Milliner to the stars Louise Green thinks that the newly minted Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, will do for hats what Princess Diana and Joan Collins did in the 1980s: make them fun and glamorous. Green, who is British but based in Los Angeles, was in Washington for the first time recently for a trunk show at Saks Fifth Avenue where she gave sheepish shoppers pointers on choosing hats for this spring’s round of garden parties and horse races. Like shoulder pads and big hair, some things of the past can stay there, but Green says hats “are like an exclamation point” — they add instant panache while performing their most rudimentary function: protecting the face from the sun. Young celebrities like Paris Hilton and Kate Middleton are putting hats back on the map, and back on the heads of the American consumer. The hat designed by Green for Hilton’s Kentucky Derby outing in 2009 was so popular that Green was inundated with requests for ones just like it; Green also custom made a hat for Caroline Grange, one of the lucky royal wedding invitees.
Green concedes that hats can be intimidating for women, but once they decide on the right style, they will learn to wear them with confidence. When picking the right hat, proportion is key. She advises smaller women to choose a smaller brim or style, like the cloche, for example. If you have long hair like Kate Middleton and want to let it fly around in the springtime wind, the popular “fascinator” is another option — especially for those who want to avoid the much-dreaded hat hair. “She’s very pretty, and knows how to wear hats,” Green gushes about the new royal. Unlike Her Majesty and other, well, older ladies on the world stage, Kate brings freshness and some much needed revitalization to hat wearing. Green hopes that the princess will take a break from royal protocol on her honeymoon, and relax by the pool or ocean in “a simple sun hat.” As for our nation’s leaders, Green explains that she’s still holding out hope that President Obama will follow former presidents by wearing a hat to formal occasions. “He would look great in a fedora!” she says.