14 posts tagged "Piers Atkinson"
“I wanted to capture the energy of childhood—when there are no rules,” offered Piers Atkinson of his Spring ’14 collection. This season, the milliner, known for his cheeky feminine toppers, designed a range of embellished girly pink, canary yellow, and lavender wares befitting any little princess. “In my story in my head, the girl is dreaming about being a pop star or a movie star—and it’s her birthday party,” Atkinson said of the range, which he’s aptly dubbed It’s MY Party. This concept is brought to life via sweet little headbands garnished with silicone and Swarovski-crystal cupcakes, a cake headpiece with a crystal strawberry on top, and a paint-splattered coned creation that looks like one of those paper party hats you got when you were a kid. Other cheerful standouts include a pink cotton baseball cap, which, topped with a bow, has an opening in the back for an eighties-style über-high ponytail; a piece that resembles a veritable explosion of cotton-candy-hued tulle; and headbands and berets with Atkinson’s signature diamanté veils, only this season they’re augmented with colorful nail decals, tiny pink bows, and—get this—googly eyes.
Atkinson did have some help conjuring this childlike whimsy. He invited two young ladies—Tui, age 12, and Miel, age 14—to visit his studio and learn about millinery. It’s these girls who star in Atkinson’s Spring ’14 Instagram campaign, which debuts exclusively here, and will be rolling out on @PiersAtkinson and @Styledotcom over the next few days. The snaps are covered with those playful virtual stickers everyone’s so fond of lately, and the designer will be handing out illustrated posters with packages of actual hat-themed stickers to those who visit his London fashion week installation at Somerset House.
“I think people tend to think about hats as a bit old-fashioned, a bit posh, a bit rich old lady. But actually, anyone who comes into my studio can put on a hat and have a good time. What I’m trying to do is express that anyone can wear a hat and enjoy herself,” explained Atkinson. As for what he dreamed about during his early years, the milliner admitted, “I wanted to be a pop star, an astronaut, and a costume designer. So I made one of them come true, in a way.”
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” »
There’s been lots of talk about the controversial practice of “peacocking” this season. But as we look back at four weeks of Fall ’13 shows with weary eyes, a few designers (and street-style stars) remind us that the f in fashion stands for fun. And perhaps embracing that with a little panache isn’t such a bad thing—particularly when it comes to novelty accessories. Take Dior, for instance: This season, Raf Simons brought a dash of wit to his slick collection by embossing boxy handbags with Warholian sketches of pointy single-soled shoes, thereby fusing two of our favorite things into one. (His raised-eyebrow sunglasses also deserve an honorable mention.) At Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld garnished his handbags with furry multicolored dice (one of which reminds us a little bit of an Angry Bird), and over at Chanel, he sent out models with mini-globe handbags and cobalt, powder-pink, mint-green, or red fur Anna Wintour bobs that looked like they were plucked from an anime cartoon. Speaking of fur, we can’t forget the giant skunk-striped mittens that turned up at Altuzarra or, for that matter, the arctic-appropriate full-length black gloves at Alexander Wang.
We also saw loads of cheeky headgear (Yazbukey‘s Plexiglas heart-and-arrow hat, Piers Atkinson‘s devil-horn cap, Meadham Kirchhoff‘s unicorns-in-love crown), jewelry (Henry Holland‘s crystal martini earrings, Lanvin‘s wildly appropriate “Help” pendants and wasp brooches, Louise Gray‘s eggbeater earrings), and miscellanea (Dsquared²‘s Sunset Boulevard-worthy extra long crystal-encrusted cigarette holders). But the sartorial satire wasn’t just on the runway. Outside the shows, Tommy Ton captured everything from skeleton gloves to Vika Gazinskaya’s scarf, which is made out of what appears to be a stuffed-animal iteration of a lemur. Sure, many of the shows were dark and somber, with their punk themes and muted palettes. But that just made the odd touch of zany all the more welcome.
I’m a history buff, so I get a kick out of being able to date the moments when things change. It’s easy in fashion, which is already glued to a calendar. Five years ago, Stephen Jones curated an exhibition devoted to hats, at the Victoria & Albert Museum. “Without that exhibition, I don’t know what the hat industry in the UK would be,” said milliner William Chambers the other day at Somerset House, where he was one of the designers in the Jones-curated Headonism initiative, a joint effort by the British Fashion Council and Royal Ascot to support the art and craft of millinery. The Royal Ascot—the most famous racing event in the equestrian calendar—is just as famous for its batty hats as it is for its horses. And the Headonists get to show their work not just during London fashion week but also to a captive audience at Ascot itself.
For a millinery master like Stephen Jones, Ascot is a major payday. He’ll make one thousand hats for race-goers. And it’s typical of the sweetest soul in fashion that he would want to share the wealth by curating something like Headonism. “There was no one to show me,” he says, “So it’s great to choose people who are really good and give them a little bit of help.”
This year, the chosen five included Piers Atkinson, already famous for ADR’s cherry headpiece. Though business has been booming for him, especially in the Far East, Atkinson is worried about the effect success might have on his creative freedom. He needn’t bother just yet. What he showed at Headonism mixed Alphonse Mucha’s art nouveau, the Manchu dynasty, a 2-D jigsaw-puzzle headdress inspired by Russian royalty, and a floor-length extravagance of ripped tulle, feathers, and fringing (above) that had Gaga written all over it.
Emma Yeo, in her first season as a hatter, laser-cut and molded wood to replicate the ethereal structure of moths’ wings (above). The technology defied comprehension. Defiance was also key to Aurora Ozma’s headgear. “Plan what you’re wearing around my hats,” said the rock ’n’ roll moll, whose quiff embodied the architectural essence of her designs. Eloise Moody’s work, the most traditional, carried a torch for her hat-wearing granddad.
“I don’t want people to turn out some old stuff I did,” said Jones as he looked around a roomful of his spiritual children. “They’re doing things I would never have thought about.” And yet they wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for him. It was a rare and generous fashion moment when Piers Atkinson said, “Stephen Jones is everything.” It truly couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.