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Mad Hats!

Updated on December 3, 2011

Nothing says look at me quite like an outlandish hat and every celebrity knows that if you want to be noticed on the world stage a mad hat will do it every time. True, not every celebrity wants to be known in that particular way but over the years, the world stage has seen some pretty crazy hats paraded around on the heads of the more eccentric public figures.

Of course, you don't have to be famous to wear a strange hat - there was a time when just about everyone wore a hat of some description and at certain periods in history mad hats were the norm, rather than the exception. Consider those whacky cocktails hats of the 1940's and 50's? Tops hats for men? Sprawling straw bonnets on elegant Gainsborough women? Huge, floppy berets on medieval men? Yes, when you think about it, it's only in relatively recent history that our heads have become boringly naked, without adornment. Why did hats suddenly go out of fashion after being popular for centuries?


Dame Edna Everage's Sydney Opera House Hat Photo by etherse at Flickr
Dame Edna Everage's Sydney Opera House Hat Photo by etherse at Flickr
Dame Edna in a frivolous pink concoction
Dame Edna in a frivolous pink concoction
Dame Edna's alter-ego Barry Humphries, looking strangely like the Mad Hatter
Dame Edna's alter-ego Barry Humphries, looking strangely like the Mad Hatter

Sydney Opera House Hat

Dame Edna Everage, famous for her eccentric fashion sense, is no shrinking violet when it comes to choosing hats. The dapper Dame must have been in a patriotic mood when she had this four foot wide hat (shown above) custom made. The hat is modelled on Sydney's iconic Opera House, and was made especially for Ladies Day at Ascot, in 1976.

Like Edna, the hat is now a cultural treasure and resides in a Melbourne museum along with several other items from the Dame's lavish wardrobe. Over the years Edna's hats have developed - from the early, quite dreary suburban housewife hats she used to wear to the glitzy and glamorous, peacock masterpieces more suitable to a celebrity of her star-status.

Edna's manager and alter-ego barry Humphries is also a hat fanatic and his style tastes in head wear teeters somewhere between conservative English gentleman and Oscar Wilde bohemian.

The Inspiration
The Inspiration
Sarah Jessica Parker waves to get attention, just in case no-one noticed her crazy olive green floral hat
Sarah Jessica Parker waves to get attention, just in case no-one noticed her crazy olive green floral hat

Over Here!

Sarah Jessica Parker is reknown for the sophisticated designer clothes she wears on and off screen and she hasn't let us down here with this quirky green number she wore to the London premiere of Sex and the City.

The fun hat is recognisably Philip Treacy, a London based milliner who kits out the heads of royalty and celebrity socialites alike. Hats tend to be more of a British thing, perhaps because the English do like their formalities and traditions.

Sometimes it pays to be daring, as Sarah Jessica's hat was a critical success, with most fashion pundits declaring it a 'great look'. It seems the actress went hat crazy for a while there as, emboldened by the sartorial victory, once back in New York, Sarah was spotted wearing more concoctions on her head at various venues around town.

Possibly this wouldn't be such a great style for very tall women as it would add another foot or so to one's height.


The now notorious Philip treacy hat worn by Princess Beatrice to the wedding of Wiliam and Kate
The now notorious Philip treacy hat worn by Princess Beatrice to the wedding of Wiliam and Kate

Bea's Beautiful Bonnet

Who could forget the splash Princess Beatrice made with her mushroom pink Philip Treacy out there hat? Not since the Mad Hatter's Tea Party has there been such a buzz about hats.

Bea's crazy bonnet caused such a storm that before the Royal wedding was even cold, internet blogs and tabloids were already awash with a slurry of opinions about the Royal Head wear. Some called her brave...others eccentric and still more just thought she was quite mad. It was after all, a a mad hat. Me..? I like it!


Who wouldn't want to wear a pile of old books on their head?
Who wouldn't want to wear a pile of old books on their head?

50's Whackiness

For the bookish woman who wants a little eye catching glamour, you couldn't go past this eccentric 1950's hat book shown here at right on the elegant head of professional model.

In the 1950's, novelty was combined with traditional style to create truly offbeat hats that were fun and head turning. The 50's were probably the last great era of hat weating, although judging by the photograph above, taken on a Paris runway, some modern designers do seem to be inspired by some of the themes of the past.


Smoking Cap

In the Victorian era, gentlemen wore elaborately embroidered velvet caps when lounging about indoors to protect their heads from cold draughts.T

The Victorians favoured exotic styles and the smoking caps were modelled on a Turkish fez style, usually with a gold braid tassel attached and were often worn with an equally elegant and elaborate smoking jacket

Smokin'

The ultimate smokers hat
The ultimate smokers hat

Not sure how the anti-cancer council would feel about this smoking hat with a difference but it certainly is eye catching. Designer unknown.



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