Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Diamonds, Union Jacks and Hats, Must Be The Jubilee

And so its all over.  The Union Jacks have been packed away, Brits are grumbling about going back to work after a 4 day weekend and thousands of people are nursing runny noses after being drenched by the ever present British rain.  All that is left to do is settle down with a cup of tea and review the hats (yes it has taken me a full week to get through them all).

Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother at the Epsom Derby 1991

The Queen and Prince Philip at Epsom Derby 1948

The weekend started with the Queen attending the Epsom Derby which she did in a bright cornflower blue ensemble.

I have to say this was a bit of a meh outfit for me.  I am not a fan of blue in general, I think the dress underneath is pretty but you can't see it because of that horrible coat.  The hat is very classic Queenie, though I don't think the black and white bits add anything to the look except to try and tie in the black from her shoes.  One is decidedly underwhelmed.

I did however think that Prince Philip looked like a true Dickensian gent in his top hat.

Princess Beatrice played it safe if a little dull with a very Jackie O pillbox with a Japanese origami flower accent but in my opinion sister Eugenie wins today's sister duel with a blue/black straw hat adorned with an oversized blue and navy ribbon. I was also loving her union Jack nails which she sported all weekend.

Other note worthy hats on the day were courtesy of The Countess of Wessex

Princess Michael of Kent

And singer Katherine Jenkins who was wearing a hat designed for the love child of Camilla and Lady Gaga.

Next up was Sundays river Pageant where the city of London in an attempt to make everyone feel like a river provided lashings of rain.  Being British however we never let rain get in the way of style.

Queenie looked as if she had literally caught the raindrops and decorated herself with them leaving her all sparkly and diamond like.

I only wish that instead of sticking some bland feathers on the side Angela Kelly, the Queens designer, would have rummaged through Queenies jewellery box and stuck one of those amazingly big brooches on instead.

I LOVED the shape and texture of Kate's hat which was bold and structured without being overpowering.  I also liked that she chose to use the oldest milliners in London, Lock and Co. to make the hat. Very fitting for the occasion. 

Camilla once again went for her trademark side sweep, upturn in white/beige.  I admit the style suits her but I think she needs to separate herself from milliner Philip Treacy before the public get too bored of the same thing done a little bit differently.

I think Princess B was going for a classic vintage look with this hat but it didn't quite work.  I am really surprised at how badly made this hat is as it is a Stephen Jones creation but looks like the fabric hasn't been draped at all just stuck on in a hurry and I have no idea what is supposed to be going on at the side?  How many bad hats by the same milliner does a girl have to wear before she decides that the label on the inside may look good but the hat sure as hell doesn't.

Maybe Mr Jones simply likes sister Eugenie better as her hat was bang on with understated sparkle and just enough colour to make it interesting.  Can't say I am a huge fan of crinoline used in this way though.  For the cost of a Stephen Jones hat I would be expecting something more than polyester especially with the advent of new millinery fabrics like jinsin which are basically a much, much, much nicer form of crin.

A hat made from jinsin

Sophie Countess of Wessex was a bit bland hat wise but had maybe taken note of my last blog in which I explained that a plain colour hat can help balance a busy dress and I loved her dress though strangely it seems to be covered in prints of the Eiffel tower.  I thought Rule Britannia was the theme of the day?

I didn't watch the concert on Monday night as I live in Japan and really couldnt be arsed getting up at stupid o'clock in the morning to watch Cheryl Cole and Cliff Richard but I gather the highlights were Grace Jones due to both Hula Hoop and Hat, Annie Lennox's wings and Charles calling the Queen Mummy.

And so on to the big Millinery event of the weekend.  St Pauls.  There is nothing I like more than watching thousands of hats competing for attention in a massive church.

Queenie went for mint green and silver which I thought looked lovely and soft however I feel the crown of her hat is a little big which spoils the look a little.  Big crowns on hats seems to be a new trend developing in millinery if the hats worn by non royals at St Pauls is anything to go by.  I hope it dies a fast death as I think it makes your hat look top heavy and clown like.  While Quenie's wasn't that bad I didn't think it was one of her best.

