A hat can top off a look perfectly, if done right. The trick is in the design and the proportion to your frame, and knowing what looks good with your face. Knowing what to do with your hair, if long, is important too. Exposure of the jaw and neckline cuts an elegant hat-wearing silhouette.
With Royal Ascot coming up in June in the UK, the hat-wearing elite are already making arrangements for head toppers fit for the Royal Enclosure. And of course there are weddings, polo matches, regattas, red carpet fashion events and so many great places to sport a headpiece.
I’ve recently come across Alexandra Harper Millinery. After a decade in the hat designing and making business, she has chosen London as the home of her first bricks-and-mortar boutique, where she serves a discerning clientele - she's very discreet about her celebrity fans - while still working with clients from around the world via her online store.
Here are a few of my favourite Alexandra Harper pieces:
I love colour! This bright red headpiece with ostrich arrows is hand-tooled from silk flowers and a ‘mohican’ of Spanish grass. It's called 'Burning Horizon'. How fun would you feel in this hat?
I like the vintage feel of this ‘coolie’ with details on the top surface and underneath - hand-tooled multi-coloured silk flowers, hand-stitched cross-stitch and a multi-coloured plaque on a black and cream pattern. I could see Sarah Jessica Parker in this one. Couldn't you? It's called 'Sonoran in Bloom'.
The versatility of this headpiece, called the 'Namib Beetle' is brilliant. I could wear it casually with a low-key, but fashionable ensemble, or to a cocktail party, AND it's small enough to pack away on my incessant travels. Matte silver sequins are dotted with hand-sewn faux pearls on a classic pillbox. LOVE!
The Alexandra Harper Millinery boutique tucked away in the historic New River area of Clerkenwell in London, just around the corner from the Sadler’s Wells Theatre on 25 Arlington Way. Millinery fans can visit the boutique and meet Alexandra by appointment, or by chance. Visit Alexandra Harper Millinery for details.
Photographs of Alexandra Harper and her millinery creations by Jenny Brough