September 26 2011
Lucia van der Post
It’s not often that fashion commentators venture opinions on hats outside the statutory summer season of weddings and Ascot, but almost every designer finished off their autumn/winter looks with some kind of chapeau. Stylist Annabel Hodin tells me that whereas she hasn’t used a hat in a photo-shoot for years, suddenly no shoot looks right without them.
But the hats we’re seeing this autumn are not the kind of wispy, floral affairs that one might see at a wedding; these are all in a very ladylike mode – sleek, sculptural, simple, with scarcely any decoration other than a ribbon or a feather. It’s a look that requires neat, groomed hair.
You can find simple wool ones at Marks & Spencer for just £18 (for a cloche in black, grey or camel), or £25 for something with more of a brim (lovely in wine colour). At these prices, you could put a tentative toe into this territory to see if it suits. If it does, you could move onwards and upwards. My-Wardrobe has some very nice velour ones by Eugenia Kim (in brown, maroon and beige). They start at £284 for a smart wide-brimmed number in maroon, and go on up to £342 for a big floppy camel-coloured Catherine hat – very 1970s. Stella McCartney has a black felt wool cloche trimmed with grosgrain ribbon for £185 from Browns.
But for my money the classiest, the best, the ones I personally hanker after are Marc by Marc Jacobs’ strict, almost schoolgirl-like wide-brimmed rabbit felt hat (first picture, £260), Emilio Pucci’s leather-trimmed felts (second picture, £200), and Gucci’s rabbit-felt fedora (third picture, £260, all available from Net-a-Porter). These are hats that will lend an enigmatic quality to one’s silhouette.