Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Horsefeathers: Hats On at Ascot

The image galleries are up, the evidence is in: the plumage on the birds at this year’s Royal Ascot races was totally over the top. A fascinator is one thing (typically a headpiece with a feather or few, which is fascinating—even hypnotic—in the way the plumes gently waft about the wearer’s face).

However, when you multiply the feathers a dozenfold or more, the look shifts from compellingly avian into queasily algal, especially once said feathers become sodden in the inevitable spells of rain.

Looking at these pictures, I longed for the simpler, more elegant contours of the late 50s Dior and Schiaparelli-style cocktail hat, seen at right on Audrey in a still from Roman Holiday.

Conversely fascinating for the way they hug the head and gently elaborate its contours, with protoplasmic swells, ridges, curves, and horns.

Here's one I especially like from Vintage Virtuosa--a great little felt-feathered number. And unlike the Ascot confections, it doesn’t require an aviary when it's time to store it away.

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