BFC showcases “Headonism” at London Fashion Week

04 Mar '13
4 min read

The British Fashion Council has opened a show “Headonism” showcasing the newest in millinery fashion as the London College of Fashion opened “Head On” exploring the role of hats in contemporary fashion.

CMMS Studio has now found a rebirth of millinery in popular culture. Women, men, children, even animals wear hats to magnify their personality. “You Are What You Wear” when choosing a hat style. Historically, hats have been considered a part of an ensemble and in many cases social correctness required the wearing of a hat, especially in England. The recession, as a backdrop, is a part of this flourishing hat design re-birth, as headpieces have long been associated with stature. In this economic downturn hats are being worn to this effect.

Wit and whimsy set the tone for the varied looks at the fashion catwalks this year. Wildly plumed bonnets, silk turbans, veiled hats, berets, were all seen as pop culture headgear. Jaunty irreverence and spirited youthfulness defined the collections.

Unconfined by the need for neck holes and arm sleeves, milliners can express creativity with freedom as few other designers can. The inspiration can be found in the natural world (feathers), in geometry, exoticism and in history. The final product expresses the wearer’s personal style.

Bolted, the new ready-to-wear collection from Keely Hunter Millinery is an amazing line. Inspired by London street culture and a love of fluorescents and perspex, Bolted featured a range of ready to wear beanies and flat peak caps emblazoned with pop culture motifs.

According to Fashion-Era, known for historical fashion research, “Humans have covered their heads since time immemorial. Initially headwear offered protection from the elements and from injury from falling rocks, weapons or masonry. Later head coverings became symbols of status of authority. Soon after hats progressed to become not only a uniform, but also an art form.

In fashion terms, hats are a noticeable accessory because the onlooker’s attention is first drawn to the face. A hat is the most noticeable fashion item anyone can wear. The old saying goes 'if you want to get ahead and get noticed, then get a hat'. Indeed the word 'ahead' means just that one head further forward.

Millinery has existed in Britain since 1700. In English courts the term milliner was used and this was derived from the term for travelling haberdashers from Milan in Italy. These travelling sales people sold all the items necessary to dress and were called milliners. In France hats were made by hat-makers called chapeliers. Today, the term modiste is used in France. Today, technically a hat-maker makes hats for men whilst a milliner makes hats for women.

Running parallel to these hat-making arts are feather workshops or more correctly workshops called plumassiers where feathers are dyed and made into arrangements. Plumes have always been a status symbol and sign of economic stability.

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