Turbocharged TUrban Chic!

After more than 2 seasons leading the pack on the runway, TUrban Chic still inspires innovation and edgy creativity for millinery designers.

Paired with a classic cut slim profile Lilli Ann vintage suit and sky high Louboutins, ‘Boston Blues and Soul’ is made in lightweight silk abaca for a heavy hitting statement at cocktails or on the red carpet.

Available now in a range of jewel bright colours each design features a unique vintage brooch in gemstones and crystal evoking the grandeur of a bygone era. You too can get your movie star groove on in this ‘Ruby Tuesday’ from the TUrban Chic Collection by Hat Couture.

‘What’s your Poison?’ is the third in the quartet of gems that make up the TUrban Chic Collection. Paired here with a leaf printed designer bag and Louboutins this ensemble is sure to make you green with envy.

Saving the best to last is ‘Harnessing Peacocks’, matched here with another stunning Lilli Ann vintage suit, killer Louboutins and a kingfisher printed bag. All hats and bags made to order and available now from http://www.hatcouturecreations.com.

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Looking Good… Feeling Fabulous!

A stylist friend of mine asked me to put together a short video to post in social media showing a Look Book for my collections SS2019. After a swift panic, I trawled the internet for an app that would enable me to create a professional looking slideshow animation quickly and easily. Flipagram proved the perfect solution! In a few minutes (almost less time than it takes to watch the whole video) I had taken a selection of my recent style posts and thrown together the video featured here.

Within the hour, I posted the video on Instagram and Facebook with stunning results! It got shared, liked and reshared thousands of times with some very flattering and kind feedback. After many years working in Advertising and Marketing the power of social media and the apps it has spawned continues to surprise and delight me!

For those of you with an attention span of less than 1 minute, here’s a few of my most recent style images. All hats and bags are made to order and available from http://www.hatcouturecreations.com. If you’re interested in creating some of these looks yourself, I now stock a range of millinery supplies available at http://www.hatcouture.co.uk. Happy styling!

It’s in the Bag…

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Capturing the Out of Africa Vibe with ‘Sunset on the Serengeti’ by Hat Couture paired here exclusively with a stunning beige, lemon and white genuine leather handbag and a designer ensemble embellished in matching lace by Linea Raffaelli.  The hat and bag are both made to order and both items are available for £1000 from http://www.hatcouturecreations.com

While recovering from an operation on my right hand (every Milliner’s worst nightmare), I was forced to explore other ways to promote my haute couture millinery portfolio.  After chatting with an international handbag designer friend of mine whilst on a recent trip to Singapore, I decided to explore options to exclusively pair my designs with prestige products by established designers for both premium ensembles aimed at mothers of the bride/groom and those keen to make a statement at Ascot or any other formal occasion.  After selecting a few high end fashion houses to work with, I began reviewing my existing portfolio of designs to bring my own spark of creativity to creating a kaleidoscope of colour and original looks.  The result has been a tsunami of excitement and shares on Instagram and Facebook with engagement topping 5,000 views (and even more clicks on my website). So I thought that I would feature some of the best from my recent output on my blog to give you all a peek behind the creative process of direction and marketing for my haute couture brand.

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This is one of my most recent designs ‘Chasing Coral’ in this season’s hottest shade ‘Living Coral’.  Shown here paired with a runway piece from the catwalk in Milan (as highlighted in all the British press), it is also matched with a fabulous genuine leather bag featuring retro chinoiserie with embossed and printed motifs in shades of coral and black. Both the bag and the hat are made to order and available online at http://www.hatcouturecreations.com.

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Next hot off the block is ‘A Rhapsody for Gershwin’. In subtle navy and beige tones this piece also features a bold Lady Amherst tail feather and a pair of hand made silk roses. This one of a kind haute couture millinery is here exclusively paired  with a beautifully made, genuine leather designer bag depicting a traditional Chinese landscape in a unique design. Both pieces are again made to order and available from £1000 at http://www.hatcouturecreations.com.

