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Fascinators: The Up-Trending Chapeau

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We all acknowledge that the Duchess of Cambridge, (that’s Kate Middleton to you and me) is the Queen of the fascinator. Yes, down the road she’ll be a slightly different type of Queen. But for now, we’ll discuss her almost super human dedication to the craft of couture millinery.

Hats have been around since Adam and Eve, but for our purposes, we will focus on the currently up-trending fascinator. The drama of the tiny fascinator is not new, but its resurgence as a fashion statement is.  We will focus on the designs of the milliners favored by Duchess Kate and her family as well as the royals and socialites in her sphere.  We know taste will not be a question.

The British understand that a lovely suit worn to a wedding, Royal Ascot or any special event is charming, but when you add a fascinator, you add more than a touch of theatre. Nice becomes spectacular. Consider Kate in the attractive blue and white suit. Now consider her look without the fascinator. Pretty, of course, but not dazzling. We need to understand how to take our outfits to the next level. Into the realm of fantastic.

We will learn the two main elements to successfully triumph in a fascinator.

Let’s start with Gina Foster Millinery.  Milliner to the stars, Gina has created fascinators and hats for Kate, her Mom Carole and her sister Pippa, among many others in their social stratosphere. One department in the retail store that the fascinator is comfortable in is the bridal department. Here we see two lovely handmade headpieces that are inspired by vintage designs.  In the hands of an artist, ivory straw, birdcage veiling and silk roses becomes a magnificent accent for the blushing bride.

Sylvia Fletcher is another name often repeated in luxury millinery. She is a designer at Lock & Company, a British hatter that was established in 1676. That’s before Benjamin Franklin was born, for goodness sakes! History, tradition, superior craftsmanship and contemporary designs combine to keep the royals coming back. Kate wore a bright red fascinator by Sylvia on her trip to Canada. This showstopper was motivated by the Canadian maple leaf pattern. The Canadians were obviously happy to see Kate. But Kate in that fascinator? Love at first sight! The same master milliner created another gorgeous red fascinator for Kate, this one worn to the Diamond Jubilee Pageant. Who stands out on the Royal barge? You tell me.

Superstar milliner Jane Taylor is famous for creating the fetching cream colored fascinator the Duchess of Cambridge wore to Prince George’s christening. How gorgeous was that outfit?  Jane designs many creative fascinators. The teal velour trimmed in green peacock feathers and quill detail has a stunning, Gothic effect. There truly is something for every taste.

Here are two stunning examples by royal favorite Rachel Trevor-Morgan. This graphic black and white stripe straw disc, bow and feathers fascinator would make a dramatic entrance. Now imagine the outfit without the chapeaux…it’s just a black dress.  Also by Rachel, a bold royal blue silk taffeta pillbox with arrow claw feathers.  The stage is set for excitement!

A world famous name in couture millinery is Philip Treacy. Yes, he creates out-of-this-world bizarre fascinators for Hollywood stars who need to be on the cover of the “National Enquirer,” but he also creates lovely headpieces for Kate and associates. Here is one that can be worn by anyone who wants to look fabulous and cutting edge.

Milliner Jane Corbett was trained by the Queen Mother’s milliner. Now that’s something to hot stamp on your shopping bag! Jane has hand crafted hats and fascinators for Kate, her Mom and her sister. This lovely rich burgundy velvet fascinator has a definite vintage feeling and looks just exquisite.

Hollywood legends of the past understood drama. Marlene Dietrich comes to mind. Dietrich perfectly recognized the two rules to successfully conquer the fascinator mystique.

Look at all the images of Kate. Can you see why she looks absolutely smashing in all of her fascinators? Do you notice the jaunty angle? Many fascinators have an elastic band that goes under the hair, to maintain the extreme anti-gravity angle.

Element one: Drama.  I’ve seen fascinators on various other women, who look like a sunny side up fried egg was placed flat on their heads. No angle, no drama.

Element two: Confidence. Again, look at Kate. You can see it all over.

There we have it. This is a fun trend with many retail opportunities for customers. Dramatic images in the hat or bridal department would be great in your displays. Mini fashion shows, teaching customers how to wear the fascinator would be inexpensive to put on and an entertaining diversion for your customers, not to mention bring in add on sales.

For additional fascinator ideas at the retail level, bring your own Fashion Trend Analyst on board; just ask SaSR for assistance.

Fashion Trend Analyst contributor: Diane Weisbeck.

TAGS: retail, retail trends, fashionista, fashion, fashion trends, fashion stylist,
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