Princess Eugenie’s gown wasn’t the only highlight of the second royal wedding of the year. In true British extravagance, A-list celebrities and royals arrived in a parade of over-the-top headwear. Lest you think the cavalcade of hats is done purely for fashion’s sake, royal protocol dictates that women must wear them to all formal occasions. Of course, these are never worn without a touch of whimsy. Princess Eugenie herself has been known to make statements with her hats; the sculptured ribbon headpiece her sister Princess Beatrice wore to Kate Middleton’s wedding was the subject of so much talk it spawned its own Facebook page. Hat-wearing is, of course, not limited to weddings. Take a cue from the British royal family and look up these milliners to make a statement at the next Royal Ascott, derby or fancy dress party.
1. Heads of State Millinery
Homegrown hatter Chee Sau Fen is not your typical milliner. The designs from her label Heads of State Millinery are sustainable — they’re woven from abaca fibre, a raw material from Philippines, and moulded by hand. Aside from herself and local assistants, her team of crafters is made up of housewives from marginalised communities in Cebu. Spotlighted is its Kyu – Beautiful Bow collection which features a lithe warrior woman holding up her archery bow with pride, various sculptural headpieces, adorning her head. Those in need of a timeless headpiece also have classic pillboxes and fascinators in jewel tones and topped with gilded brooches to choose from.
2. Maison Michel
Maison Michel began in 1936 as a couture milliner to some of the world’s biggest legacy fashion houses such as Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino. Now Chanel-owned, the cult Parisian label became a runway smash hit with its lace ears worn by celebrities such as Lady Gaga and the Olsen twins. A master of hat craftsmanship and couture details, Maison Michel combines heritage with innovative design, and employs only a handful of skilled artisans to create its in-house collections. Whatever your pick of its wide-brimmed hats, suede berets, feather-accented veils, or tweed news-boy caps, every one of its creations is a worthy investment. Now available at On Pedder Scotts Square, the La Commedia Dell’Arte autumn/winter collection encompasses bold patchwork hats, and cut-brim shapes, while its Cruse 2019 range for pre-order features high-shine fabrics, polka dots and beadwork details.
3. Eskpade Millinery
Eskpade seeks to revive the old-world era of hat-wearing — it takes inspiration from Hollywood glamour icons such as Marlene Dietrich and Burlesque dancer Dita von Teese. The bespoke millinery atelier customises headpieces for all occasions, including the Royal Ascot, and royal weddings. Each piece is lovingly made by hand, with materials sourced from as far as Europe. Designer Kristine Hakim hand embroiders the details and even incorporates local accents such as jade and Peranakan flowers to honour the wishes of its wearer.
4, Philip Treacy
One of fashion’s favourite milliners, Philip Treacy is often described as a creative magician and a true craftsman. His work has adorned the heads of the world’s who’s who from Grace Jones and Victoria Beckham to the royal family. 20 of his creations were spotted at the nuptials of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry; 30 were seen at Kate Middleton’s and Prince William’s big day. Dramatic and often surreal, his hats have been credited as ushering in a new era for couture headpieces. While he regularly creates fantastical hats for the runway, he also creates ready-to-wear pieces.
5. Emily London
Soft, dreamy and unabashedly feminine characterise Emily London’s couture-esque hats and headpieces, which ranges from dainty silk pillbox hats and hairbands to elaborate wide-brimmed hats. The Spring 2018 collection is a dreamy, feminine collection of headpieces inspired by blooms, with pillbox hats topped with oversized roses and chiffon fabric gently sculpted to resemble blooms, nude lace wide brimmed hats designed to be worn at a jaunty angle. For its Autumn collection, colours dip into the dark side, with rich burgundy turbans, black winter hats topped with large feathers, and bejewelled hairbands.