April 29, 2011

Fascinating fascinators, not all from Milan

Today is the day of the big Royal Wedding. Some people will remember it for Kate Middleton's elegant dress (a comeback for sleeves?), some will remember it for little Grace van Cutsem, who wasn't too impressed with the royal kiss, and some will remember it for the crazy hats, many of them created by milliner Philip Treacy (the occupation -- first listed in the 16th century -- was named after the city of Milan -- a place where fashionable wares for women were sold).


More precisely, decorative objects atop of ladies' heads made with feathers or beads are referred to as "fascinators" (from the Latin verb for "to enchant") or "cocktail hats." According to the OED, a fascinator was originally (in the 18th century) "a head shawl worn by women," and if we look at the creation worn by Princess Beatrice today, the word has come a long way.


(As of tonight, the Facebook group "In loving memory of the deer that gave its life for Princess Beatrice's hat" has more than 4500 fans.)

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