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IT SEEMS LIKE A VERY LONG TIME AGO now, but I still remember it vividly.  It was early March, and there were snowflakes on the ground when I walked down Fifth Avenue into Altman’s Department Store and there it was:  The most beautiful hat I had ever seen!  It was pale pink, with a lovely brim laden with gentle pink silk flowers.  Oh!  I had to buy it!  The saleslady put it gently into a big hat box filled with crisp tissue paper, and it was mine.  I was thrilled. 


When my grandmother looked at the hat box she was surprised.  She opened it slowly, and then she saw it.  Here eyes lit up, just as mine had.  That fabulous pink hat!  Oh!  She picked it up, put it on her head, and practically danced across the room to her mirror.  Did she look grand!  Was there ever a more beautiful hat in the world?


It was an Easter bonnet for the ages, and probably the most successful gift I had ever given anyone.  Feminine, yet aristocratic.  Something that makes you smile when you see it.  But it went far beyond Easter.  My grandmother wore it everywhere – to church on Sunday, to lunch with her girlfriends, to her ladies’ club meetings on Thursday afternoons.  And each time she wore it, this sweet woman of infinite humility seemed to exude just a bit of pride, because she looked good, and she knew it.



A hat can do that.  It can make a rainy day sunny.  It can brighten up a woman’s spirits like nothing other.  Hats complete a look, they give it finish and polish.  At Easter, hats practically announce it is Spring, with their pretty colors and florals.  Hats are elegant, wonderfully appealing.  They make a woman look terrific, like nothing else can.








                                                Easter Parade


When I was a young girl, you just had to have a new hat for Easter Sunday.   We would put on our new chapeaux for services, and then rush home to watch the Easter Parade on TV – all those society ladies wearing their designer hats as they walked up and down Fifth Avenue. 


Hat making was a real art, and only the finest milliners would display their show pieces.  It was a matter of pride here, too.  After all, wasn’t the great couturier Coco Chanel a milliner, first and foremost?  Hats are the quintessential fashion!


Then, a lot changed.  People stopped wearing hats.  People even stopped getting dressed up as much.  Many women went (and still go) to church in slacks and jeans. It’s an informal manner, and part of a new cultural expression.  Yet, something has been lost, don’t you think? 


                                                     Good News


WELL, THERE IS GOOD NEWS because the fashion industry would never let something so wonderful as a hat disappear into time.  Never!  And right now, in New York, in Paris, in Milan, in Frankfort, hats are back!  Wonderful hats, some even capable of competing with that fabulous pink hat I bought my grandmother so many years ago!


The colors of the new hats are as inspirational as ever:  Pinks, blues, greens, pale sage green.  And the flowers!  Flowers are an absolute essential for a new Spring hat, the more the merrier.  Ruffles and bows and fringes and sequins and garlands of chiffon piled high on a new Spring hat at the epitome of fashion now.  It is a look to die for! 


Karl Lagerfeld has designed a charming silver colored spring suit he calls “neon baroque” and dressed his model with a stunning lavender floral headpiece to finish the outfit. A stunning collection of spring hats by Albrizio includes a high crown black straw number with a fun cluster of black feathers.  The young designer Federica Moretti has also created a quirky straw hat collection for spring, festooned with handsome black ribbons.


                                                         In Milan


In the fashion capital of the world, Milan, even the ads are hyped up and excited by the newest hat designs.  Baldinini gives more advertising emphasis to the super big brimmed red hat on his model than on the bathing suit she is wearing.  And, back in the States, if you really want to see where hats are going, take a look at that phenomenal white and black and red feathered hat by Guy Garsone’s that was a recent standout at the NYC Milliner’s Guild.  It was heart-stopping!


You might say hats are undergoing a true renaissance.  They are back, in a big way.  It just goes to show, you can always trust fashion to do the right thing. 








  • Ladies fabric hat




Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, March 18th, 2010

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