Philip Treacy On His New Hat Range For Thomson: ‘I’m A Specialist In Divas’

31 May 2013 by

Phillip Treacy's designs for Thomson

Philip Treacy's designs for Thomson

One of the world’s best-known milliners, Philip Treacy, has worked with them all. He created Madonna’s Superbowl headdress and many Lady Gaga confections, he's dressed many royal heads and his pieces for Grace Jones are just too numerous to mention. Yup, the Irish-born hatter really is the go-to man for A-list headwear. Now he’s collaborated holiday company Thomson to design a range of limited edition women’s and children’s sunhats to mark the launch of its exclusive 5* Sensatori Resort in Turkey. Grazia Daily caught up with Mr Treacy to find out more about his long, incredible career and his latest project – posh sun hats for Thomson’s 5* resort in Turkey.

Grazia Daily: What are your tips for the ideal holiday hat - and how can you get round the suitcase issue?

Philip Treacy: The advantage in the scenario with Thomson is - it's in your room and it’s really good quality and we’ve made it really sophisticated and fab. It comes in a bag and it’s like a gift when you get to the resort – to welcome you to your room.

We all need a bit of  Turkey in our lives, don’t we? I mean, Turkey is for life, not just for Christmas . . . Are they sending you on holiday there for doing this interview?

Grazia Daily: Sadly no. Have you been out there to see the resort?

Philip Treacy: I’m going out there as soon as Ascot finishes. From a helicopter off the roof – I wish! Ooh – and as well as designing the hats I’ve designed a gorgeous bar out there – The Butterfly Bar. It’s very deluxe and a form of visual entertainment - which is what a hat is too. 

Grazia Daily: If you’re a little bit inhibited by hats and you want try one out, what is a good starting off point?

Philip Treacy: It sounds a bit silly to say – but a sun hat. The hats I usually make are ultimate hats for occasion – but these sunhats are ideal for people who, not only want to relax on holiday but really dress up, look good and feel good.

Phillip Treacy On His New Hat Range For Thomson: ‘I’m A Specialist In Divas’

Lady Gaga and Philip Treacy at his Spring Summer 2013 show - Sept 2012

Grazia Daily: Your client list reads like a who’s who of amazing divas – Grace Jones, Gaga, Madonna – what’s your approach to working with such big personalities?

Philip Treacy: Well I do say I’m a specialist in Divas. Name a diva – I’ve worked with ‘em.

Mind you, it’s more that I’ve ended up with them, I didn’t set out to have that niche.  It’s amazing though – the most interesting perk of my job is I can make up my own mind – you really get to know someone when you make them a hat – and I know so many because my clientele is very diverse to between them. You know, from Lady Gaga to Camilla Parker Bowles.

Though I must point out - Sarah Jessica Parker is not a diva – she’s one of these pop culture characters that everybody likes. The difference with her is that she’s a very nice person.

Grazia Daily: Do you have to meet everyone you make a hat for?

Philip Treacy: It’s easier to make the hat if you meet them. It’s impossible to make clothes for someone if you don’t meet them. Well, not impossible but difficult. It’s better to meet them, because the success of the hat is the combination of the personality and the hat.

In the same way as making something for Armani to different to Ralf Lauren to Thomson Holidays – it’s all about giving that person something extra – don’t have a boring hat – have a very special hat and make yourself feel good.

Grazia Daily: Who is your ultimate sun hat icon? 

Philip Treacy: The classic hat image was during the Forties and Fifties and Elizabeth Taylor was the epitome of that, she was the ultimate celebrity of excess and glamour and she worked major sun hats. 

Grazia Daily: Are you excited about the forthcoming Isabella Blow exhibition at Somerset House? Have you been involved in setting it up?

Philip Treacy: Yes! I was embedded in her history and I’m happy for her that she’s being recognised – everyone loves her now, but when she was alive people used to laugh at her. Now she’s being celebrated at last. I mean it’s terrible that someone has to die to be taken seriously, but there it is.

She dressed to entertain herself and entertain other people. In the old days, designers dictated how people dressed, but nowadays people are dressing for themselves, it’s all about individualism.

 Phillip Treacy On His New Hat Range For Thomson: ‘I’m A Specialist In Divas’

Philip Treacy and Daphne Guinness at Design Museum - 4 July 2002

Grazia Daily: Who do you think has that same spirit of individualism now?

Philip Treacy: There are very few true individuals. Daphne Guinness is one of them, Isabella was one and Gaga and SJP – I’m very lucky to work with all of them.

Grazia Daily: The Royal wedding was, needless to say, a big deal for your business. Do you read the tabloids and Hello magazine religiously to find out about Prince Harry’s love life? Or do you have a hotline to the palace? 

Philip Treacy: Well of course the Royal Wedding was great for my profile.

The difference is that royalty are not celebrity - they are royal – so they have more ultimate occasions then you and me. Very sadly I don't have any insider knowledge about Prince Harry. Is he very popular at Grazia? Oh how interesting. No I don't know about that but if I hear anything I will pass it on to you, ha ha! 

Philip Treacy has designed a limited edition range of sunhats for Thomson to celebrate the launch of their new 5* Sensatori Resort in Side, Turkey.  For more information on the collaboration visit


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