With all this talk about Gatsby and Punk, you may have forgotten that Saturday marks the 139th Kentucky Derby, which, in addition to being the biggest horse race of the year, is America’s foremost hat-stravaganza. However, whether you’re heading to Churchill Downs or celebrating at home with a mint julep, picking the appropriate race day hat can be a trying task. Luckily, we were able to get a hold of London-based milliner Piers Atkinson, whose something of an expert on the subject. This spring, Atkinson launches his second Racing Collection (above). Crafted from feathers and straw in a palette of black and white (a nod to My Fair Lady, he tells us), Atkinson’s range presents an updated, witty take on a time honored sartorial tradition. (Speaking of wit, his look book cleverly showcases the collection on a set of Barbie dolls.) “When a woman tries the right hat, suddenly she stands up straight, has a big grin on her face, and starts acting like a Hollywood movie star,” says Atkinson. “It’s quite instinctive, really.” Here, the milliner offers some tips for picking the perfect racing accouterment, and keeping your top-to-toe look from seeming old hat.
Formal, large brimmed hats seem the racing tradition, but sometimes they can feel a bit dated. Do you think it’s still modern to wear a giant hat?
Big brimmed hats don’t sell so much outside the races, but once the races come around, everyone goes mad. I like to do some really large brimmed hats this time of the year just to get people in the mood. And I don’t think a big brimmed hat is an age thing. It’s more about your body shape. So taller women can carry off a bigger brim, in my opinion. Saucer shapes are also quite popular, and they have big brims, but they can be worn tilted on the side of the head. Or you can get brims that kind of sweep up so you can see whoever’s underneath.
I think a lot of new hat wearers have a fear of looking silly in a big racing topper. What’s the key to feeling dramatic, but not cartoonish?
It’s all about confidence. People who wear bigger hats tend to have a sense of confidence, or to be more show off-y—in a nice way. If you’re confident, then you can afford to have a sense of humor. But most women don’t want to look ridiculous—they want to look chic, or sexy, or fabulous. For instance, if your hat is huge, and your trim is huge, and you’ve got feathers and roses, and then more roses, it starts to go into something that’s a little ridiculous. You can have drama, or a bright color or a wide brim, or a huge trim, or a fun detail, but not all of them at once. Just be chic. The main thing about wearing a hat, though, is that if you feel silly, you’re going to look silly. So get something that makes you feel nice. Continue Reading “Off to the Races with Piers Atkinson” »
“Hats are always important. Full stop,” said costume designer Catherine Martin when asked about the elaborate chapeaux featured in Baz Lurhmann’s The Great Gatsby. “I think that one of the things that defines the period is evening headwear. Hats enhance the characters, create an otherworldliness, and help the audience understand that we’re in a time other than our own.” In order to fully realize Gatsby‘s sartorial Jazz Age fantasy, Martin enlisted Sydney-based milliner Rosie Boylan to create cloches, boaters, and beyond for Daisy and co. Boylan, who has worked with Martin and Lurhmann since making headpieces for Moulin Rouge in 2000, has been crafting hats for over thirty years. Here, she talks to Style.com about designing for Gatsby, pushing historical boundaries, and how to pull off a twenties topper.
Can you give us an idea of the range of hats we’ll see in The Great Gatsby?
There are about one thousand hats in the movie. Baz and Catherine love hats. For the men, there are a lot of boaters and caps and homburgs, which were a high-crowned men’s felt hat that was introduced by Prince Edward in the twenties. But we were primarily making women’s headwear. And that was mainly cloches and then the explosive party headwear that reflects the spirit of the Gatsby story. There were about 250 party headpieces, and we styled them to compliment each individual actor’s face. Every headpiece was made for a particular person.
How do the hats in Gatsby help improve our understanding of the characters?
When Catherine and I are working, it’s not only about making a period fashion statement. It’s about the character. I need to know what is happening and what they’re feeling and that helps me to create something that speaks to the storyline, the character, and the mood at that particular moment. Take Daisy, for example. She is always dressed in pale colors and she wears lots of soft floaty garments. Her headwear is very refined, highly crafted, very expensive, but always reflective of the fact that she is a delicate flower. I love the hat Carey Mulligan wears at the end of the film when she’s leaving town. She’s with Tom at the train station, it’s almost fall, and she’s got her felt hat on. It’s quite restrained but very beautiful and there’s lot of, I suppose, sadness. Continue Reading “From the Top: Milliner Rosie Boylan on the hats of Gatsby” »
Finally, something’s happening at Schiaparelli. After the house’s current owner, Diego Della Valle, announced his plans to reopen the storied maison last year, there had been no news about a creative director, or even a launch date. Until yesterday, when it was revealed that the Schiap revival is set for July, with a fifteen-piece capsule collection of Couture by Christian Lacroix. The 61-year-old, Paris-based couturier’s homage to Schiaparelli—which will go on display in her original salon at 21 Place Vendôme—will be the first in an annual series of collaborations in which artists will interpret the iconic designer’s wares. The house’s permanent creative director, however, has yet to be named. Here, Lacroix, who has largely been working on costume projects for operas and ballets around the globe since his departure from the couture catwalk in 2009, discusses the Schiaparelli revival and his forthcoming collection.
Schiaparelli is a legend, yet also mysterious; you referred to her as a sphinx. Are you at all intimidated by the undertaking?
