The latest installments of “The Crown,” starring Olivia Coleman as Queen Elizabeth, have been a bit dark and dour in comparison to previous story lines when the luminous Claire Foy was the British monarch.
However, floral hats in a flurry of sorbet colors did come to the rescue, providing a welcome contrast to all the gloom and doom of historic events. Many of the female characters, including Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Princess Margaret, wears them.
Since “The Crown” is meticulous about accuracy, these petal hats were designed by Christian Dior, who wanted to usher in a period of optimism following World War II. He is also the designer who famously said, “After women, flowers are the most lovely thing God has given the world.”
Guess who was the junior designer supervising the hats’ creation? Yves Saint Laurent who would later become a fashion legend like Dior.
It’s no surprise why Dior approved of these hats.
“It was Christian Dior’s goal at that time to remodel women’s bodies in the shapes of flowers,” says style/culture journalist Merle Ginsberg.“That’s what all those nipped waists and full skirts were about.’
In fact, Dior, who treasured his childhood Villa Les Rhumbs garden, considered the lily of the valley such a good luck charm that he would put them in the hems of dresses. Flowers were always a design theme in all he did and promoted – including festive hats.
“Flower hats are the ultimate in lush femininity,” says Ginsberg, noting that in England, hats remain a big part of their sartorial tradition.”
“I LOVE the hat Elizabeth wears to her jubilee with the pink petals dripping down the back. It’s a powerful reminder that even a queen can be vulnerable and girlish.”
Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz also took note of these bonnets that topped Olivia Coleman’s head even when she was in mid-scowl or confusion.
For The Cut, Singh-Kurtz interviewed Amy Roberts, the costume designer for “The Crown,” who elaborated on another aspect of why these hat added to the overall scenes.
“Coming out of the subdued, post-Second World War era was a big thing,” said Roberts. “The ’60s weren’t just about mini-skirts and free love, it was the introduction of color.”
In fact, in Jennifer Wood’s estimation, Queen Elizabeth has “donned at least 5000 different pieces of headgear since her coronation in 1952. And that’s not just for when Royal Ascot arrives. Therefore Amy Roberts will have plenty of opportunities to create more floral hat inspirations for many seasons to come. – Jill Brooke