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And finally a cute little number for all you Ladies Day vixens with ‘Monochrome Maven’ by Hat Couture shown her paired exclusively with another designer genuine leather bag featuring a misty mountain scene and some sassy polka dot styling from Gina Bacconi.  Both the handbag and the haute couture millinery are made to order and available as a pair from £1000 at http://www.hatcouturecreations.com

I hope that you’ve enjoyed my pairings and stylings for the upcoming racing and wedding season.  If you would like to see more please do follow me on Instagram (www.instagram.com/hatcouturecreations) or check out what I’m up to on Facebook (www.facebook.com/hatcouturecreations).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New tUrban Chic…

 

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Harnessing Peacocks by Hat Couture  available online at http://www.hatcouturecreations.com

Turban Chic in a variety of guises has long been a staple on the runways of Europe and the USA but the history of turban fashion goes back further than Sex and the City 2 believe it or not!

History of the Turban…

The historic origin of the turban is uncertain, however based on evidence gathered from archaeological sites, ancient civilisations in India, Mesopotamia, Sumeria and Babylon wore this form of headgear as part of their cultural and ceremonial costume for centuries.

A style of turban called a phakeolis  was part of the uniform used by soldiers of the Byzantine army during the period 400-600AD and continued to be worn by the Byzantine people from the 10th Century in Cappadocia (modern Turkey) and their Greek speaking descendants right up to the early 20th century.  The Islamic prophet, Muhammad (570-632AD) is also believed to have worn a traditional white turban to symbolise his purity. Shiah clerics today wear white turbans unless they are descendants of the prophet Muhammad or Sayyid, in which case they wear black. In modern context, Sikhs wear turbans in a variety of colours as a symbol of their religious belief, status and to bind their hair (which is never cut) as a testament to their faith. Many Muslim men also continue to choose a green  turban because it represents paradise, whilst in parts of North Africa blue turbans are popular with the shade often signifying the tribe of the wearer.  In many traditional African ceremonies such as weddings, women still wear a form of colourful patterned turbans to acknowledge their tribal origins.

The Origins of the Turban Fashion Trend…

The history of turban fashion for women began in the late 18th, early 19th century, when trade with India saw the dawn of the trend for turbans as a Western fashion accessory for society ladies. While earlier portraits show examples of the turban in women’s dress – notably Vermeer’s 1665 portrait Girl with a Pearl Earring – the draped turban is first recorded as a widespread fashion in Britain in the late 18th century, rising to even greater popularity during the Regency era; this was a fashion said to be inspired by increased trade with India for the import of cottons. The fashion may also have been partly inspired by growing interest in, and knowledge of, the Ottoman Empire and Turkey. The writings of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu on Turkey are also said to have been an influence. There are several portraits of her in turban style headgear and the turban was also sometimes known as the turk or chiffonet.

The style of turban was initially simple, in keeping with the drape of gowns of the time, but as its popularity developed it tended to follow the fashion in hair and became progressively larger as hairstyles became more elaborate. Turbans might be lavishly decorated with plumes for balls and functions, but also for daywear – as satirised in a 1796 James Gillray cartoon, High Change in Bond Street. The fashion remained during the early decades of the 19th century, with examples of Paris and London fashions from the 1830s showing ornate turban headdresses topped with tall plumes.

Turn of the Century Chic…

We have Paul Poiret to thank for the revival of turban fashion in the early 20th century. By 1910 the turban had made a complete revival and was a staple in evening wear and the ultimate high society fashion statement.

As any fashion trend, the turban has cycled its way through our modern era, making brief cameo’s of fabulousness. The history of turban fashion is very consistent with glamour. Whether it is a classic 1946 film noir, a 1970’s British Vogue feature, a 1980’s tribute to Joan Crawford played by Faye Dunaway, or Sarah Jessica Parker herself reviving the turban a la Carrie Bradshaw for the 21st century… what goes around comes around. And the truth is our Western civilization will always be swept away by the exotic elegance of the East with the turban.

