Tag Archives: Hats

On hats and social change…

Nana has lately been silenced by her new understanding that any original images she posts here are not copyright to her, nor does she have moral right over them unless they have first been published to her private website. Thus, her private website is under construction and normal service will resume forthwith.

 In the meantime, Nana must be content to blog about things public. And what could be more public than the recent Royal event? A celebration which united women of all ages, races, beliefs and social strata in appreciation of the phenomenon of the hat.

 Hats off to the hat-so deeply enmeshed in our cultural identity and sense of worth and class that even our language sports hat-based idioms.

 Tipped by Vogue as early as S/S 10 to be the next big thing this coming A/W, hats are definitely back, and they are indeed an indicator of social change.

 The silicon pumped, bleached green, oompa loompa ladette army can’t carry a hat successfully, lacking the panache to wear anything beyond a fascinator at most. So this is a return, in the footsteps of our new fashion fascination the Duchess of Cambridge, to the cannily demure and poised English rose. And who knows, perhaps in a year or two, as this fashion moment appropriates the vintage movement that for the last five years has been manifesting the desire of women to escape the kind of post-feminist argument that sees pole-dancing as liberation, we’ll even be able to find real- woman-shaped bras in High Street lingerie shops? (Playtex are playing their cards very well on this score).

 But back to the hats displayed on The Day (for we are surely bound to witness a significant shift in millinery style over the next two to three years). Fascinators all of a sudden looked very passé. Marking this moment of transition was the tentatively positioned fascinator-to-hat. Think Countess of Wessex, Victoria Beckham, Tara P-T (also sporting Joe Bugner’s nose, which is not destined for fashion glory) and sooooo many others. Nana expects these hybrids will be with us for some time to come, both populist and popular, particularly serving as a favourite at the celebrations and parties of the fashion timid, and matching the new line in skirts rather well.

 It was right and proper that the big hat had a big moment on the big day, with Zara Philips leading the pack. Big hats simultaneously bounce off the current and likely short-lived return-to-70s-fey-glamour trend and scaffold a more conspicuously bold-yet-feminine ideal.

 Top marks, however, go to Crown Princess Letizia of Spain for her very retro, highly wearable and flattering cloche which will translate very well to day wear (Marks and Spencers are already stocking a straw version of the cloche in their summer range). Cloches, harking as they do to the 1920s-40s, speak to the fortitude, wisdom, skills and importance of the role of women in straitened economic times. The cloche as post-feminist, feminist icon.

 The biggest fashion faux-pas of the day must surely have been SamCam’s. Her decision not to wear a hat, widely predicted in the fashion press, did not appear so much fashion-forward as disrespectful, patronising and conceited. Along the lines of the recent, heinous ‘we fly Ryanair too’ spectacle, SamCam’s effort to appear egalitarian seriously and very sadly misjudged the hubby’s claim to one big (‘classless’) society. Oh dear. Actually, Sam, we proles have rather more class than that.

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