Hats Off

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How do you like your hats? Full-brimmed with a feather you can doff? Low-profile and barely more than a headband? Maybe a baseball cap or a flower crown is more your style. Me, I’m all for hats. Last year at the launch of The Eternal Headonist, legendary Melbourne millinery Richard Nylon opined that when one wears a hat, one should prepared to be looked at. I suspect this aspect of hat wearing is why so many prefer not to wear a topper: you’ve got to be in the right mood to be admired (or reviled). My very favorite kind of hat is a felted, dusky red fez with a tassle. I feel very Poirot or Ben Kingsley in a fez – and I like that it speaks to my middle-European heritage. It’s not a very feminine hat I suppose, but it seems serious and earnest in its quiet fanciness. Above all, it is a commanding hat – the hat you’d wear while holding court with Paul Keating (or similar) and smoking a hookah. (As one does.)

Today’s Ruby Slipper blog is really a bit of inspiration for next week’s Spring Racing extravaganza culminating in the Melbourne Cup – featuring playful hats by the ever-changing and extraordinary milliner The Human Chameleon. Shot in the serene surrounds of Now & Then’s ‘Top Deck’ in Kew, it follows on from an earlier editorial called Anything Goes.

hat5Here’s a vintage hat which thrilled me – this high profile, marshmallowy number made me think of the party scene in Breakfast At Tiffany – the one where the feathery-hatted lady catches fire. Its whiteness also conjures up images of Jean Shrimpton at the races, too.

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Kristine AKA The Human Chameleon in a playful piece, which featured delicate tendrils and octopus with its very own crown. A royal choice indeed – and one that matches the irreverent themes of monarchy and crowns which feature in many of The Human Chameleon’s works.

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This racing season, will you wear something atop your noggin? Even if you’re just having a BBQ with friends, a hat really brings a sense of whimsy and occasion. And given the fact that racing season’s the official start of Melbourne’s VERY silly season on the way to the Christmas holidays – why not go all-out?

After all, what’s a fez between friends?

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Photography: Breeana Dunbar

Iolanthe wears: The Gently Unfurling Sneak, Repetto

Location: Now & Then Kew

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