 

Hat Couture Does tUrban Chic…

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Inspired by many appearances on the catwalk this year in shows from Gucci to Marc Jacobs, Hat Couture has worked on a number of contemporary takes on tUrban Chic this year.  We started with a special commission for the wedding of one of my good friend’s sons during early Summer 2018.  This was Midnight at the Casbah, a silk abaca wrapped, raw silk creation that featured a vintage Dolce and Gabbana pendant brooch to perfectly match the client’s outfit.  Pure Hollywood glamour!

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For the same event we also developed a more youthful look as modelled by my daughter Tish.  This was an Alice band based fascinator wrapped in a fabulous shade of Royal Blue with peachy pink hand made silk blossoms to compliment her Ted Baker ‘cold shoulder’ Harmony ensemble.

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Next out of the workshop was Rock the Casbah which pays homage to the forties with its sinamay teardrop shaped percher covered in raw black silk again swathed in swirls of silk abaca. This piece is finished with a mount of oily green and black gloss plumes a vintage Art Deco pendant brooch in crystal and jet.

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Last but by no means least we have a duet of two colourways for a similar design, Harnessing Peacocks (as shown as the featured photo above) and The Queen of Sheba.  Both of these pieces are constructed with a hand blocked buntal asymetric fez base covered and fully lined in raw silk.  The headpiece is then enrobed in swathes of silk abaca and finished with crystal antique pendant brooches.

tUrban Chic DIY…

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Be sure to do your Fashion 101 homework by incorporating a turban into your own ensemble as the summer sun fades! Here is a great tutorial on how to make a turban from a fabulous head scarf (with thanks to Jessica on Pintrest).  We look forward to seeing pictures of your own interpretations as you too Rock the Casbah,

Rocking Post Modern Baroque…

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Here Comes the Sun

The rise of Louis XIV, the Sun King, and his court at Versailles, signalled the dawn of the Classical Baroque era in art, architecture, music, and fashion.  It was defined by natural, curving silhouettes, flowing lines, gold filigree, rich colours, and overall voluptuousness.  Clothing contained an abundance of lace, pearls, ribbons, and gold embroidery, and was refreshingly free from the excessive decoration of the Renaissance.  Fashion changed rapidly:  the growing middle class would copy the styles of the nobles, who would in turn create new fashions to stay more “refined” than the middle class.  Unlike earlier periods, where bodices, sleeves, skirts, jackets, and breeches were made to mix and match, clothing during this period was made as separate and entire matching outfits, often made of the same fabric.  This was referred to as en suite, and was the predecessor for our modern-day “suit.”  Seasonality also began to be widely used, a grateful relief from yearlong, heavy gowns and doublets as worn during the Renaissance.  The most important development of this period was the rise of fashion designers after Louis XIV certified the establishment of a dress-makers guild and a milliners guild.  These professions contained both men and women.  The most popular designers were well-pursued by the nobility and even the middle class.

The Duchess of Style

The baroque era fashion trend for outrageous wigs and hats featured in the award winning costume drama ‘The Duchess’ starring the sublime Keira Knightly.  She was quoted as saying that wearing the elaborate wigs for several hours during filming put a great strain on her famously slender neck, but she loved the drama of the millinery and costumes designed for the film by Michael O’Connor (winner of both BAFTA and Academy Awards for costume design in 2008 for ‘The Duchess’).

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Rock Baroque

The new collection from Hat Couture Creations is inspired by the Georgian splendour of neo-baroque millinery.  Featuring dramatic sweeping asymetric profiles, low crowns, plumes and hand made silk blossoms under and over the brim, each one off design is a statement piece guaranteed to turn heads and make you feel like a Duchess.  The first design out of the starting gate is ‘Giverny Gardens’ a beautiful piece exclusively hand crafted by Hat Couture Creations. Featuring our signature large sweeping brim and low domed crown in premium ivory sinamay with matching sinamay swirls and arrow head plumes, this elegant hat is finished with blush silk hydrangea blossoms and roses.  Giverny Gardens is available exclusively for a limited time only from www.hatcouturecreations.com.

