As the official milliner for Chanel, Maison Michel is a beloved French brand synonymous with kind of elegant nonchalance to which us Brits can only aspire. Now, after turning heads in London and setting up shop on Burlington Arcade, the artisan hat-makers are bringing that dash of “je ne sais quoi” to the fusty, fussy racing finery with the second Maison Michel Ascot collection.
Culture Whisper was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the 50 Shades of Sky collection, which is on sale in the Burlington Arcade shop from 27 April and online from 9 May.
Inspired by the chance and changeability at the heart of the races, Creative Director Priscilla Royer has designed four new hats especially for Royal Ascot. But the timeless designs are a safe bet for more than just the races; we’ve found our style solutions for summer weddings, sunny days and garden parties.
Forget the array of fussy feathers and over-sized satellite dish brims that are fast becoming commonplace for the race. This collection commands attention through its understated elegance.
Unable to find a hat she loved on first visit to Royal Ascot, Maison Michel’s Priscilla Royer created her own. “I borrowed a masculine shaped straw hat from a friend of mine, and tore up material from the hem of the skirt I planned to wear and made up some embellishments,” she explains.
Now for the brand’s second Ascot collection, this mix of insouciance and delicate detail is recreated with the artistry of Maison Michel’s master milliners.
Traditional masculine crowns, with echoes of felted trilbies, are softened with a feminine palette of blush, pastel blue, muted emerald and cream. Pearls, flowers and lace are stitched on by hand for exquisite yet still subtle embellishment.
Embrace the SS16 trend for soft romantic shapes and chose a wavy brim with the pale pink Pierre hat and the broad-brimmed Elodie hat. Stand out among spring pastels in the soft faded emerald Henrietta hat. Or create a sleek streamlined silhouette with the Kiki hat’s simple straight brim.
A cynic (or one who's been left soggy at one too many rainy Ascots) might say that 50 shades of sky would, in an English summer, all be grey. But the name and colours of the collection are nod to the gamble that race-goers take on fine weather and a reflection of the bright open vistas of the track.
So whether it’s blue-sky thinking that leads you to the races or the storm of excitement, a Maison Michel hat will suit all 50 shades of sky and style.
A heady history of high fashion: Maison Michel's story
Maison Michel is iconic in its native Paris and has a heady history of high fashion credentials. Since it was founded in 1936 the French fashion house has been leading millinery trends and creating hats that combine craftsmanship and couture style for the world’s most luxurious labels: Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Valentino and more.
The signature aesthetic combines classic shapes, handcrafted over soft sculpted limewood, and playful, directional embellishments. Since Chanel acquired the brand in 1997, the métier’s process has remained a secret, closely guarded by the small group of specialised artisans who render each hat by hand.
Since 2006 Maison Michel has become known in its own right for ready to wear collections that refresh timeless boaters, trilbies and headpieces.
Maison Michel x Royal Ascot collection is available at Maison Michel store in London, 46 Burlington Arcade from 27 April and online from 9 May.
|What||Maison Michel: Ascot Hat Collection 2016|
|Where||Burlington Arcade, 51 Piccadilly , London, W1J 0QJ | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Green Park (underground)|
27 Apr 16 – 19 Jun 16, Available in store from 27 April and online from 9 May
|Website||Click here to shop online|