; October 29, 2013October 1, 2013;  May 17, 2012

What do you say, dearest readers?

Royal Ascot Day 2: Queen Elizabeth

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

What do you think of Queen Elizabeth’s new hat today?

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Photos from Getty as indicated 

 

Royal Ascot Day 1: Queen Elizabeth

I’m so pleased to be joined for a look at all the royal hats worn to Ascot today by Toronto-based milliner Jay Cheng, creator of Jaycow Millinery.

AND WE’RE OFF! Queen Elizabeth wore a new hat for the first day of Royal Ascot today covered in the same pale blue crepe as her coat. The stepped brim has a sharp, pinched upturn on one side and is lavishly trimmed by velvet and silk flowers in varying shades of blue and purple and moss green velvet leaves.

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Royal Hats: The colour is lovely on Her Majesty and the sharply upturned brim on the side is a unique, creative, and interesting detail. It’s also good to see a glimpse of the Queen’s dress- this helps make sense of the hat’s floral trim and I really like the contrast that moody, deeper blues and purples provide against the paler blue. I’m less sure about the stepped brim shape on the lowered side of the hat, which seems a bit awkward, and the floral trim. Velvet leaves and flowers on hats give them an antique feel that I’m not sure works with this hat’s more modern shape. Even so, I can’t think of anyone other than the Queen who could pull this hat off so well!

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Jay ChengSuch a whimsical shade for Her Majesty. As always, the blue speaks royalty. The vintage style floral trim is a contrast when paired with the swept up pointed detail- a detail not seen on Her Majesty before. When you see the whole look, the floral fabric of Her Majesty’s dress makes sense of the color combination and the mix of different hues of blue.

Though the floral trim is made beautifully, I am still not sure if it is be best trim for this hat. The direction of the hat is quite modern, compared to the hat styles Her Majesty has showcased before. I really fell in love with the detail of the brim and the stepped brim works perfectly for the trimming to nest on.

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Royal Hats: Good point! You’re helping me come around on that brim shape.

Jay Cheng: Overall, I quite enjoyed the contemporary feel that Her Majesty is taking on. Well done darling!

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Designer: Angela Kelly, made by Stella McLaren. Dress and coat by Angela Kelly.
Previously Worn: This hat is new

What do you think of Queen Elizabeth’s new hat today?

Photos from Getty as indicated 

 

Order Of The Garter 2019

Founded by Edward III in 1348, The Order of the Garter is the senior and oldest British Order of Chivalry awarded at the Sovereign’s pleasure as a personal gift. Twenty four recipients of the order, known each as a Knight or Lady,  meet each year for a grand ceremony held int St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on the Monday before Royal Ascot begins.

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Members of the Garter wear elaborate robes and accessories for the Garter Service including a special hat. The hat, in the style of a Tudor bonnet, is made of black velvet with a voluminous, unstructured crown and flat brim. It is trimmed with the order insignia, white ostrich and black heron feathers, and slim cord wrapped around the base of the crown that extends to a pair of gold and royal blue tassels hanging down the side. British royal family members belonging to the order include Queen Elizabeth, who is Sovereign of the Garter, The Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge, Duke of York, Earl of Wessex, Princess Royal, Duke of Gloucester, Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra. The Duke of Edinburgh, who is also a member, did not attend the service today.

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King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands and King Philippe of Spain were appointed as Supernumerary Knights of the Garter during state visits to the UK in 2018 and 2017; their attendance at today’s ceremony saw them officially installed in these roles and they wore the full garter regalia.

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Queen Máxima wore a tall, verical saucer hat in dusky pink straw trimmed with a mass of silk flowers and curling pheasant feathers on the underside of the raised brim.

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It’s a great look for the Dutch Queen. I really the slightly darker shade of pink on the hat and adore how its lines and lush trimming play so well off Máxima’s sleek caped coat dress- the pairing of the two items is fantastic. I’d like, however to change two things about the hat- first is the angle of placement on the head (tilt the top edge down a bit so it sweeps slightly more diagonally that so vertical) and the second is to tidy up the brim binding edge. Tweak these two things and a great hat would become a complete knockout.

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Designer: unconfirmed. My guess is Fabienne Delvigne. Dress by Claes Iversen.
Previously Worn: This hat is new. Some suggest it is a reworked version of this Prinsjesdag hat but the straw bases are different shapes and colours.

