Forget Kate Middleton’s gown.
Even more exciting for fashion watchers were the wild and colorful assortment of fascinators on the heads of guests.
A cross between a hat and hair accessory, we’ve all seen them before, but stateside have simply referred to them as hats.
According to Wikipedia, “fascinator” originally referred to a fine head covering of lace or wool, but the term fell into disuse by the 1970s.
It’s since been resurrected to describe “a delicate, slightly-to-very frivolous head decoration,” these days typically embellished with feathers, flowers or beads and attached to the hair by a comb or headband. Brides can opt to wear them as an alternative to a veil or hat when paired with a nontraditional gown.
No doubt many of the hats on display at the royal wedding were the work of Philip Treacy, an Irish milliner renowned for statement-making hats that led to collaborations with fashion designers Karl Lagerfeld, Valentino and Alexander McQueen. Treacy’s special-occasion hats can start at about $400 and cost up to $10,000 for hand-finished couture designs.
Here, in the land of baseball caps and fedoras, a good fascinator is hard to find, but here are a few places to start:
» Catherine’s Closet: Home to a vast array of vintage hats in styles dating from the 1940s through today. Includes a range of hats embellished with feather, fur, straw and silk flowers, with a handful of white, cream and veiled options for brides-to-be. At 125 Merchant St. Call 521-0772.
» Nordstrom: Carries a range of jeweled, flowered, bowed and feathered headbands in its second-floor accessories department. They include Tasha “Perfect Veil” headbands ($58) comprising fabric flowers, feathers and veil, perfect for a summery cocktail party or an informal wedding.
» Shop, Bop & Grind: For those who like a taste of the unusual, this street bazaar takes place 6 to 9 p.m. every First Friday in Chaplain Lane off Bethel Street. Among the vendors are Sassy Lassy Sandra Ipo Bunnell, whose wares can also be found at Catherine’s Closet, and Catwings Couture, known for “Dangerously Cute” hair accessories and fascinators adorned with flowers, feathers, ribbons, hairy monsters, miniature skulls and skeleton hands.