Fascinator Fever

By Crystal Harman

I do not know about you, but I am completely captivated with the millinery fashion of England.  It is pretty much my dream to own a fascinator from England.  To give you an idea of how much I love this accessory, I have even had thoughts about requiring hats or fascinators to be worn by all my guests at my wedding one day!  When the royal wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William occurred the public was waiting in anticipation of all the different elaborate fascinators that would be chosen by the guests.  I know I was!  Hats are functional, protecting the head, while fascinators are decorative.  Fascinators give an outfit personality and it shows to the world your personal style.  Fascinators are supposed to be worn on one side of the head and tilted towards the front.  Clearly Princess Beatrice and Eugenie did not catch the memo as they wore their fascinators at the royal wedding in the center of their heads.  Not to mention the styles of their fascinators which were too distracting to be considered classy and elegant.  Fascinators have even become popular for the bride to wear in exchange for a traditional veil. 

Hats have long been used by British Royalty.  But when did the hat evolve into the fascinator? Fascinators began to make an appearance as a substitute for hats in the 18th Century.  This was due to altering attitudes of societal women based upon two major historical events, the Independence of American colonies from Britain, 1775 to 1782 and the French Revolution, 1789 to 1799.  It took a long time, before the hat began to be out of style.  With the death of Christian Dior, in 1957, hats started to be on the way out.  Before that time, there were specific regulations on when and how hats could be worn.  Hats made allusions to class, upbringing, and marital status.  Hats since 1957, have been seen as middle aged to elderly style and are typically only worn by the youth at horse racing events, weddings, and funerals. 

In recent decades, the popularity of fascinators decreased.  But in 2005, there was a resurgence of popularity, as the Duchess of Cornwall wore a fascinator at her wedding to Prince Charles.  The Queen chose a fascinator for Peter Phillips’ wedding, her grandson.  But once Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, began sporting fascinators the fascinator style has surged upwards.

Kate Middleton is a style icon.  She is a designers dream because everything she wears is instantly popular.  She carries herself with grace and elegance and often wears fascinators when she is out in the public.  Celebrities, such as Sarah Jessica Parker, have bought into the style of fascinators, inspired by Kate as well as the rest of British Royalty.  Although the mainstream consumer has no real need for an oversized fascinator, they still want to be like Kate and so they buy much smaller versions, usually a clip or a headband decorated with feathers, beads, and flowers. 

 For More Fascinating Facts:

BellaSugar. (April 29, 2011). “See Royal Wedding Hats and Fascinators.” Retrieved from http://www.bellasugar.com/Royal-Wedding-Hats-Fascinators-16113795

Catherine. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.oohlalaplume.com/history-of-fascinators.html

 “Definition and History of Fascinators.” (August 11, 2008). Retrieved from http://www.designerfascinators.com/

Shea, C. (April 25, 2011). “How to Wear a Fascinator (those fetching British hairpieces).” Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/how-to-wear-a-fascinator-those-fetching-british-headpieces/article1995772/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s