Couture Comment: ‘Hats Maketh An Outfit’

Yes I know I am playing on the phrase ‘clothes maketh the man’ as do they the woman, ‘Hats’ however, from the conservative to the theatrical never fail to be a talking piece.

Earlier this year I attended The Great Hat Exhibition organised by X Terrace Fashion Platform, Karen Grace Editor for Eclipse covered extensively all the hats on display

From a designer’s perspective, the cohesion of dresses and hats have always been one of fascination, especially for Ladies Days at the Races, however it’s a fashion balancing act. Both the dress and the hat are of equal importance, it’s also about confidence, especially if you are not used to wearing a hat.

Personally I love hats, when I look through the fashion archives, tailored dresses and suits were always accompanied with some form of headdress; it was a separate statement piece that spoke to your whole attire, your individuality, in short people noticed you, novelty hat pins were also aplenty.

So how do you reach a happy medium with your style of dress, and the hat that accompanies it?

The rules were once that you would have a hat to match the colour of your dress, shoes and handbag, with plain gloves. Whilst there may still be an element of matching hat and dress in terms of colour, ‘the rules of dress’ that spoke to a code of dress, no longer carry the same emphasis. A dress made in a busy print would lend itself to a hat that has one block colour, and yet could have a striking detail. A tailored fitted dress can lend itself to a wide brimmed hat, or an unusual structured piece that carries with it the aesthetics of architecture, clever people these milliners!

When teaming dresses with hats, my goal is to make sure that the wearer is seen, I’m looking for harmony; busy, bold and quirky prints are wonderful, however if the wearer is lost in all of this, then the garment and overall look loses its charm.

Another consideration is your shoes, especially the height of your heel, as this will also affect the balance of the whole look; if you have an additional mirror to hand, have a look at the view from the back to see where the hat falls, in relation to the back neckline of the dress.

The dress featured is a monochrome, black and white paisley, with varying black textured fabric, flanked either side of her are two contrasting styles of hats. On the left the sculptured detail has simplicity at its core, and yet there is an extravagance of style (by Eleonora Gaskova).  To your right (by Natasha Mobey Millinery) the black and white twist, with an explosion of colour creates the illusion of height for the wearer; the paisley print of the dress is emphasised in compliment to the stripes in the hat, with the scarlet detail allowing the eye to rest and take in the whole look, this hat is aptly named Scarlett Twist, the dress is named Paisley.

The remaining images are equally as diverse and yet I feel they do not detract from the dress but heighten its appeal.  Milliners are dominating the catwalks of fashion with many couturiers working in collaboration with hat designers; their resurgence I feel is a refreshing completion and complement to an outfit.

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