Friday, January 20, 2012

Royal Ascot Hat Rules

So the big hatty news this week is the change in the dress code rules for Royal Ascot. The changes aren't actually that huge as they were significantly changed last year as I reported in the post race day fashion but it seems they have been modified to be much clearer.  The previous rules stated that only a substantial fascinator would be suitable, the problem being their isn't really any clear definition of what a fascinator is.

In old skool millinery terms a fascinator is actually a fine lace head covering something like a veil or a shawl but nowadays it tends to refer to a small puff of feathers or flowers attached to a hair comb or small base. 

This style became prominent in the 60's when certain events still demanded that women wear hats but the usual hat would ruin their overly back combed, coiffed hairdo's.  The solution, a little bit of veiling or feathers/flowers attached to a comb and tucked in to their elaborate, lacquered hair.

Ascot however has deemed that this is no longer formal enough (Sorry Annie) and has stated that all women within the royal enclosure must wear a hat with a base of more than 10cm (don't worry Aka Tombo fans my smallest hats are 12cm and so are still ok).

This means that not only will Princess Ann and Kate, Queen of the fascinator (and one day England), have to rethink their outfits but so will all the ladies below.

And it's not just the girls that have had the rules tightened. Men have been warned that:

"The customisation of top hats (with, for example, coloured ribbons or bands) is not permitted in the Royal Enclosure."

Sorry Chaps 

Not only have the top hat rules tightened but the wearing of them is strictly monitored.

"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."

That puts an end to the David Beckham ridiculousness of carrying his top hat around like a handbag lest it ruin his shiny locks.

And so Ascot will be as it was always meant to be, pretty dresses and big hats.  Yay for good taste!

PS. Are we all excited about Haute Couture fashion week in Paris?  I AM!!!!  Here are some pictures to get you in the mood for the outrageously pretty dresses coming soon!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Hat Pin Heroine

“When attacked from behind, she grasps a hatpin. Turning quickly, she is able to strike a fatal blow in the face.”

Fellow Etsy milliner Susan of Inspired hats recently sent me a link to a great article originally featured on The Bartitsu Society web site about the use of hat pins in self defence.  It was just too funny to not share.

“The sting of a hornet”; Edwardian hat-pin self defence

The popular trend towards enormous, flamboyant hats reached its zenith during the Edwardian era. Circa 1900, fashionable ladies’ headwear featured elaborate assemblies of taffeta, silk bows, coloured ostrich feathers, flowers and even artificial fruit.

