Hats by Stephen Jones et al go under the hammer

Fantastical pieces raise funds for Women for Women International

For those in search of striking new headwear for summer events, help comes from an unusual corner. Inspired by the elegance of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, author, art collector and philanthropist Eva Lanska has brought together nine milliners – including Philip Treacy (first picture) and Rachel Trevor-Morgan (second picture) – to design exceptional one-off hats. Each is now being auctioned online on Paddle8 (with a closing date of Thursday June 11) to raise money for Women for Women International, which helps women in conflict zones.

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The project, entitled Soleil de Nuit, is the manifestation of Lanska’s love affair with the hat: “Everything started when I watched Last Tango in Paris in my youth,” explains Lanska. “The actress was wearing a hat and the film was a masterpiece. Perhaps that was the reason I moved to Paris and began to collect hats and photographs of hats.”The fantastical pieces (which start from £250) in the collection being auctioned range from Victoria Grant’s arresting red top hat (third picture) to Noel Stewart’s floral extravaganza (fourth picture) and Stephen Jones’ crystal-studded globes with luminescent feathers (fifth picture).“When I make a hat, it’s never just that, it’s the whole project,” explains Jones. “The first thing to do is to get to know the person to understand what suits the occasion, then I develop the design and the hat is borne out of that friendship. This was a fascinating project, so I got involved 100 per cent.”

Hat lovers should also check out the vintage fur creations by Johnny Beardsall or share in the finds of hat aficionados Katerina Flohr and Julia Muggenburg.

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