This will perhaps sound pretentious, but this seems natural to me, almost obvious—let’s say logical. I do feel a link with her through many signs since I was a child. I’ll face her glance on a portrait and try to guess what she thinks…and I’ll tell you yes, she’s goddamned intimidating!
How did Mr. Della Valle approach you for this project?
We have known each other for more than thirty years. [We met] when I was working for Guy Paulin and Byblos in Italy. Later, he made my first shoes for the first Lacroix ready-to-wear show. And we have friends and collaborators in common.
Why were you drawn to this collaboration?
I’ve adored Schiap since my childhood. This kind of project that falls in between the history of costume and fashion was impossible for me to refuse [particularly because] I planned to be a fashion museum curator and became a stage designer after twenty-five years of couture.
Do you see any similarities between your and Schiaparelli’s aesthetics?
Of course I was very inspired by her work, mixing past and modernity, high and low, elegance and eccentricity. We are both Mediterranean characters inspired by Paris’ special flavor and style.
While many are excited to see new life breathed into Elsa Schiaparelli’s house, some are wary of the revival and feel her legacy should be left untouched. What is your response to this and what are your feelings on the revival?
When you enter 21 Place Vendôme, the place which never stopped being “her” home since the thirties, you feel something alive, far from nostalgia. Everything screams, “I’m still here, alive.” I think this is good timing and momentum [as long as] we don’t copy her but try to extract the quintessence of her style. Her heritage is too often reduced and simplified to only the crazy, surrealistic, and caricatural side of her clothes. [People] ignore how close to the practical, modern, pure aspect of a wardrobe she was, especially during the war. We have to epitomize this image of her. Continue Reading “Christian Lacroix Talks Schiaparelli” »
It can’t be easy to dress an onstage style icon, but costume designer Christian Joy—who’s been creating killer (and often eccentric) costumes for Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O since 2001—has got it down pat. For Karen’s performance at the first weekend of this year’s Coachella festival, Joy outfitted the singer with a lacquer-shiny cape, one studded glove, and a matching papal headpiece (above). Here, Style.com talks to the designer about what it takes to dress a rock goddess.
Tell me about Karen’s outfit. Was that created especially for Coachella?
Yes, the costume I made for Coachella was specifically designed for it. In the beginning, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were meant to go on towards sunset, so all of the fabrics were chosen to reflect the sun and really glow against the desert sky. The cape and headpiece were meant to be a little “pope,” to go with the song “Sacrilege.”
What do you have to consider when picking out costumes for the stage?
The two main things I always think about when creating Karen’s costumes are color and movement. I think it’s important not only for Karen to be able to move easily but also what kind of movement can be created. I always love a dramatic cape for that reason. Color is also always important. I hardly ever use black unless it’s highly contrasted. I think color gives the performer a lot of energy, and it makes the crowd feel excited and happy. As far as shiny goes, it can never be too shiny!
Which designers does Karen gravitate toward?
I make all of her stage costumes, but offstage she generally goes for vintage. Continue Reading “Karen O Unzipped: Christian Joy on Dressing Rock Royalty” »
You can’t miss a Panos Yiapanis photograph. Since beginning his career in the late nineties—working alongside photographer Corinne Day—the 38-year-old stylist has honed a dark, gritty, raw-to-the-bone aesthetic that is distinctly his own. His particular vision has led to a longstanding creative relationship with Rick Owens, as well as countless spreads in such magazines as i-D, W, and Vogue Italia shot by the likes of Steven Meisel, Inez & Vinoodh, and Mert & Marcus. To add to his accomplishments, last week, Katie Grand tapped him to become Love‘s fashion director-at-large. Here, Yiapanis talks to Style.com about the new gig, the state of fashion, and staying true to his look.
Why did now feel like the right time to join a magazine?
I feel like I’ve come full circle in terms of what I do. I’ve kind of been nomadic, which is putting it nicely. I’ve been a gypsy, going from one magazine to another. I feel like I’m back to where I was aesthetically when I first started out in terms of what I want to say, so having this position now gives me a new way of conveying that message. When I first started out, a lot of what I did was very personal and I had evolved away from doing that. People would say, “Well, maybe that’s a little too creative for us,” so I started to clean up what I did, which didn ‘t work for me. I’m happier doing what I enjoy, so it felt right to go back to my messier aesthetic.
How do you balance art and commerciality?
I don’t think you have to. I always argue that the best results are when both of them are at their height. I always yap about the nineties, when brands were willing to put out campaigns that captured the spirit of the brand as opposed to the product. That seems to have gotten lost somewhere along the way. So I don’t think creativity and commercialism are mutually exclusive. I honestly think they’re best when they both collide. But that doesn’t seem to be a thought that’s shared widely right now.
Your aesthetic is usually described as dark and moody. Do you feel that’s accurate?
It’s funny because when the Love announcement was made, I saw this tweet that said, “Love just got darker.” And I don’t know if that’s necessarily true; maybe I just got a bit brighter. There is a darkness to what I do, but it’s never macabre or unpleasant and I always try to adapt to the situation. The clients I’ve worked with vary from pure brands like Calvin to flashy brands like Cavalli. And I enjoy that diversity. I enjoy sitting in a room full of embroidery and fur and gold trimmings one day, and then going into a different setting the following day where it’s all about stripping things away. Love is a very positive publication. So on the one hand, it kind of works to go against that and give it another voice, but at the same time, I’m not going in there to paint the walls black. Continue Reading “Back to the Dark Side: Panos Yiapanis on Love and His Creative Evolution” »