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Royal Ruckus Over Bea’s Treacy Hat

May 26, 2011

OMG, has it really been a month since I blogged??  Gee, the time does fly!  Been busy with a lot more marketing than producing, which can be a good thing, though I’ve been glad to get back in the studio again this week (finally!)  I just had a photo shoot with a local magazine this morning for an upcoming article about my company, Millinerium, and two other prominent milliners in Dallas.  Another local publication is also doing a little blurb about my bridal line, too, so things are on the move!

In between all this marketing madness, you might have heard of a little something called a Royal Wedding which I was thrilled to get up at 4am to watch and thought the whole spectacle was so much fun.  (I predicted that I would cry the whole way through, but it was all so sensible that I just teared up a few times.  Happy for William and Kate, such a wonderful couple.)  I still haven’t made it all the way through the DVR I made of the wedding – I’ve been pausing every time there’s a hat so I can really examine it.

No doubt you’ve seen all the photos of some of the more stylish hats, but of course the hats that stood out most were the not-so-stylish… or at least the controversial.

None of the hats were more controversial than Princess Beatrice’s hat by Philip Treacy, Irish master milliner and the most well-known milliner on the planet right now.  (Rumor has it that his atelier made more than 30 of the hats at the Royal Wedding!)

I think it’s charming that Bea decided to auction the hat off for charity (it garnered a whopping $130,000 on Ebay!), but then again, how could she ever wear such a controversial hat again without getting a ton of flack for it?  🙂

Before the wedding itself had even begun, cyberspace was abuzz about Princess Bea’s chapeau and plenty of comments are still flying around, especially in millinery circles.  From comments I’ve read, I’d say the millinery world was about 50/50 split between like/love the hat versus can’t stand it.  I personally liked it.  Sure, it was a bit on the crazy side, but I love stepping out of the fashion comfort zones and ruffling feathers from time to time.

When I saw this article and saw Treacy’s initial sketch of the hat, I did find it extremely odd that he changed the scale (size) of the hat as dramatically as he did.  I mean, the hat went from being a reasonable cocktail-sized hat to a monstrous octopus rising out of the ocean to swallow her head!  While I find the final hat charming, I would love to hear from Treacy why the hat changed so much between concept and finished product.  Did he see her dress and worry that the hat would be overlooked in favor of that busy collar?  Did the Princess demand a more attention-grabbing topper?  Some have speculated that she wanted to make sure she was very visible sitting behind the Queen.  Others think she planned it all along to garner more notoriety – and thereby more funds – for her charity auction.

What do you think?

Treacy's initial sketch vs. the finished product

What was wrong about her outfit? Everything except the infamous hat!

May I present my arguments in support of this statement:

1.  Her makeup looked like Uncle Fester

2.  Her dress was a very unflattering color both to her hair and her skin tone.

3.  The dress was lovely on its own, but next to the hat, the neckline of the dress was way too busy and competed for attention with the hat.  This is generally a big no-no in millinery.  If you’re going to wear a showstopping hat, you are advised to tone down all other accessories and to pick an outfit that doesn’t cause the ensemble to send epileptics into fits of seizure.

Hats are different from any other accessory because they are the first thing one sees when looking at the wearer, as they are the closest thing to the face.  Truly, no hard and fast rules exist in millinery, in fashion, or in art in general.  But there are some guidelines that will make the sailing smoother, especially if you’re unsure how to navigate the waters.  The pointers above should help if you find yourself frozen in fear of becoming the next Princess Beatrice.  At the end of the day, though, wear what makes you feel attractive.  Take a cue from Sweet Bea:  wear it with confidence and a sense of humor and it won’t matter what others think of your ensemble.


As always, please feel free to comment on this post below.  If you like what you see here, subscribe to this blog for more great millinery stuff!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Sally Caswell permalink
    May 28, 2011 5:39 pm

    I have to agree about Beatrice’s makeup. I can’t stand that heavy dark eyeliner that Kate Middleton wears, too. I guess that’s the fashion in London. I think it just makes those young, lovely girls look heavy and older.

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