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The "Ascot Hat".

Everyone knows the Ascot Races, they are as famous worldwide for their world-class racing as for the style and glamour the festival attracts. This summer I was completely honoured to have ITV presenter Charlotte Hawkins wear one of my designs on "Gold Cup", Ladies Day.

How it all came about was a

Designing the hat.

This hat came from my love of vintage and in particular the 40's and 50's. While reading and researching post-war fashions, I was drawn to the image of the "New Look", designed by Christian Dior. It was a visually stunning image, and part of Dior's post-war attempt to revive France's fashion industry. The trade-mark curvaceous silhouette where the hips were padded and waists were cinched and minimised with corsets, topped with a large brimmed hat.

This was the epitome of the feminine silhouette of the era.

The hat design was one I was drawn too and it was a design I wanted to emulate with a more modern twist. Dior's design reminded me of the hats worn by Chinese rice farmers and the 'Non la', the Vietnamese Conical hat. Thus began a little research on Asia and traditional influences. The image of the flowing orchid came to the for and the idea of a new design was born.

My design curved the base to a more rounded shape using sinamay and took on the vibrant red colour of Chinese tradition crafts. I wanted the hand-painted red orchids to be the central focus and seem to flow down the side of the hat. Unlike Dior's hat, I wanted my hat to tilt, as Frank Sinatra once sang "A hat's not a hat, til it's tilted". Thus came the new "Orchid Rouge" hat.

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