I am definitely not a hat person, although I do love hats.  So I was happy to try on a few at the HATtitude exhibition of ArtsWestchester.  I found out that despite my short hair, there were a few I could wear with HATtitude.  Most of the try-on hats were provided by co-curator of the show Judith Schwartz, a designer of hats, as well as a collector of what is lovingly called “vintage.”  While I didn’t get to try them on, (I would have been scared to) I was quite taken by several hats that are on loan from the Duchess of Tallyrand Collection at Lyndhurst. These hats were custom made for the French Duchess by New York milliners during the 1940s – the heyday of American millinery. In fact, speaking of dutchesses, the British contributions to the art of the hat are substantial, starting with Kate Middleton, Dutchess of Cambridge, who has revived the fashion with Philip Treacy and with one of the brightest “hatiphiles,” Stephan Jones (hats for Madonna and the Spice Girls).

Alas, we didn’t get Kate, Phillip or Stephan, but we did show the creations of Anya Caliendo who apprenticed under Stephan Jones and had her own runway show at Mercedes Benz Fashion week. Her hat “Asylum,” on exhibit in HATtitude, came to us direct from a fashion shoot with Italian Vogue. Milliner Louise Green who represented in the show with five hats, two of them ladies’ top hats, comes out of the English tradition. A native of the UK, her hats embody the romance of bygone eras. She has created hats for television (Desperate Housewives, Gossip Girl), movies (The Green Hornet), and celebrity clients including Debra Messing, Paris Hilton, Eva Longoria, Carlos Santana, Jeremy Piven, and Snoop Dogg. Susan Saas (profiled in WAG) and represented in the show with four hats has designed hats for Michael Jackson and Brad Pitt….didn’t know Brad was a hat person.

Some 50 milliners are in the show including Ellen Christine Lugo-Colon, who is the go-to choice for fashion stylists and editors with more than 30 years in the industry.  Her credits include the cover of Italian Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, among others, and her celebrity clients include Emma Watson and Beyoncé. She created the Grey Goose Kentucky Derby hat worn by Rebecca Romijn. And, in case you are questioning whether milliners are artists, Ellen Christine is represented in the 2014 Whitney Biennial having recently collaborated on an interactive installation with conceptual and performance artists Ei Arakawa and Carissa Rodriguez. So put that in your hat and….

Photo: Asylum hat by Anya Caliendo

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