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10 most memorable hats

Bowlers, fascinators and pillboxes: throughout history the hat has always been the mark of fashion’s favourite characters, whether truly eccentric or simply elegant. These are our favourites.

ANNA PIAGGI’S COLLECTION
At the time of her death in 2012, Italian fashion legend Anna Piaggi had filled her home with 804 hats, many by British milliner Stephen Jones. Piaggi favoured fruit bowls, toques, feathers and veils – anything, so long as it was as eccentric as she was.

ARETHA FRANKLIN’S CLOCHE
The hat that launched a thousand memes. After Aretha Franklin wore a sombre cloche with a rhinestoned bow to Obama’s 2012 inauguration, the hat appeared on cats and celebs across the web. But it made its maker’s career – the hat by Luke Song is now kept in the Smithsonian as a national treasure.

BOY GEORGE’S BIG HAT
When Boy George appeared on the scene in 1982, he stood for a new kind of style icon: the fashion romantic, with gender-bending makeup, hair and, of course, that big statement bowler hat, hiding a multitude of sins and inspiring many for years to come.

CHARLIE CHAPLIN’S BOWLER
Silent film star Chaplin threw together his costume for his role of the Tramp on a whim in 1914: baggy trousers, tiny jacket, walking cane and that iconic bowler hat. The hat sold for $62,500 at auction in 2012, showing how far the star had come from his famous character.

ISABELLA BLOW’S COLLECTION
England’s beloved fashion eccentric Isabella Blow was known for her hats. As muse to milliner Philip Treacy, she wore them all – from a headpiece bearing her name to a black sailing ship, a replica of an 18th century ship worn by Blow with her trademark aplomb.

JACKIE KENNEDY’S PILLBOXES
An essential part of the First Lady’s fashion during JFK’s reign, Jackie O (then Kennedy) wore her pillbox hats at a jaunty, elegant angle throughout the 1960s. Many were designed by Halston, putting the American designer on the map for years to come. 

MARLENE DIETRICH’S TOP HAT
Opting for a classic top hat and tails for her one-woman cabaret show, the glamorous Marlene Dietrich breathed new life into a hat previously reserved for the formal gent. Mixing feminine with masculine established Dietrich as a sex symbol for years to come.

PHARRELL’S BUFFALO HAT
He claims he was “just wearing a hat” to this year’s Grammys, but we think Pharrell knew what he was doing when he put on the remake of Vivienne Westwood’s outsized Buffalo hat. The jumbo piece caused a major stir for the R&B star, even racking up over 21,000 followers on its own Twitter account.

PRINCESS BEATRICE’S FASCINATOR
At the 2011 Royal Wedding, all eyes were on Princess Beatrice’s wobbly headpiece, conjuring up comparisons to octopuses and aliens. Still, it raised over £80,000 at auction for UNICEF, giving the Princess the last laugh. 

SARAH JESSICA PARKER’S PUNK HEADPIECE
Never one to shy away from an out-there headpiece, Sarah Jessica Parker knows the value of a red-carpet hat. At the 2013 Met Ball she took the punk theme to heart – and head – with an extravagant feathered mohawk by Philip Treacy.

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