Today, as a special one off, Londoners and visitors are waking up to the capital’s most iconic statues reimagined, adorned with breathtaking, bespoke headwear that celebrates the best of British millinery talent.
As part of the visual spectacular that is HATWALK, commissioned by the Mayor of London, in partnership with BT, Grazia magazine, the British Fashion Council and the London 2012 Festival, Trafalgar Square’s most famous resident, Admiral Lord Nelson, gets a new hat for the first time in 200 years.
Lock & Co, the oldest hatters in London, established in 1676, and famed for making Nelson’s original bicorn hat, has created an updated version complete with Olympic torch as a nod to a summer like no other in this city. Nelson is one of 20 well-known statues from William Shakespeare to Winston Churchill, currently starring in the millinery extravaganza across the city.
Curated by world renowned British milliners, Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy; HATWALK
brings together 21 emerging and established designers to showcase British millinery at its
very best. Culminating in Trafalgar Square, the project celebrates London’s standing as a
global capital of millinery, but also emphasises the city’s important and rich heritage by
bringing these illustrious but sometimes overlooked statues to life in new exciting ways.
Once the fantastic display has finished all of the hats will be auctioned off to raise money for
the Mayor's Fund for good causes.
HATWALK is part of Surprises, which sees pop-up performances and once in a lifetime
experiences spring up at locations both familiar and unusual across London throughout this
summer like no other. Other Surprises include SACRILEGE – a life-sized inflatable replica
of Stonehenge by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller currently touring throughout
London and pop up Shakespeare from the Globe Theatre. The Mayor of London has
commissioned these free cultural events and activities across the capital, as part of Mayor of
London Presents, to add to the excitement of the Games and make Londoners and visitors
look at and experience the city in a different way.
Back in Trafalgar Square, Nelson’s neighbours have also been given a makeover. Philip
Treacy, best known for his catwalk collaborations with Alexander McQueen and design for
Princess Beatrice at last year’s Royal Wedding at Westminster Abbey has crowned the
British General Sir Henry Havelock with a headpiece inspired by the juxtaposition between
old and new. Whilst across the square, millinery great Stephen Jones, famous for
collaborating with international fashion houses including Versace and Jean Paul Gaultier has
restyled King George IV with a golden-domed design inspired by the luxurious Brighton
Other designers involved in HATWALK include Ian Bennett, who has most recently worked
with Angela Kelly MVO, Senior Dresser to Her Majesty The Queen on designs for Her
Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee Tour. Ian has transformed the Duke of Wellington standing
outside the Bank of England with a sculptural creation complete with trademark feathers.
Inspired by the Duke’s original bicorn hat, Ian’s creation is proudly emblazoned with the
Union Jack in homage to Britain in this monumental year.
Former millinery favourite of the Princess of Wales, John Boyd is responsible for fashioning
a new headpiece for Franklin D. Roosevelt on Bond Street. Whilst Shirley Hex, who not only
taught Philip Treacy, Stephen Jones and Ian Bennett their crafts, but has also made hats for
Her Majesty The Queen has dressed George Ehrlich’s The Young Lovers statue near St.
Paul's Cathedral as part of HATWALK.
HATWALK has also been designed to champion emerging talent. Sophie Beale, winner of
HAT FACTOR – Grazia magazine’s search to find a breakout new millinery star – has
designed a piece for British general Sir Charles Napier who also resides in Trafalgar Square.
Sophie’s creation takes as its muse the history dotted around the Square as well as historic
London and the aging rooftops across the city.
The art of millinery is one of the great British crafts and has undergone resurgence in recent
years, as British designers; including Philip Treacy and Stephen Jones continue to dominate
the catwalks on a global scale. This project provides a unique opportunity to showcase
Britain’s contribution to millinery.
Other must-see HATWALK creations springing up throughout the capital include:
• House of Flora’s shards of neon Perspex sat atop the Duke of Wellington near Hyde
• William Chambers’ ‘A Red Red Rose’ headpiece for Robert Burns (inspired by his
famous poem of the same name) on Victoria Embankment
• Noel Stewart’s fun and flamboyantly coloured turban for the dandy, Beau Brummel,
in Jermyn Street
British milliner, Stephen Jones says, “I am thrilled to be able to showcase British Millinery
during the year of the Olympics in London. Britain has long been credited as being the centre
of the modern millinery world and these hats are the work of our most celebrated and inspired
More information on HATWALK and the other amazing cultural treats taking place this
summer please visit www.molpresents/hatwalk. HATWALK gives a cultural tour of some of
the city’s most iconic landmarks and statues, with a special map produced by Grazia
magazine. For exclusive behind-the-scenes stories and details of how HATWALK got off the
ground visit www.graziadaily.co.uk/hatwalk, where you will also be able download the
Throughout the Games the public will also be able to see the complete collection of all the
hats – life-sized copies of the headwear on the statues – hosted by BT and Grazia magazine
in BT House at BT London Live between the 30th July – 12th August in London’s Hyde
Park. On 31st July Grazia magazine and BT are also hosting a fashion event in BT House,
where Grazia’s Style Director, Paula Reed and HATWALK curators Philip Treacy and
Stephen Jones will be holding a fashion talk about the project. Visit www.btlondonlive.com
Write a comment...