Camilla went for...you guessed it, up turned big brim, swept to one side in a neutral tone by Philip Treacy.  I am not even going to bother commenting any more.

Also sticking to the same stylists Kate wore Alexander McQueen for a third time and topped it with a Jane Taylor hat.  While I like the hats beading and netting I wish she would lop that flower thing off the top.  It looks like tights pulled over some wire.  If however you disagree you will be happy to know that you can now buy this hat in a variety of colours from Jane Taylors website for a mere 790 pounds.  Think I will pass.

Princess Anne however seemed to totally step out of her usual style box.  Having been stuck in uniform for most of the weekend Anne wowed in a bright turquoise outfit with matching big hat adding some much needed colour to the royal line up.

Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie stuck with Stephen Jones millinery and again Eugenie came out tops (see above comment Princess B).  I loved Eugenie's mad men style dress and thought the colouring of the hat was good but it seems that she stole the shape Beatrice was trying out at the river pageant and again I am just not sure what it is suppose to be.  Whatever it was it was better than Beatrice's hat which would have been lovely if she had removed the unnecessary meters of badly draped tulle.

The Countess of Wessex went for a deep blue straw hat which reminded me a little of the red velvet Rose Cory hat Kate wore earlier in the year.  Don't love it don't hate it.

I thought that Sophie Winkleman looked very stylish and chic in her simple tailored jacket and cream hat.

However Lady Helen Taylor looked as though one of her children had decorated a paper plate with macaroni and bits of colourful string and made it into a hat for her.  This would win worst hat in the Church if it wasn't for Zara who took inspiration from a mountain goat.

Ok maybe she wasn't the worst...I will give her joint last place with Marina Johnson wife of London Mayor Boris Johnson.  I don't even know where to start with this outfit?

Not all political other halves got it so wrong however.  Miriam Gonzales (wife of Deputy Prime minister Nick Clegg) paired her hot pink dress with a subtle grey felt fascinator which helped mellow the whole look.  Compared to her Will and Kate wedding hat though it is a little bit of a let down.

Having bucked convention by appearing hatless at the Royal wedding Mrs Cameron tried to make amends with a subtle black topper covered in ivory veiling.  I appreciate the gesture but she needs to find a new milliner as the veiling was very badly finished at the edges of the hat giving me the impression she knocked it up at the kitchen table the night before.

Frances Osbourne, wife to Chancellor George Osbourne, went for a simple yet chic little beige percher to match her coat.  I thought this looked good but again compared to her hat at the royal wedding is a bit bleh. I also think it ages her quite a bit but I guess beige will do that to a person.

 Royal wedding hat
St Paul's hat

And lastly we have Mrs Milliband. I have left her for last as I think it is a good example of  a nice hat which matches the outfit well but not the person.  Small people should not wear flat hats!  It makes you look like a button.  A hat should balance a figure.  If you are tall wear a wide brim to stop you looking like a stick, if you are short wear something that gives you height even if it is only a few feathers sticking up in the air.  This hat would look a lot better if the angle was different so instead of sitting flat across her head making one side seem very flat it should be at a much greater angle sticking up in the air a little to give her a nicer flow and much needed inches.  A milliner can make you a great hat that matches an outfit perfectly but it is up to you to play about in the mirror to make sure that the hat matches you perfectly.  

And so the hat parade comes to an end.  Well almost.  In conjunction with the Jubilee, How to Hats and Dillon Wallwork held a millinery competition inspired by the Diamond Jubilee and Queenie in general.

The winner was Vlad Straticiuc with this purple number.

I don't quite get what it has to do with the jubilee though so I have put my favourites from those entered below.

God Save Millinery!


  1. Your analysis had me in stitches. very nice write up.

  2. Love, love, love this hat report...

  3. An incredible read, most enjoyable, love your ideas and analysis!!! Sue x