It’s official – ever since that July morning in 1981 when I awakened at 4 am to watch the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles – I am a Royal follower. In fact, I have been catching British Royal moments ever since. And in just two days when Prince William and Princess Kate arrive in New York City I will be there too. I am compelled to see what Kate will be wearing; she understands her personal style so well. And I love that this Royal couple are such positive British ambassadors, because as modern as they are, they are also quintessentially, British. How do I know? No one wears a fascinator like Princess Kate!
So, even though this will be a first trip to New York for Prince William and Princess Kate, it will be a first for us Americans, too; to see the best of British fashion up close and personal. A win-win, I would say. And I am fascinated by Kate’s fascinators.
A model from Philip Treacy’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jonathan Short September 16, 2012
While the fashion world moves on to Milan and Paris, something special happened in London last week that is worth mentioning: British designer and milliner Philip Treacy did something significant. After 13 years away from the runway, he returned and presented his collection at London Fashion Week featuring a cast of entirely black models. Some of us in The States know him for designing hats and fascinators for the royal family (remember Princess Beatrice’s beige “pretzel-shaped” fascinator at last year’s royal wedding?), but hopefully his intention to bring diversity to his show will lead to more equality in the world of fashion-at-large. Kenya Hunt, style director at Metro International comments: “The real sign of progress is when we begin to see black women integrated into the runway in a regular, consistent and organic way … we need to see black girls on the runway as often as we do on the street.”
I say hat’s off to Philip Treacy for making me think.
One year ago today, I awakened early to watch Prince William marry Kate Middleton. It was a beautiful wedding and I was reminded that I did the very same thing a few decades earlier, while vacationing in Canada, when I also awakened early to watch William’s mother, Lady Diana Spencer, marry Prince Charles. It is a great time for all things British. Today’s anniversary, Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebration in June, marking the 60th anniversary of the queen’s ascent to the throne, and the Summer Olympics, to be held in London in July and August.
I wonder … how does British fashion differ from American fashion? I asked two friends, one born and raised in England and one who recently vacationed in London, to help me answer the question. In general, British fashion is more whimsical and perhaps less formal and polished than American fashion. There is one big difference, however: NO ONE in England walks around in sweats and yoga pants. Brits keep their looks casual without wearing exercise wear (unless they are exercising). Of course, when the British dress up for more formal occasions, they love to wear hats and fascinators, and I have yet to see that here. I like the fashion choices Princess Catherine is making; elegant and formal when needed (especially her choice in dresses and neutral pumps), and casual chic and understated whenever possible.
“Once I read a story about a butterfly in the subway, and today, I saw one. It got on at 42nd, and off at 59th, where, I assume it was going to Bloomingdale’s to buy a hat that will turn out to be a mistake – as almost all hats are.” Kathleen Kelly, “You’ve Got Mail”
Hats and Butterflies. Both are sure signs that spring is here. I have a thing for hats; I am always trying them on when I find myself in a department store or boutique, and I imagine myself wearing one. Suddenly, a powerful feeling comes over me that I need to have that particular hat; that my life will be more exciting when I wear that hat. However, too often I have bought hats that sit in my closet, never to be worn in the outside, real world.
The other day, I tried on a straw cowboy hat at Nordstrom. It was sitting there, lonely, just near the exit, waiting to be tried on. So I obliged …