Turning heads

London's Royal Ascot trots out the most fashionable blooms, berets and wide brims but closer to home, local milliners show styles with a distinct Asian accent that go beyond equestrian pursuits. By May Yip

Published Fri, Jun 20, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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BLAME it yet again on Kate Middleton, the relatable trendsetter who doesn't so much as break fashion rules as quietly puts her own spin on classic favourites. Thanks to the Duchess of Cambridge, headwear has become stylish statement-makers rather than traditional accessories, fit only for royalty.

"Demand for hats has grown after the Royal Wedding," observes homegrown milliner Mandy Pan, who picked up the craft after coming across the works of Jane Taylor, the go-to milliner for the Duchess. "Many people think that you can only wear a hat to special occasions but that's nonsense. You can wear a hat anywhere. It just depends on the hat design."

Apart from major horse-racing events such as the annual Singapore Airlines International Cup, during which eye-catching hats are usually donned, an increasing number of women are sporting loud toppers for themed parties, company dinner-and-dances, and weddings. In fact, there are at least four locally based hat-makers who craft the accessories by hand - despite the less-than-mainstream appeal of headgear here.

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