Thursday, August 21, 2014

Royally Speaking with Rebecca of Royal Hats

In the newest edition of our Royally Speaking series, I talked to Rebecca of Royal Hats about royal milinery and more.

Photo: Rex Features
I have a confession to make: When it comes to royal hats, I have a thing for the slightly wacky. While I didn't care for her hat at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding, I actually loved Princess Beatrice's butterfly explosion from a few years ago. Is there an unconventional royal hat that you can't help but love?
I was very fortunate to try on the same "Butterfly explosion" (designed by Philip Treacy) in the hat department at Harrods a decade ago and it was absolutely magnificent in person! I think most royal hat followers have a soft spot for wacky millinery and I am no exception. My wacky hat crush is Queen Máxima. She has worn some dramatic and outrageous millinery but has done so with such style confidence. I often don't like her hats but always admire her ability to carry them off as beautifully and successfully as she does.

Who is your favourite hatter of the Grand Ducal Family and why?
Unlike their counterparts in Britain or the Netherlands, members of the Grand Ducal Family are not a hat wearing bunch. While the Grand Duchess wears a hand full of hats during the year for official royal or state visits, the remaining family members sport millinery just for the Octave of Our Lady of Luxembourg, the country's National Day and for family weddings. 
Princess Sibilla in a Dillon Wallwork hat
(Photo: Zimbio)
Despite this, I do admire Princess Sibilla's millinery style. She wears large scale hats with sweeping brims in classic shapes with simple embellishment, often designed by British milliner Dillon Wallwork. Princess Sibilla's hats add to her statuesque elegance and she wears them so very, very well. Princess Tessy has chosen more bold hats in recent years which is great fun to see; I am also fascinated to watch Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie's millinery style develop. For Luxembourg National Day this year, the Grand Duchess wore a hat by British milliner Gina Foster and I thought it was one of the best hats she has worn in recent memory.

Have hats always been your topic of choice when it came to royals or was it somehow a progression from another interest in royalty?
My mother, aunts and grandmother have been loyal followers of the British Royal Family for more than sixty years. They collected books and magazines featuring Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, the Queen Mother and other members of the family; as a very young girl, I paged through those books many, many, MANY times! Royal watching became a popular hobby in the 1980s when Princess Diana joined the family and the whole world closely watched what she wore. As a young girl during this time, I admired the clothes and amazing jewels but was always fascinated by the hats.

Photo: Dutch Photo Press
If you could design one hat for one royal, which royal would it be and what would the hat look like?
I would love to see Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie adopt a more youthful millinery style that shows off her delicate features to greater effect. This might be thinking too far outside the royal fashion box but there are a number of Australian milliners doing incredibly beautiful work that never appears on a royal head. How marvelous would it be to see the Hereditary Grand Duchess develop a collaborative relationship with one of these talented designers (similar to those between the Duchess of Cornwall and Irish milliner Philip Treacy, the Countess of Wessex and British milliner Jane Taylor or Queen Mathilde and Belgian designer Fabienne Delvigne).

Lastly, if you could invite six royals (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would find an invitation in their mailbox?
There are six particularly fearless royal hat wearers who immediately come to mind: Queen Elizabeth, Princess Beatrix, Queen Mathilde, Queen Máxima, the Countess of Wessex and Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan, Sheikha of Dubai. I would love to hear each of these royal ladies' approach to hat wearing, their funniest stories involving hats and how much input they have (or would like to have) in the design process. Of course, dinner would not be complete without asking about their favourite and least favourite hats.

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