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August 21 2014

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17 posts tagged "Piers Atkinson"

Easter Bonnets On Parade

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The Brits love their hats. But they love their Easter bonnets even more. Perhaps it stems from the fascination with the royals, whose Easter toppers always get front-page attention. Everyone’s already buzzing about what Kate Windsor et al. will be wearing at this weekend’s Easter church services. However, we can bet that the witty, whimsical, and totally outrageous hats on display at designer Fred Butler’s Easter bonnet competition last night aren’t in the running.

London talents like Piers Atkinson (left), Antipodium, Tatty Devine, Margot Bowman, Phoebe English, and Alex Noble, created wares for the event, all of which were judged by a panel that included Love magazine’s Alexander Fury and British Vogue‘s Emma Elwick-Bates. Magnificently festooned bonnets (think egg yolks, gingham, and bunny ears) made their way down a runway in the courtyard of London’s Sanderson Hotel. The spectacle was narrated by drag queen Jonny Woo (who donned a giant cherry blossom hat) and Butler manned the DJ decks.

Not surprisingly, milliner Piers Atkinson won the title of “Bonnet Master” with his “Double-Yolker Easter Egg Surprise”—a hat that depicted oversize eggs being hatched by tiny chicks. “I’m a big fan of a bit of insane millinery, and that’s really what this event ended up being about,” said Fury. “There’s always a touch of glamour and humor to Piers’ work—a whimsy combined with something a little provocative and exciting. His bonnets were hilarious. Plus, they’re in that amazing egg-yolk Louis Vuitton yellow that feels very right for spring.” Most importantly, Atkinson’s winning design best embraced the evening’s vibe—the rejuvenation of spring, the Easter spirit, and complete, wacky fun.

Photo: Oliver Rudkin

Dressing for Laughs

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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.

Photos: GoRunway

Modern Milliners Find A Mentor In Stephen Jones

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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.

Photos: Piers Atkinson—Martina Luisetti; Emma Yeo—Eamonn McCormack/ Getty Images

London Fashion Week’s Mad Hatters

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No ifs, ands, or buts about it: The Brits love their hats. And, seeing as they’re fond of supporting emerging designers, it makes sense the London fashion crew would champion bright new milliners, too. (After all, they need something to wear with their up-and-comer-designed duds.) Curated by Stephen Jones and supported by the Royal Ascot (which hosts the most hat-tastic horse race in the UK, and possibly the world), the four-year-old initiative welcomes three new milliners this season—Aurora (designed by Aurora Ozma), Emma Yeo, and Moody and Farrell (designed by Eloise Moody, whose work is pictured, left). They join veterans Piers Atkinson and William Chambers. “The Fall ’13 Headonism milliners usher in a new wave of excitement in millinery, combining London’s individuality and fine craftsmanship,” Jones told Style.com. “These three [new designers] complement perfectly the astounding talents of the witty Piers Atkinson and poetic William Chambers.” Headonism’s Fall ’13 hatters will unveil their new collections at an exhibition at Somerset House on the first day of London fashion week, which begins on February 15.

Photo: Courtesy of the British Fashion Council

Tip of the Hat

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Thanks to European labels like Saint Laurent, Acne Studios, and Costume National, hats—mainly casual versions with wide brims—are a well-established Spring ’13 trend. But here in the USA, it’s National Hat Day. And while milliners across the pond (like Stephen Jones, Philip Treacy, Piers Atkinson, and Maison Michel) get lots of love from the fashion set, we’d like to use the holiday to tip our toppers to homegrown headgear talent. Take CFDA winner Eugenia Kim, for instance. Her sweet kitten-ear felt caps were a big hit this fall, and her bright feather-embellished fedoras can be worn with most anything. Satya Twena crafts everything from easy-to-wear fedoras to out-there studded fascinators, and Jason Wu included floppy feminine hats in his debut Miss Wu collection. On the more eccentric side, we have milliner Heather Huey, whose conceptual chapeaux (left)—which range from bejeweled bunny ears to sculpted, twisted takes on more traditional styles—have appeared in magazines such as Vogue, W, and Interview . Whether or not you deem yourself a “hat person,” National Hat Day is the perfect excuse to experiment with topping off your look. And, considering each of the designers above is based in New York, you won’t have to go too far to do so.

Photo: Courtesy of www.heatherhuey.com