Queen Letizia wore a kokoshnik-style bandeau headpiece in formed black straw, trimmed with black feathers and veil. It’s the first headpiece in this style we’ve seen on the Spanish queen and it suits her petite frame so well (not leaving the hat looking like it’s wearing her, as unfortunately is often the case). With her black and white printed dress, the headpiece tops an elegant ensemble that’s fantastic on Letizia.

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Designer: It is the “Black Peony” design from Spanish brand Cherubina
Previously Worn: this headpiece is new

The Duchess of Cornwall repeated a hat in almond straw with off-center, peaked crown and side sweeping brim. A beaded straw hatband and side twists studded with ecru silk flowers complete the design. The beaded embellishment on the hatband and side twists add a subtle but welcome bit of sparkle to the design and while the colour is quiet, the scale and style make a great signature look for Camilla.

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Designer: Philip Treacy
Previously Worn: June 19, 2018

The Duchess of Cambridge repeated a black sinamay hat with upturned flyaway brim in windowpane lattice straw, trimmed with a curled black an ostrich feather. The brim shape on this piece gives the design a wonderfully light and airy feel and the hat was beautifully paired with Kate’s white coat dress with black trim.

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Designer: Silvia Fletcher for Lock & Co. It is the Lion Tamer design. Coat dress by Catherine Walker.
Previously Worn: July 1, 2016June 11, 2011

The Countess of Wessex repeated her natural straw saucer hat with lattice open woven brim  trimmed with a large coral feathers and tan twists. The hat’s shape, reminiscent of Dior hats in the 1950s, pairs so well with her full skirted ensemble. Bright coral is not an easy hue to wear and this ensemble is beautifully balanced between the vibrant skirt and the hat’s feathers.

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Designer: Jane Taylor
Previously Worn: May 15, 2018 (it was also your favourite repeated royal hat in 2018!);  Oct 5, 2017June 20, 2017 i

The Duchess of Gloucester repeated her slate grey straw veiled pillbox hat. It’s a quietly classic design we’ve seen on Brigitte more than a few times but one she wears well.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: June 18, 2018May 19, 2018Jun 17, 2017Jun 1, 2017Jul 1, 2016Jun 12, 2016Jun 10, 2016

Zenouska Mowatt, on the far left below, topped her blue and yellow patterned dress with a navy straw bandeau. The bandeau’s wide curving base is trimmed with silk flowers and leaves on the right side.

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Designer: I suspect it’s the “Catherine in Midnight‘ by Laura Cathcart
Previously Worn: this headpiece is new

The Order of the Garter service this year brought us a wonderful parade of hats to kick off Ascot week with a fanfare. What do you think of these hats in Windsor today? Which designs stand out most to you?

Photos from Getty as indicated 

Trooping The Colour 2019

Queen Elizabeth’s birthday was officially celebrated today with the Trooping the Colour ceremony performed on Horse Guards Parade by St. James’s Park. A tradition of British infantry regiments since the 17th century, the event is a colourful military spectacle.

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For this year’s birthday celebration, Queen Elizabeth repeated her ecru, pink and pale blue woven silk wool coat and hat. The modified cloche shape of the hat features a steeply sloped crown and is trimmed with beautifully detailed wired sequin flower trim.

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I was surprised to see this hat today- the Queen usually chooses less work ensembles for this event in bright colours that make her stand out in the sea of red uniforms. The gentle colour variation in the weave of the fabric on this hat is beautiful, as are the sequin flowers that embellish it but both of these are lost at distant view, which is a bit disappointing for an event like this.

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Designer: Angela Kelly made by Stella McLaren
Previously Worn:  Mar 17, 2019; Aug 19, 2018; May 9, 2017;  Feb 28, 2017Sep 11, 2016Sep 6, 2015May 20, 2015Dec 30, 2014Apr 30, 2013

As in years past, members of the royal family holding the rank of Colonel in various regiments rode along in the military parade with distinctive plumes in each of their bearskin hats to signify their respective regiments:

Striped green and white plume of the Welsh Guards for the Prince of Wales

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St. Patrick’s blue plume of the Irish Guards for the Duke of Cambridge

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White plume of the Grenadier Guards for the Duke of York, whose regiment’s colours were trooped this year.

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The Princess Royal in the wonderful red plumed bicorne hat of Colonel of the Blues and Royals.

