Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bunny Up!

From the sound of things, it will still be chilly next Sunday, so wear your warmest Easter Bonnet to the Parade on Fifth Avenue.
the Milliners Guild will be out in full force, and from all the press we receive, join us, and get your picture taken. By someone. Maybe even Mr. Bill Cunningham of the New York Times. International tv, radio, and print photogs and reporters show up en masse to cover the event, and it's so much fun even the staid can't stand it. Grab a bunny, plan your day with a brunch uptown, and a carriage ride through the park. Hat firmly on head, smile in place, spirit aloft and Fifth Avenue at your feet....Michael Arenella's Dreamland Orchestra will be playing outdoors, just across from the University Club, for those dreamland dancers out there. Literally, there will be dancing in the street. Ah, Easter Sunday. Fred Astaire could not ask for more.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hat Words to the Wise

Gotta love a clutch of feathers that shoot up from a headpiece. Or a vast sweep of felt that swoops like a 1930's perchy hat, veil intact. Some adore a vast brim, with miles of ribbon dangling.
But that's us, the hat wearers/lovers/aficionados of the world. It's definitely NOT the lady who sits behind you at the opera and politely asks you to remove your hat. Or the waiter who sneezes when your feather tickles his nose while he's pouring the Veuve. Or all your friends who wore no hat at all to that marvelous wedding in Ireland at the castle.
Hatiquette. Be ain't pretty.
Since hat wearing is finally coming into it's own after decades of snide remarks and snubbing by the masses, please allow me to impart a few words of wisdom:

Use the width of your shoulders to measure the brim span. If you go larger than that you can wind up looking like a mushroom.

Wear something that fits in the cab/car/limo if you're being driven to a function. That way, it's sure to be small enough not to offend that waiter. Or your Mother-in-Law.

Wear black to funerals. With veils.
Wear navy blue as an alternative to black.

Think over-the-top for the races. If you wear that little sun hat you bought in the Caribbean, someone might think you're the tour guide.

Be joyful when choosing your hat for a wedding. It's a celebration, after all. The bride will love you all the more for joining in the moment of her day.

Cocktail for evening. Large brimmed straw hats just aren't done in the evening.

Mothers-of-the-Brides/Grooms: wear a hat that let's people get up close to kiss you. Unless you can't stand your relatives.

Brides: knock 'em dead. It's your duty to shine, so go as far as you can handle.

Remember that it's your face that designs the hat. Your eyes should be luminous when you put that hat on. The hat is there to be the frame......not be the picture. And when people talk to you, they shouldn't be looking at your hat. If it's the right one, your face glows, your smile lights up, your eyes sparkle. Just look in the mirror at the millinery shop, and judge for yourself which hat does it's job.
Any questions?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Davy Crockett Forever

In 1954, Disney added a new hero to it's roster of kid appeal tv shows : Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier. Fess Parker played him with a woodsy swagger, a gentle demeanor, and a hero mentality. His outdoor duds became a new uniform for little boys across America, as they clamoured for coonskin caps. I never had one, so I don't know if they would have been girl friendly or not, but for decades, and even now, to see a racoon tail hanging from any hat is to remember Davy Crockett.
(PETA could have no problem with the racoons killed in the Old West, but today, a fur hat is anathema in some pc circles. In certain parts of the country, roadkill abounds, so a happy ending for that story would be to recycle. )
Along with many of our childhood heroes, and I speak of the 1950-60 range here, Disney as a brand brought America the light hearted point of view that real history didn't have. Fantasy has always been the land of choice when communicating with children, and Disney stood for magic, miracles and fairydust, generously sprinkled across a population of young citizens happy to embrace the cartoon projections. Not a bad thing, that, adding bright notes of imaginative interpretation to hard core.
Davy Crockett will always live as a real-life hero of the Alamo, but he's had another place in our hearts as a post-WWII blazer of trails all these years as well.
May the trails be alive with adventure and not fraught with adversity. Just put on your coonskin cap and forge ahead, whistling that theme song in your head.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tokyo Does Ellen Christine

We're all over Japan this Spring, with our first wholesale customer touting our wares from coast to coast, Japan-style. The very wellbred store chain: "Iena", has now added Ellen Christine Millinery to their roster of retail wares to tantalize their customer base. With 43 stores, and a great eye for collection pieces, Iena presents a Francophile outlook on young fashion in Japan. They chose a clean cut natural panama straw fedora, edged in navy blue, for their Spring cover. Inside the catalogue, one of our parasisal cloches is perched jauntily atop a headscarf. Styled, appealing, and ours!
May they sell out in one week. Wait until you see what's in the stores for Fall 2010, Japan-fans!..

For Japanese speakers, go to their website for updates , trends, and products:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ah, Spring

Subjectively speaking, spring represents straw hats. But what to do if the weather is still a bit on the chilly side? Do what the Victorians did: wear dark colored straws, trimmed in velvet. In the Roaring Twenties, they wore light colored felts; you can use this as your transitional hat of choice.
Think color, use felt, lean on velvet trims, and you have a perfect spring wardrobe of hats. Of course, in New York City, the first think we grab in the morning is a black fedora. If this is the hat carrousel you're caught on, add a feather to the fedora . The whimsy will awaken your inner Spring, and get you in the mood for other possibilities.
Kentucky Derby, here we come!