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Next in the Rock Baroque collection  is ‘Vivienne at Versailles’ another fabulous one of a kind piece  by Hat Couture Creations. Also featuring our signature large sweeping brim and low domed crown in premium light blue sinamay with matching sinamay swirls and arrow head plumes, this elegant hat is finished with vivid blue silk hydrangea blossoms and ivory roses.  Vivienne at Versailles is available exclusively for a limited time only from www.hatcouturecreations.com.

 

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‘Prudence at the Palace’ is the third hat in the Rock Baroque collection by Hat Couture Creations. This design also features a low crown and large asymetric brim in dark grey sinamay with matching sinamay swirls and arrow head plumes. This theatrical hat is finished with soft pink silk hydrangea blossoms and roses.  Prudence at the Palace is available exclusively for a limited time only from www.hatcouturecreations.com.

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‘Blushing Peonies for Penelope’ is the final piece to complete the Rock Baroque collection by Hat Couture Creations. Featuring our signature large sweeping brim and low domed crown in premium light grey sinamay with matching sinamay swirls and arrow head plumes, this elegant hat is finished with hand made silk peony blossoms in tones of the softest pinks and blush.  Blushing Peonies for Penelope is available exclusively for a limited time only from www.hatcouturecreations.com.

For these and more exclusive designs inspired by Baroque splendour please visit my Etsy store at http://www.hatcouturecreations.com or contact Denise Marsh at hatcouturemillinery@gmail.com.

 

Hat Couture Launches New Upcycled Millinery Concept

Hat Couture ‘reimagines’ charity shop and thrift store discoveries as designer millinery for fashion mavens, weddings and special occasions to acclaim from world’s top designers.

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Hat Couture announced today the launch of its first collection designed by Milliner Denise Marsh. The Hollywood Legends collection is available for immediate shipping to International and local clients, who can enjoy the feel-good factor that comes with wearing an exclusive upcycled, one off creation.

“Hat Couture is a new concept in high fashion millinery, I upcycle designer hats and create original objects d’art for discerning clients and fashion mavens,” said Denise Marsh, Milliner at Hat Couture, “Each rescue project is carefully taken apart by hand and remade using only the finest silk, sinamay, vintage lace, plumes, real pearls, flowers and luxury trimmings”.

Positive Green Impact

Most hats donated to charity shops end up in landfill adding to the millions of tons of discarded textiles that currently plague our planet.  Hat Couture scours local thrift stores to rescue designer millinery and fabric in good condition, making a sizeable donation to charity and providing items too good for landfill with a new lease of life. After removing all trimmings and cleaning, the hat base is reshaped and put into stock to await the creation of a new design to match that special outfit or become a statement piece for an international fashionista. The majority of the fabrics and trimmings used are also upcycled from vintage fabric collections found via the internet or the designer’s own inherited treasure trove of laces, silks, buttons, flowers and beads. When dispatched to a new home, each design is carefully wrapped in tissue paper (recycled) before being placed into a signature black and white candy stripe box (made from recycled paper), tied with a sumptuous satin bow (recycled from heritage stock) to be whisked away to destinations in the UK, Far East, Middle East and the USA.

Creating Lasting Memories

Hat Couture has already found new homes for a number of these exquisite works of art. Karen from Kent recently purchased ‘Vintage Rose Garden’ and was delighted when her one of a kind creation arrived, “Hat received – absolutely love it – gorgeous! Many thanks”.

“Sorry for delay getting back to you, parcel delivered just as I was leaving to look after my mum -have just opened and it is stunning, beautifully made and fits so easily. I am very happy with it, thank you.” said Cheryl from Wales who purchased ‘Rambling Rosie’ for her daughter’s wedding, “My wedding outfit is by Out of Exile and so compliments perfectly.”

Already Gaining a Great Reputation

With more than 2,000 followers on social media already including designer brands like Philip Treacy, Tracy Chaplin and Vogue Bridal plus international support from ethical groups like Upcycled Cloth Collective enthusiasm for this new upcycled millinery concept continues to grow.