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Remaining members of the British royal family also took part, some travelling to Horse Guards Parade by carriage or motor coach and others joining on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to greet waiting crowds and watch a military flypast. We’ll look at these hats, next.
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Photos from Getty as indicated

Allied Leaders Attend D-Day Commemoration

Leaders of the Allied Nations joined Queen Elizabeth (and the third day of the American state visit) in Portsmouth yesterday on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion to commemorate this historical event.

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Queen Elizabeth stood out in a repeated pink ensemble and hat. The hat follows a familiar Angela Kelly shape with square angled straw crown and wide straw brim with upturned kettle edge – this design’s brim edge is wrapped in the same silk crepe as the ensemble’s matching coat (something we’ve not seen a good view of until today).  The hat is trimmed in two rows of rope made from the same silk crepe fabric, placed just above the base of the crown, which finish in a figure eight bow, anchored by a pink jeweled button (again, same as the coat) and surrounded by pink ostrich feathers.

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I really like the lightness that this design’s straw brim lends it- you can see light gently filtering around the Queen’s face- and the textural contrast it provides to the smooth crepe on the coat. My main quibble here is wishing for more tidy feathers (a few arrow trimmed feathers sweeping around the design, maybe?). Not many can wear this shade of pink, especially to such an event, and it certainly made Her Majesty stand out in a sea of navy suits.

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Designer: Angela Kelly, made by Stella McLaren
Previously Worn: May 5, 2019; July 4, 2018

Because the American state visit is officially still underway, I’ll give a nod to Melania Trump’s hat- a sleek, wide-brimmed straw saucer. It’s a great design (so great to see her in a Philip Treacy design!) and I particularly admire how great the scale is on her (particularly paired with her cream, belted coat) and the perfect angle she placed it on her head.

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Designer: Philip Treacy

Thoughts about these hats yesterday in Portsmouth?

Photos from Getty as indicated 

British Royals Welcome American State Visit

Queen Elizabeth, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall officially welcomed the American president and first lady to the UK this morning with events at Buckingham Palace and Clarence House.

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For the Buckingham Palace welcome, Queen Elizabeth repeated a hat in the prettiest muted jade straw. With with straight-sided, domed top crown and short cartwheel brim, the design is finished with silk flowers and a multi-looped straw bow.

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The last time the Trumps paid a visit, the Queen’s hat made headlines and I can only imagine there were efforts behind the scenes to prevent this happening a second time. The best way to do this? Repeat a hat we saw Her Majesty wear less than two weeks ago, in a completely neutral (not red, white or blue) colour. So no hat story here! It’s another brilliant stroke of diplomatic dressing on her part.

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Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan
Previously Worn: May 22, 2019May 15, 2018June 23, 2017

The Duchess of Cornwall used this occasion to debut a new hat in ivory straw. The crown has a unique pinch pleat that swirls across the front of the crown to form a short peak on the top (see it on a similar design from the Spring Summer 2019 Philip Treacy collection here).

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The inherent informality of this interesting crown shape is balanced by the hat’s crin trim. A four-layer fanning hatband in windowpane lattice printed crin follows the crown swirl and folds into a large, quadruple looped bow on the side. Camilla loves a cream straw hat (she’s got 28 others!) and while I would love to see additions to her millinery wardrobe in other colours, the details and shape on this hat are certainly interesting and allow it to confidently stand on its own.

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Designer: Philip Treacy
Previously Worn: This hat is new

American First Lady Melania Trump wore a streamlined and very crisp navy and white ensemble topped with a jaunty hat. With a flat crown and cartwheel brim in what looks to be fabric covered straw, the hat is simply trimmed in a wide navy hatband. It’s a fantastically chic look on Mrs. Trump, particularly placed on an angle and with her hair styled in a sweep across her forehead.

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Designer: Hervé Pierre (American designer, fashion consultant and Mrs. Trump’s stylist). Dress by Dolce and Gabbana.

Joining the American entourage was the president’s daughter, Ivanka Kushner, who wore a formed ivory felt percher trimmed with a knotted bow. While I’m reticent to critique a non-royal hat wearer who doesn’t wear hats often, the position of this one seems odd to me (more of a superhero mask than a percher hat) as does the material, which just feels out of season.

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Designer: Philip Treacy. Alessandra Rich jacket and skirt.

There are some good hats here- which ones stand out most to you?

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Photos from Getty as indicated