How many women do you see in hats nowadays? Many! Now how many ladies do you see in hats today? Fewer! So let's move on to how many hats speak to the modern lady? Even fewer! Whereas women wore hats then since they were expected to uphold a status as a respectable lady, were required to in respect to religions and needed toppers to coordinate with their gloves, shoes and handbags, it differs today. Most women wear a sophisticated hat nowadays for the chic factor, to channel their inner retro and even break down established morays of womenswear by wearing hats when and how they choose irregardless of expectations, ritual, rhyme or reason. However, far from just swaddling her head in a plastic bag, many the modern woman honors the roots of her grandmom's fashion but desires to respect and speak it through her own updated dialogue.
Modern millinery dialogue combines the classics remixed with modern materials, plays up to what we recognize as familiar and just reinterprets it for a new more liberated generation of ladies. At least this is what I saw of the Gigi Burris Millinery collection for Fall/Winter 2013. It is a very coolly designed collection of thought-provoking hats that are dusted with a bit of the unusual without skimping on any of the beauty.
Beauty today takes shape in form, proportion, ornamentation and modernity. The hats and headpieces that Ms. Burris is showcasing for Fall/Winter 2013 highlight the various ways in which a woman may maintain and heighten her beauty. Whether stallion hairs are slightly mocking the woman's own hair while simultaneously grazing the face, peacock flues and duck feathers are converging to create an avant-garde halo or silk tulle grazing the face like a mysteriously angelic caul, these hats speak a message. It's a message of empowerment and appreciation linking the simple, the primal and naturally ornate in a way to enhance and highlight that beauty which a woman naturally possesses. Simple rosettes and thorns seamlessly fashioned out of leather then adorned on headbands and a cashmere hood and beanie paying homage to the stallion through strands of hair and mane shaping have both an organic beauty and a mysterious elegance that make each piece an oddly delightful specialty item.
To hear Ms. Burris speak about her designs made me appreciate the fact that they are actually designed with respect to art, history and craft. However, what made me adore them was the fact that the little nudges and odd elements infused into the designs made them as sophisticated and worthy as any hat sitting atop a head in a Harlem church or topping that day suit at a ladies luncheon.