The mainstay of the Edwardian hat was the artfully concealed hatpin, and as the hats themselves grew ever larger, so too did the pins. Some antique examples are thirteen inches long and resemble nothing so much as unbated, miniature fencing foils.
A wealth of evidence from the period demonstrates that hatpins were popularly regarded as secret weapons, and indeed as “every woman’s weapon” against the depredations of hooligans and ill-mannered brutes. Laws against hatpins of “excessive length”, or the wearing of hatpins without protective stoppers, were proposed in Hamburg, Berlin and New York among other cities. At least ostensibly, these laws were intended not so much to ban the use of hatpins in self-defence as to mitigate the incidence of accidental hatpin related injuries inflicted upon blameless fellow passengers in crowded tram-cars.
Certainly, though, the hatpin was the weapon of choice for Edwardian novelists and playwrights who had to extricate their heroines from tight spots.
From Harold MacGrath’s novel “Parrot & Co”, 1914:
Craig stepped in front of them, smiling as he raised his helmet. “This is an unexpected pleasure.”
Elsa, looking coldly beyond him, attempted to pass.
“Surely you remember me?”
“I remember an insolent cad,” replied Elsa, her eyes beginning to burn dangerously. “Will you stand aside?”
He threw a swift glance about. He saw with satisfaction that none but natives was in evidence.
Elsa’s glance roved, too, with a little chill of despair. In stories Warrington would have appeared about this time and soundly trounced this impudent scoundrel. She realized that she must settle this affair alone. She was not a soldier’s daughter for nothing.
“Stand aside!”
“Hoity-toity!” he laughed. He had been drinking liberally and was a shade reckless. “Why not be a good fellow? Over here nobody minds. I know a neat little restaurant. Bring the old lady along,” with a genial nod toward the quaking Martha.
Resolutely Elsa’s hand went up to her helmet, and with a flourish drew out one of the long steel pins.
“Oh, Elsa!” warned Martha.
“Be still! This fellow needs a lesson. Once more, Mr. Craig, will you stand aside? ”
Had he been sober he would have seen the real danger in the young woman’s eyes.
“Cruel!” he said. ” At least, one kiss,” putting out his arms.
Elsa, merciless in her fury, plunged the pin into his wrist. It stung like a hornet; and with a gasp of pain, Craig leaped back out of range, sobered.
“Why, you she-cat!”
“I warned you,” she replied, her voice steady but low. “The second stab will be serious. Stand aside.”
He stepped into the gutter, biting his lips and straining his uninjured hand over the hurting throb in his wrist. The hat-pin as a weapon of defense he had hitherto accepted as reporters’ yarns. He was now thoroughly convinced of the truth. He had had wide experience with women. His advantage had always been in the fact that the general run of them will submit to insult rather than create a scene. This dark-eyed Judith was distinctly an exception to the rule. Gad! She might have missed his wrist and jabbed him in the throat. He swore, and walked off down the street.
Elsa set a pace which Martha, with her wabbling knees, found difficult to maintain.
“You might have killed him!” she cried breathlessly.
“You can’t kill that kind of a snake with a hat-pin; you have to stamp on its head. But I rather believe it will be some time before Mr. Craig will again make the mistake of insulting a woman because she appears to be defenseless.” Elsa’s chin was in the air. The choking sensation in her throat began to subside. “The deadly hat-pin; can’t you see the story in the newspapers? Well, I for one am not afraid to use it.”
Perhaps less frequently than in popular fiction, but still present in newspaper articles and medical journals of the time, we find reports of women wounding male attackers via well-placed jabs with their hatpins. For example, according to a story in the New York Times of January 10, 1898, a Miss Sadie Hawkins assisted a Chicago tram-car conductor named Symington in fending off two determined would-be robbers by stabbing them both repeatedly in the arms and legs with her hatpin, causing the aggressors so much grief that they jumped off the moving tram to escape the onslaught.
Hatpins were also apparently among the covert weapons used by Suffragettes in their struggles against the London bobbies, augmenting their judicious use of Indian clubs and jujitsu.
Unfortunately there is a paucity of technical instruction on the hatpin as a weapon. The picture emerges, though, of a two-phase counter-strategy against over-confident ruffians who seized their intended victims by the shoulders or arms. First, the defender would feign shock and indignation, her hand flying up apparently to steady her enormous hat, but in reality to pluck out a hatpin. Then, in one movement, she would jab the weapon forcefully into the offending hand or wrist; Mr. MacGrath was not the only writer to compare the resulting pain to “the sting of a hornet”. This might well suffice to discourage any further offence. If not, the consensus on following-up was to stab the assailant in the face or, if more conveniently accessible, “the place where it hurts the most”.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Steven Tyler

The ever beautiful Steven Tyler is apparently engaged to his lady of 7 years, Erin Brady, or maybe not, nobody is really sure if he was joking or not.

In my world there are normal people, faeries, dragons, gods and such like, then Steven Tyler and Dolly Parton.  I can only hope that one day the two may come together and create the most vocally talented, beautiful child ever to grace the earth, and imagine the wardrobe!!!!

You may think that they are getting a little too old for this to realistically happen but then you would be assuming that Dolly and Mr Tyler are mere mortals like us when all the evidence is proving that they are actually some form of fey folk slowly reverting back to their true riddler selves and thus immortal.

Engaged, immortal, faery or not Mr Tyler is amazing and very fun to look at especially when rocking the hell out of a hat!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Stephen Jones Eye Candy

Happy New Year everyone!
A little New Years Day treat for you all in the form of eye candy courtesy of Mr Stephen Jones.  Enjoy!