Founded in 2018, Hat Couture is a small business with big ideas. Alongside its collection of upcycled and designer Millinery the company is set to launch a range of crystal jewellery and vintage silk scarves. In response to requests from fans, Milliner Denise Marsh is also looking at ways to offer training courses in hat making and silk flower techniques for those interested in honing their skills and joining the growing band of enthusiasts for textile upcycling.

THE FIGURES

  • In 2016 1,130,000 tons of new clothing was purchased in the UK – an increase of 200,000 tons since 2012.
  • Fashion in the UK lasts an average of 3.3 years before a garment is discarded.
  • Extending the life of a garment by an extra nine months reduces its environmental impact by 20-30%.
  • Providing one ton of clothing for direct re-use by giving it to a charity shop or selling it online can result in a net greenhouse gas saving of 11 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

For more information, press only:

Denise Marsh

Tel: 07804434930

Email: hatcouturemillinery@gmail.com

Please find us on:

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/HatCoutureCreations

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hatcouturecreations

WordPress: https://hatcouture.blog/

Instagram: @hatcouturecreations

Kiss Me Marilyn…

 

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Marilyn wearing ‘Kiss Me Marilyn’ by Hat Couture available at https://etsy.me/2JjfMkK

Next in my Hollywood Legends Series is the matchless Marilyn Monroe wearing ‘Kiss Me Marilyn’ by Hat Couture. Handmade in premium grey sinamay, this design features a sweeping brim adorned with opulent scarlet silk peonies.  This lavish creation reflects Marilyn’s lipstick red and cool silver blonde bombshell image whilst hiding beneath the brim wisdom that only those in the inner circle ever got to appreciate.

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring” – Marilyn Monroe

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Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson; June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962) was an American actress, model, and singer. Famous for playing comic blonde bombshell  characters, she became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s and was emblematic of the era’s attitudes towards sexuality. It was her signature lipstick print on the mirror kiss that inspired the logo for my designer millinery creations Hat Couture.

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Marilyn had a brief but glittering Hollywood career that spawned an enduring legacy in the worlds of art, media and fashion.  Everyone from Andy Warhol to Lichtenstein and Dali clamoured to portray the ultimate muse of the era in dazzling pop-art technicolour. But it was in her influence on the multi-million dollar contemporary fashion industry that we can see the birth of one of Hollywood’s biggest global icons – a legacy that continues to live on.

“Hollywood’s a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul. I know, because I turned down the first offer often enough and held out for the fifty cents” – Marilyn Monroe.

 

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‘Rambling Rosie’ is another creation by Hat Couture inspired by the inimitable Marilyn.  This unique one off piece has recently found a new home via the Hat Couture Shop on eBay.

 

Hollywood Legends Play Dress-up…

Apart from designing a range of couture millinery creations, I also enjoy playing with another of my talents to imagine how Hollywood’s brightest stars might look wearing some of my exclusive hand-made pieces.  This not only provides a bit of fun for my lovely patrons and fans on Instagram and Facebook, it also shows the hats ‘in the wild’ giving a flavor of how they might perform in their natural habitat.  But can you identify all stars in my Hollywood Legends series…

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A Passion for Peonies by Hat Couture Creations

The first is of course the quintessentially elegant Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993). Famous for her starring roles in classics like ‘My Fair Lady’ and ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’.  Here she is shown wearing one of my first original designs ‘A Passion for Peonies’.  Featuring huge, lipstick red hand -made silk peonies on a shantung silk base, I felt that this is exactly the kind of chapeau that a contemporary ‘Holly Golightly’ would have worn to admire the jewels in Tiffany’s window. Her radiant beauty and sophisticated style have made her an enduring fashion icon and one of my all time favorites.  This timeless fashionista was however more than just a pretty face. An avid supporter of charitable causes, she believed that true elegance and style were a reflection of the inner person.

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”— Audrey Hepburn

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Following her success in My Fair Lady the world of fashion had found a new heroine and every designer had found their muse.  Miss Hepburn adopted the hat as her signature accessory and from then on she was seldom seen without a statement piece from one of the world’s top milliners.  Another of my designs ‘Champagne and Roses’ is also inspired by the look Audrey created in this and other stunning fashion shoots.

