Maybe it was Stephen Jones’ ‘Hats: an Anthology’ exhibition at the V&A. Maybe it was the effect of all those lovely hats at the Royal Wedding (Lobster-gate excluded). Or maybe it was the fact that almost every catwalk from Louis Vuitton to Gucci featured hats in all shapes and sizes perched atop the models’ heads.
Whatever it is, hats are hot. No fetish look this season is complete without a night porter cap, and no Seventies ‘Eyes of Laura Mars’ ensemble can be taken seriously without a perfectly placed wide-brimmed floppy number.
So without further ado, here is our essential guide to the top toppers of the season and the celebrities who wear them so well that, well, we have to take our hats off to them.
1. The Fedora
Much more now than the tired trilby, the fedora has a dashing broad brim which makes the wearer look rather dashing in a Humphrey-Bogart-in-Casablanca-meets-Amish-person kind of way. Take inspiration from Diane Keaton in Annie Hall and wear it with mannish ensembles - upping the glamour ante with jewel tones as was masterfully executed at Gucci - or look to Alexa Chung who wore hers at all the festivals this summer with anything from micro shorts to floaty dresses.
2. The Cloche
With Boardwalk Empire filling up the Autumn nights and the Great Gatsby set for release next year, it’s time to get into drop waists, tassles and cloche hats. Avoid Daisy Buchanan overkill by pairing your cloche hat with streamlined tailored separates like high waisted trousers or a mannish blazer - Blake Lively nailed it.
3. The Military
Louis Vuitton’s fetishistic cap – based on the one Charlotte Rampling wore in the X-rated 1974 film The Night Porter – made it to the cover of six Autumn magazine covers, and no wonder. Put it on and instantly you’re a force to be reckoned with; a scintillating agent provocateur. This hat is to be worn with caution, however: keep the latex stockings for the boudoir and instead go for skinny trousers and strongly tailored jackets to keep on the right side of the law.
4. The Mad Hatter
Factoid of the day: hatters used to work with mercury on a daily basis to make their hats. Once mercury gets into the blood it slowly turns you mad, hence the term ‘mad as a hatter’. Luckily, our favourite mad hat wearing ladies have no direct contact with mercury as far as we know. Our icons for this category are the fabulous Anna Dello Russo, Charlotte Dellal and Lady Gaga - the latter of whom is soon to be honoured in the Headwear Association's Hall of Fame for her hat wearing skills. No hard and fast rules here, just take inspiration from these elegant ladies and remember the wise words of Phillip Treacy (as spoken to The Wall Street Journal): “The hat is a symbol of Englishness. It's an expression of individuality and, as such, one should choose a hat that one feels good about. It need not be eccentric; the look could be subtle... Not matching is the new matching."
- Alannah Sparks