Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Race Day Fashion

I sold my first hat for the Melbourne Cup yesterday which got me thinking about race day fashion in general.  Here in Japan horse racing is regarded as the poor man's sport and so big fancy days like Ascot just don't happen...booooo.  The general rules of race fashion are pretty much the same as those for wedding attire with the exception of the royal enclosure at Ascot which has some pretty funny rules:

Royal Enclosure Dress Code
Her Majesty’s Representative wishes to point out that only formal day dress with a hat or substantial fascinator will be acceptable. Off the shoulder, halter neck, spaghetti straps and dresses with a strap of less than one inch and miniskirts are considered unsuitable. Midriffs must be covered and trouser suits must be full length and of matching material and colour.

Gentlemen are required to wear either black or grey morning dress, including a waistcoat, with a top hat. A gentleman may remove his top hat within a restaurant, a private box, a private club or that facility’s terrace, balcony or garden. Hats may also be removed within any enclosed external seating area within the Royal Enclosure Garden.

As a milliner I love the inclusion of the word substantial for fascinators, a pretty flower in your hair just aint gonna cut it girls!

The video above is from Debenhams, everyone's favorite place to waste an hour trying on all the hats while being scowled at by shop staff and security guards alike, filmed at York Racecourse this year.  Weirdly I don't think many of the hats are actually from Debenhams as they seem a little too funky and avant garde.  

The series, Fashion on the field, will be at lots of other race events through 2012 so you can keep up with all the latest hat fashions on show.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

London Fashion week spring/summer 2012 Millinery round up

A rare glimpse of colour and sparkle thanks to Fashion East
my favourite dress on show so far

We are now in day 5 of London fashion week and I must say I am decidedly underwhelmed.  On the upside it seems that us girls don't need to be counting how many mince pies we munch over the Christmas holidays as the majority of clothing on show has adopted the Japanese big and shapeless style.  The down side is the amount of beige and white being walked down the London streets.  Not everyone, I admit, as there have been flares of oranges, more mustard yellow and occasional shiny things to keep me happy but I imagine the lines that make it in to the shops are going to leave the average woman looking like a chiffon potato sack.  I can only hope that the little glimpses of very funky and bright African prints that have poked their heads up will be carried through to more designers Autumn/winter collections.

On the hat side things have been varied and at times chaotic with what seems to be either a great appreciation of all hat types or a simple lack of coordination throughout collections.

This wide brimmed fedora from Ashish doesn't wow much but I have listed it first as I love the dress and more importantly the flowers stuck in the boots!

Paul Smith followed suit staying safe with a simple fedora though he gets extra points for using more interesting colours.

Whereas Jaeger appears to have taken inspiration from Queenies wedding topper and gone with the stiff and boxy look.

PPQ tried to revamp the trusty fedora by adding a bonnet ribbon chin strap and lone ranger mask.  Not sure if this will catch on though?

Caroline Charles was out in hatty force with nearly every model either donning the love child of a bowler and a boater (I'm not being mean I just cant think of another way to describe it.  I think thy make the whole outfit look very chic) or a wide brimmed straw sun hat worn as a necklace. While Erdem tried to make the boater a little more delicate and feminine with this lace version of the classic male sports hat.

John Rocha added some much needed fun and theatre into the week with his collection of fluffy rag dresses topped with wire and lace mohawks and halos.

While Giles took the prize for biggest hat with these feather swan creations.  A+ for effort but I must say I prefer the bug glasses to the hats.

Unique and Julien Macdonald seemed to be on the same page with half the models sporting painted hair (gold for unique, white and Red for Macdonald)  with the other half in military inspired caps.

While Marios schwab sporadically had models in military caps, over sized sun hats and head scarfs with seemingly no rhyme nor reason.

And Vivienne Westwood appeared to be working her way through the encyclopaedia of head wear though the emphasis was clearly on really big hair which makes me question do overstated wigs like this count as hats?

But the biggest surprise for me had to come from Burberry.  That's right, the label that did this to UK fashion...

put out what I think is the nicest collection so far with deep colours, funky prints, vintage waistlines and hemlines and cute hats to top it all off.  Here's hoping the neds don't hijack this trend too.

Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so as I just got sent this cartoon from the lovely people at Vogue.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Animal hats

Today my lovely cousin on the other side of the pond sent me the pictures below by Lisa Hanawalt a comic book artist from Brooklyn.  They made me laugh so I thought I would share.

On a completely unrelated note London fashion week starts on Monday where I hope to see lots of lovely toppers being worn to and paraded down the catwalks all of which will be reported here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Richard Nylon Etsy Competition

The deadline for the fantastic Milliners of etsy avant garde ocean competition was yesterday.  My entry made it in (just) after a quick photo session at the beach which confused surfers and dog walkers alike.  We were still getting the tail end of the typhoon and my hat threatened to blow off a few times plus I was full of the cold and a bit shaky so came close to getting a very soggy arse but all in all I am pretty chuffed with how it came out.

