Hats have had strong economic and social implications, and even if we no longer feel obliged to wear one, a hat is still a dramatic personal signature. For royalty, whose image is public property, headgear must suggest not only style and glamour but also dignity of office. In this talk, author Clair Hughes studies two hundred years of British royal hats and how they fulfil many purposes – conveying status, authority, style and military rank.
Having had a female monarch for more than twice the amount of time a king has been on the throne during the past two centuries, the monarchy has become increasingly feminised and royal women, seeking a path between the demands of fashion and historical continuity, created memorable personal images – sometimes eccentric, sometimes disastrous, but often enchanting – to which the hat was a final, distinctive flourish.
Clair Hughes’ book Hats, £25.00, published by Bloomsbury, goes further to explore the world of millinery, including iconic styles, important milliners and their place in history. Part of a series entitled Elements of Dress, Hats also discusses the etiquette behind hat wearing, the power they can instill in the wearer and the manufacturing process. Using modern and historical examples, it is a must-have book for anyone with an interest in millinery, fashion and the cultural impact of both.
Clair Hughes is an independent scholar. She previously held the position of Professor of English and American Literature at the International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan.
The event starts at 6pm with a glass of wine in the Museum foyer and opportunity to view the current exhibition. The talk follows at 6.15pm for 6.20pm in the Fashion Studio and lasts for approximately one hour including an opportunity to ask questions, followed by a book signing in the foyer. Ticket includes admission to the exhibition and guests are welcome to view this before or after the talk.
Price: £15 / £12 students. All tickets include a complimentary drink and exhibition entry.
Hats by Clair Hughes will be available for sale in the museum shop.