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The fascinator hats

Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2011, at 11:47 AM

The long awaited wedding is over at last.

Catherine and Prince William, with pomp and ceremony, were married on Friday. I agree that Catherine was stunning in her wedding gown.

But I think she could wear a gunnysack and look beautiful.

Apparently, it was essential that royalty wear hats to the ceremony. There were 36 designer hats worn by VIP ladies at the wedding. They are called fascinators.

What in the world is a fascinator hat?

According to Style and Beauty Magazine these over-the-top headpieces aren't just feathers, blooms and netting, they're a style of formal millinery that is poplular among British women. The fanciful headwear became popular in the early 20th century and is often worn to the side or the front of the forehead, making the ornate hair accessory look oddly bird-like at times. Catherine has an affinity for the headwear and has been photographed wearing fascinators in recent months.

There was an extravaganza of these standout hats among invited guests. Some of the headwear was strange and outlandish. One wonders how the hats were secured as they defied gravity while perched on the head.

Some British hat designers apparently feel that hats should be dangled precariously over the forehead.

Miriam Durantez wore an exotic red hat that couldn't be ignored, like a flashing red light.

The queen, resplendent in daffodil yellow, was more demure in a matching yellow "derby" decorated with yellow roses.

Camilla, Prince Charles's wife, wore a wide-brimmed cream-colored hat that tilted and partially hid her face. Both the Queen and Camilla wore pearls, as did many of the guests.

Carole Middleton, Catherine's mother, wore a large brimmed white hat, tilted to the side, with a large bow in front.

Tara-Palmer-Tomlinson's hat was fashioned with long feathers topped with a centerpiece of oversized pink and purple flowers.

Many hats were garish, certainly fashioned to be seen.

One pink hat, resembled a Mickey Mouse symbol, and stuck high into the sky, much like the McDonald arch.

Victoria Beckham, wearing a ponytail, sported a petite military navy pillbox hat that perched forward on her forehead. The streamers fell forward onto her face, not at the back of the hat as expected. Someone said it looked like a great hockey puck glued to her noggin.

Zara Phillips wore a huge gray hat that rose high on one side, then dipped downward, featuring a massive twirl of wide ribbon on the opposite side of her head.

Another dish-shaped blue hat with tall loops was fashioned with one side short, the other longer side angled sharply downward.

Another standout was a brilliant blue teardrop-shaped pillbox hat with a large blue centered flower. The hat dipped forward with the teardrop point resting between the eyebrows. It seemed to be suspended with no means of support. The royal blue dress was a perfect match.

Wild hats were worn by Princess Beatrice, age 22, and 21 year old Princess Eugenie, daughters of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York. Their gravity defying hats were standouts.

Princess Beatrice's flesh-colored hat was a bizarre "o" creation with a loop that stood almost a foot high. A critic said it resembled an octopus with extended tentacles.

Princess Eugenie's blue ornate feathered hat was almost as high. I wouldn't have wanted to be seated directly behind either one of them during the wedding ceremony. Their mother Fergie, shunned by the royal family, was not among the invited guests.

Remember when First Lady Jackie Kennedy wore simple pillbox hats and started a fashion?

I bought and wore a brown pillbox hat to church and kept it for years. There wasn't anything outlandish about hats in those days. They were simple, sometimes with a face veil, but hats never reached for the sky. They weren't showy.

Normally, we didn't wear hats year-round. We bought an Easter bonnet and that was about it for the year.

Actually, at the Easter service I attended last month, none of the women wore a hat.

Somewhere down the line, women stopped wearing hats except for rare occasions. At least that was true in the area where I lived.

Now that fascinator hats have made such a sensation at the royal wedding, I'm convinced this trend will extend to the United States.

I'm almost sure of it.

But I'm opting out now.

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From these hills
By Peggy Johnson
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