Katy Perry recently made the news and, boy, did she grab my attention. No, it wasn’t her quick divorce which had an impact on me, but her thrilling choice of head gear. Now THAT I didn’t see coming. She was resplendent, bold, different. Her gamble paid off – all eyes were on her head, not her fourth finger.
Of course, Perry isn’t the first. Lots of young starlets have recently unwittingly united in their affection for attention to the head. Blair Waldorf almost single-handed revived this movement – she spent series one and two of Gossip Girl with a constantly adorned head and rose above her co-stars in the fashion stakes as a result. Could she have snared a Bass without her winning headgear? I like to think not – the Bass is a discerning creature and probably appreciated the polish of a finished head.
Blair has lead the way for the translation of head band into a common wardrobe piece. It was around the beginning of her mane reign that I started to see it translate into real life. There were pieces being worn about the streets of London; a flower clip here, an alice band there and suddenly the head was where it was at! Weddings and parties were suddenly all the more thrilling for an inventive fascinator.
I remember finding my first Jennifer Ouellette headband in Liberty – I was thrown into paroxysms of pleasure. Having long harboured affection for this kind of decoration, I was suddenly being catered for. I have often wondered why women stopped at earrings – there is so much scope to fiddle around north of the eyebrow.
I sometimes find myself pitying men for their lack of imagination when it comes to decorating themselves. It must be frightfully boring to look in the mirror each day and know you will look the same tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that (ad infinitum), with only varying lengths of hair to excite. No wonder the poor fellas so often just descend into shabbiness after the first glow of youth. A want of inspiration is responsible for all sorts of crimes it seems, small and large.
We women may go the same way if we stop enjoying our experimental sides. One has to admire the efforts Isabella Blow made to mix it up – it really can’t have been easy to have kept that up.
Of course the royals have always firmly stuck by their guns and worn headpieces come rain or shine. It is an essential part of their wardrobe but this, sadly, hasn’t affected their creativity one iota. Poor old Middleton is so very devoted to her tame fascinators, Camilla to feathers in creamy shades. What has happened to the royals who used to pile their heads with precious stones and exotic creations?
It was a mortal wound to the cause of experimental adornment that Beatrice was so brutally criticised for the choice she made at that very public occasion last April. She really deserved a hats off, ahem, for the chutzpah it must have required to continue wearing something so very prominent after having seen the limp offerings being paraded around by other attendees.
Historically, head decoration has always been all the rage, and both real and Hollywood royalty went at it with gusto. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire was famous for it and Punch frequently mocked her for it (they must have had a field day when her high feathers caught fire on a chandelier). Lady Astor, so fastidious with her finances ordinarily, had a true weakness for hats and bought new ones wantonly. In Upper Egypt the white crown was the thing amongst kings, and Victorians thought it inconceivable that a lady of polite breeding would venture out with her head uncovered. Edwardians took to it too, and wore hats during the day and, in the evening, unearthed all sorts of treasures for the head from jewels to lace to edible fruits.
It wasn’t just the women. As I mentioned, men suffer nowadays as much as women for want of decoration. Gone are the days of the sugarloaf hat or the daring head-warmer, as sported so dashingly by the fellow above.
This is one trend I really hope does seep through and embed itself firmly in the modern day – it certainly is one of the more fun of the new fashion edicts and doesn’t involve starvation or a huge bank balance – just a touch of creativity.
‘I just love finding new ways to wear diamonds’ squealed Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes when she discovered the diamonds she was coveting ought to be worn on her platinum head. I entirely agree. Although perhaps my version won’t be diamonds, unless Father Christmas is unfathomably kind this year. I’ll settle for a crystal tiara, thank you very much. And I just love finding new ways to wear them.