Australian Milliner Richard Nylon (see earlier post of his work) is the esteemed judge and I am chuffed simply to know he has seen some of my work.  The other entries from my milliners of etsy team mates can be seen by following the links below.

Treasury list 1
Treasuries list 2

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Buddha's button

I have a cold.  It's rubbish. Traditional Japanese calendars split the year in to 72 sekki (moments of time) meaning they celebrate the changing of the season every 5 days.  They watch changes in the colour of leaves, the insects that are about and the flowers that are blooming.  This gives the non Japanese observer of Japanese customs the idea that the seasons in Japan are poetically turning like a smooth wheel ever changing with the gentle motion of time.  This is crap.  Buddha sits over Japan with a big button that 5 times a year he pushes with glee. There is no such thing as a gentle change in the seasons; from November to March it is bone chilling cold with snow as tall as me (I know I'm not very tall but in snow terms that's quite a lot) then mid golden week Buddha hits his button and it is glaring sunshine and hot for a couple of weeks before he hits his button again and the heavens open for 6 weeks of rain.  This abruptly stops one day and the next is 34 degrees Celsius and humid as hell until yesterday when once more he hit his button and turned the heating off, thus Autumn.  I am glad the heat has stopped, hell yes, the problem is that I am a little Scottish girl used to the year round constant of somewhat dull and chilly thus these extreme changes in temperature mean that I mark the changes in season by getting a cold.  Last week I was sitting in my pants and a floaty vest top complaining of heat stroke and today I am wearing woolly socks, thick cord trousers, a long sleeved top with cardigan and a big scarf trying to hug my throat better. As for a hat to mark the occasions I cant decide...

There is the big, warm and fluffy option favoured by celebs around the world though really they are all trying to be tank girl and failing.

They know its true.

There is the queens classy version of the same look however I am a friend of peta and have to rule this out unless I can find a faux fur equivalent (another blog on this topic later).

I am quite taken by this hat, scarf and gloves in one idea and it seems to come with a cup of tea attached which is always nice.  Added bonus is that the lovely Brian Sawyer from whom I stole this picture also posted detailed knitting instructions so you can make your own.

If it is the biting wind you are trying to avoid then one of these hats with beards that seem to be all over esty may be just the ticket but for me it has to be one of the amazing fairy sprite hats that is the winner.

Are you seeing the big, warm, wrap around my neck theme thats going on?

Monday, September 5, 2011

That's why the lady's a Vamp

For some reason my internet broke last week which made me realise that I am way too internet dependant and without etsy, my blog and skype I actually have a whole lot of free time.  Add to this the fact that the internet works my TV too and I really was at a bit of a loss.  After making A LOT of new hats, starting pilates again, finally getting round to reading War and Peace, getting blisters from playing too much guitar and almost losing my voice after a full on Karaoke session I felt a trip to the video shop was needed.  This (accompanied by the oppressive heat and crazy wind from the approaching typhoon) led to three days on the couch in my pants, eating ice lollies and watching the first series of the Vampire Diaries in its entirety.

It seems the world has gone vampire crazy in the last few years, but living in my Japan bubble, I have missed most of the hysteria (though I do own all the twilight movies), thus diaries vs twilight is the only comparison I can make and while both of them have rather shaky story lines and equally bad leading ladies (though diaries girl does seem to have a little personality and occasionally some balls as opposed to Bella Swan who has single handedly put the feminist movement back 50 years) there is no comparison when it comes to vampires. I am team Salvatore all the way. Observe...

Here be Edward Cullen trying his hardest to look like a dreamy vampire and though he does have a certain charm I am more taken in by the idea of a grand piano in an overgrown field next to a lake, he needs to get his feet of my piano!

The Salvatore brothers on the other hand (both oldskool and present day) are just crazy hot and actually act like vampires and do bad stuff instead of being all tortured and emo like Mr Cullen.  

This however is a hat blog not a hot teenage vamp fan page and all my rambling does come to a hatty point.  You see my favourite parts of the Vampire Diaries are the little flash backs to 1864, a land of corsets, tail coats and of course hats!

and so today's blog is dedicated to the hats of the 1800's.

For guys this was easy.  The 1800's were the time of the top hat.  Originally made by a French Milliner based on a Chinese design the hats found their real home on the streets of London where it quickly became very ungentlemanly to be seen without one.

For the ladies the start of the century was all about the bonnet in its many forms.

As the century moved forward the fashion started to change toward two radically different fashion styles.  The first was the big hat which carried through to the beginning of the 1900s.

and the second was the completely opposite trend toward simple Grecian inspired headdresses.

A style immortalised by Alphonse Mucha who arrived on the scene in Paris at the beginning of 1895.

Love big hats. Love top hats.  Love pretty headdresses. Love Mucha.  Love looking at the Salvatore Brothers.  All in all I think I simply love the 1800s.