16 posts tagged "Piers Atkinson"
Piers Atkinson has a flare for the dramatic, so it’s not terribly surprising that the London-based milliner likes his collections of clever bejeweled, feathered hats to tell a story. In fact, he stretches each of his plots out over three seasons because, let’s be serious, who doesn’t like a little suspense?
When we last spoke with Atkinson, he had just finished Spring ’14—i.e., chapter one of his current tale—which centered around a fabulous young birthday girl who dreamed of stardom. Now he has given us an exclusive first look at his Fall ’14 outing, and here, our little princess has grown up to become a full-blown international diva. “She’s a globe-trotting multimedia sensation who will need a hat for this, a hat for that, a hat for everything,” Atkinson told us from London. “She needs hats for all seasons because she’s jetting from Aspen to Rio de Janeiro…and it’s very much about this selfie in the red-carpet era idea, too.”
The result is a compilation of hyper-glam wares that are apropos for the step-and-repeat whatever the weather. Think wafting ostrich plumes; multicolored straw fedoras; leopard-printed everything; crystal berets; and beyond. The social media angle comes into play via toppers embellished with Swarovski crystal hashtags that read #nofilter (for the sake of irony, this one turns up on a veiled purple baseball cap), #trending, or, Atkinson’s favorite, #wokeuplikethis. The crowning jewel of the lineup, however, is a gilded leather headband garnished with two giant faux diamonds—kind of a blinged-out Minnie Mouse look, if you will. The entire Hollywood-ready outing was photographed on model Felicity Hayward, who also stars as a Marilyn Monroe-meets-Anna Nicole Smith character in Atkinson’s Fall ’14 film, which debuts below.
The new hats will be on display at Somerset House throughout London fashion week. But now that we know part two of the milliner’s narrative, we can’t help but wonder what becomes of the well-hatted pop star in the finale. “I have a vague idea,” Atkinson hinted. “I recently went to see a stage show starring Joan Collins called One Night, and it was just amazing because she did a very witty, lighthearted discussion of her career and her life. She’s a gorgeous, glamorous woman who’s really done it all,” he gushed. “So next season will be based on the ultimate diva—the woman who has all the amazing stories to tell.”
I have a borderline compulsive addiction to headwear, so you can imagine my delight when I learned that today happens to be National Hat Day (yes, there is such a thing). Seeing as spring is just around the corner, I can’t fathom a better way to celebrate the holiday than by rounding up a few of the season’s best toppers—and there were many to choose from. Carolina Herrera, for instance, sent an oversize black-and-white sun hat with artful, abstract embroidery down her Spring ’14 runway. The classic color combo and dramatic swoosh of its brim are enough to make you feel like you’re sipping rosé on the French Riviera whenever you wear it. Hussein Chalayan‘s ingenious umbrella-hat hybrids are, in my opinion, essential accessories—what better way to brave spring’s showers than with a surreal, waterproof headpiece? Gareth Pugh‘s lavender ostrich chapeau, which looks like a cross between Sam the Eagle and a beefeater’s helmet, is screaming to be worn for a night out on the town (probably not to the theater, though), and Victoria Grant’s Burnout hat—a silver beret that’s garnished with two extra-long cigarettes and golden singe marks—would make quite the conversation piece (not to mention, it would be a fabulous complement to her Velvet Smoke number, which is currently hanging on the hat tree in my bedroom). Stephen Jones’ bedazzled, feather-embellished visor is the only option for a dolled-up game of tennis, and those desiring a bit of quirky glam need look no further than Piers Atkinson’s It’s My Party collection. The milliner’s Swarovski cupcake headband and nail-art-studded hyper cherries are my personal favorites, but in the event that I need to be incognito, this veiled style with an electric-pink mustache would be just the ticket.
“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” »