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Champagne and Roses by Hat Couture Creations

Audrey Hepburn was born Audrey Kathleen Hepburn-Ruston on May 4, 1929 in Brussels, Belgium. She was aristocratic and cosmopolitan from birth. Her mother, Ella van Heemstra, was a Dutch baroness; Audrey’s father, Joseph Victor Anthony Hepburn-Ruston, was born in Úzice, Bohemia, of English and Austrian descent, and was involved in several businesses. During World War II she changed her name to Edda Van Heemstra, as she lived in occupied Holland and didn’t want to be suspected as British. However, after the war, she moved to London and worked as a chorus girl, so she shortened her real name to Audrey Hepburn.

Although her professional career continued to be incandescent after My Fair Lady earned her a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Audrey continued to struggle in her personal life with a series of failed marriages, miscarriages and finally ill health that lead to her death in Switzerland at the age of 63. Whether it was her struggles to survive as a child in Nazi occupied Europe or her later quest for motherhood, she remained a staunch supporter and Ambassador for UNICEF and other international children’s charities throughout her life.

“How shall I sum up my life? I think I’ve been particularly lucky. Does that have something to do with faith also? I know my mother always used to say, ‘Good things aren’t supposed to just fall in your lap. God is very generous, but he expects you to do your part first.’ So you have to make that effort. But at the end of a bad time or a huge effort, I’ve always had – how shall I say it? – the prize at the end. My whole life shows that.” — Audrey Hepburn

 

 

 

 

Millinery in the Movies

On hearing that my latest venture included a foray into millinery, my lovely friend Galen Yeo (CEO of The Moving Visuals Company) sent me a link to one of my favourite scenes in any movie, Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle at the Ascot Races in My Fair Lady            (https://youtu.be/8uozGujfdS0). In this clip she is of course wearing one of the most splendid hats ever seen on the silver screen. With all Miss Hepburns dazzling costumes and hats for the movie created by the inimicable Cecil Beaton, it is small wonder that this film continues to be mentioned at the top of any hataholics list as an all time favourite.

And of course Audrey herself was the perfect muse for all milliners, with her natural cool elegance and elfin features.  Sporting an array of spectacular tiles, she and Jackie Kennedy Onassis were a tour de force, keeping the designer hat business afloat throughout the sixties.

But clearly the romance between screen sirens and movie millinery did not begin and end with La Hepburn.  From the birth of the industry via silent movies in the twenties through to the introduction of the first ‘talkies’ in the thirties, movies stars like Norma Sheara, Alice Day and Mae West dazzled and smouldered in their picture hats, turbans and cloches.

As we moved into the forties the effects of wartime austerity on the fashion industry was reflected in the more modest millinery shown in the movies.  Film stars like Lauren Bacall, Gene Tierney and Dorothy Lamour wore hats that were smaller and less flambouyant than their Hollywood predecessors, with the trilby and beret leading the fashion field on the runway.

As we’ve already seen, costume designers in the fifties and sixties were dying to break free from the shackles of austerity spawning a whole new era of outrageous millinery that only became slightly diluted by the dawn of the age of Aquarius in the form of the hippie movement. Among the starlets who lead the pack as milliner’s muses during the fifties and sixties were of course Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Lauren and Grace Kelly.

The seventies and eighties were not great eras for contemporary movie millinery but they did spawn a number of interesting television costume dramas like Upstairs Downstairs, Dallas and the Onedin Line where hats did occaisionally upstage the actors.

And finally we come to contemporary movies and their influence on hat designers like Philip Treacy and Pip Hackett.  With films like The Red Hat, Titanic, The Duchess and The Great Gatsby plus television series like Downton Abbey movie millinery continues to thrill and inspire.

My own nod to the sirens of the silver screen are a Passion for Peonies, Invitation to the Abbey and Silver Screen Siren all of which are available to purchase or hire from my Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/HatCoutureCreations