Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Accessories Diary: The Hat Luncheon

The hats commanded accessories of their own — the always creative Marilyn Kirschner carried an Alice & Olivia bag.
The Hat Luncheon
By Alison Minton

The Thirty-fourth annual Frederick Law Olmsted Awards luncheon
took place last Wednesday, May 4th with nearly 1300 of New York’s most social belles donning hats and parading into Central Park to show them off. Although the weather was more like March then May, attendees arrived in Springtime finery fit for an old fashioned Easter parade. Most ladies return year after year for this special luncheon so the drill is old hat to them, but their creativity and imagination are renewed each season with a magnificent display of colorful hats and they inspire the new generation to continue the tradition of supporting the Women’s Committee of Central Park Conservancy with a millinery fashion show.

Familiar faces like Doug Blonsky, Alexandra Lebenthal and Martha Stewart celebrated with newbies like Meera Gandhi and Alexandrine Content, who was attending for the first time with her mom, milliner Tracy Young.
Doug Blonsky, President & CEO Central Park Administrator, surrounded by a harem of hats, wore his trademark manly baseball cap.
Alexandra Lebenthal wore a feathery pink Eric Javits hat.
Martha Stewart kept it simple with a natural straw hat.
Meera Gandhi got her hat in England. Alexandrine Content is a part time intern in her mom's (Tracy Young) millinery shop Millinery Treasures.
And speaking of Tracy, last week I featured the step by step process that went into making my hat and for readers who were not at the luncheon to see it, it’s time for the big reveal.
My Millinery Treasures hat.
Me and Tracy Young, who made my hat.
With such a fabulous hat, I was motivated to put together a head-to-toe ensemble of florals by adding a pin and bag that repeated the yellow floral theme of my hat.
I stuck yellow tulips into a vintage wicker parasol shaped bag. My Oscar de la Renta flower pin.
And, I wasn’t the only one. Fe Fendi, Di Mondo and Denise Hurley were visions of floricultural splendor as well. No matter the theme so many of the ladies curated outfits fit for a magazine cover.
Clockwise from above: Fe Fendi and Kathleen Giordano, holding my tulip adorned bag; Fe's bag was a bouquet of floral appliques; Fe's matching shoes were also by Fendi, of course.
Di Mondo's outfit was a Gucci garden topped of by an Eric Javits fez decorated with flowers and a bird.
Denise Hurley's hat and necklace were all floral ...
... and her ring was a little bird.
Amy Fine Collins wowed in the feminine menswear of a pastel color blocked seersucker pantsuit with a necktie hat, Alyson Cafiero channeled a woodland theme in a deep green floral dress and green shoes with a walnut bag and other accessories in shades of earth, and the aforementioned Tracy Young cut a festive swath in a candy apple red coat, pastry fascinator, and accessories in bon bon bright colors and geometric patterns.
Amy Fine Collins wore a Thom Browne tie hat. Amy's Thom Browne ensemble was a nod to menswear with a seersucker suit & tie hat, but with feminine touches like the floral appliques on her pants.
Joanne De Guardiola was sporting a Brenda Waites Bolling hat.
Alyson Cafiero wore an Eric Javits hat ...
... carried a BUwood bag in walnut ... ... wore Van Cleef & Arpels earrings ...
... and Malone Souliers shoes.
Milliner Tracy Young made her own hat and paired it with a Roger Vivier multi-colored clutch bag and matching Vivier shoes.
Tracy's cream puff hat looked good enough to eat!
As always, some of the ladies wore novelty hats that they had made or purchased. The designs were as limitless as their imaginations. Carole McDermott wore a mini replica of Belevedere Castle, Joyce Fitzsimons’ chapeau was made from newspapers and magazines, Deborah Roberts’ hat was a tea pot and Fiona Simmonds’ was a tea cup overflowing with roses.
Carole McDermott's self made hat was an ode to Central Park. The centerpiece was Belevedere Castle and on the side ...
... a reminder to adopt a bench.
Joyce Fitzsimons' hat was made from newspapers and magazines.
Deborah Roberts spouted praise for her Christine A. Moore tea pot hat.
Fiona Simmonds' beautiful tea cup hat by Dora Marra was stuffed full of colorful flowers.
The majority of hats, including those worn by Gillian Miniter, Yaz Hernandez, Sharon Jacob and Susan Frehse, were decorated with flowers, which is only natural given the luncheon’s location. Some were more headpiece than hat, but equally lovely with every shade and shape of blossom imaginable and more than a few had birds and bees playing peek-a-boo around the posies.
Gillian Miniter wore an Eric Javits floral headpiece.
Yaz Hernandez wore an Anilu Oms floral hat.
Sharon Jacob's Kokin hat was a bouquet of daisies ...
... and a bee to pollinate them!
Susan Frehse made her own floral headpiece from scratch.
Every year many of the milliners whose hats are represented attend as well. During the reception I ran into millinery celebrity Suzanne Newman, whose well known shop, is a hat paradise in the East 60s. I asked her how many of the hats at this year’s luncheon were her creation and she estimated an impressive one hundred. That number speaks for itself. I’ve worn Suzanne’s hats at a couple of the luncheons myself. This year the lucky ladies included Wendy Carduner, Robyn Joseph, Jean Shafiroff and Whitney Mogavero.
Milliner Suzanne Newman.
Wendy Carduner's hat was by Suzanne.
Time stood still on Robyn Joseph's sensational Mad Hatter creation by Suzanne.
Close up of the clock on Robyn's hat.
Jean Shafiroff paired a Suzanne hat and Michael Kors coat both in a black and white. Whitney Mogavero's Suzanne fascinator was flowers made from shredded playing cards.
As every stylish woman knows accessories make the outfit. Hats are accessories, of course, but at this luncheon they took center stage and commanded accessories of their own. From bags to brooches to boots Karen Klopp, Lauren Day Roberts, Holly Hunt, Kathleen Giordano, Barbara McLaughlin, Joanne de Guardiola, Lucia Hwong Gordon, Martha Glass and Marilyn Kirschner chose complementary embellishments to their hats that overwhelmingly had flora and fauna motifs. And, everyone left the luncheon with one more accessory than they arrived with: a new umbrella courtesy of Wathne.
Karen Klopp carried a vintage Ferragamo bag.
Lauren Day Roberts carried a Christian Dior bag.
Holly Hunt ordered her hat from Amazon and pinned on a bee.
Kathleen Giordano wore her flowers on her Nina Ricci shoes.
Barbara McLaughlin wore floral Hunter boots to combat the rain.
Joanne de Guardiola's outfit focused on florals, including on her hand painted Lucite bag.
Lucia Hwong Gordon decorated her chartreuse jacket with a vintage alligator pin.
Martha Glass wore a pretty vintage pin.
All good things must come to an end, and alas, the luncheon only lasted a few hours, but fortunately two hat luncheon “it girls,” Kamie Lightburn and Kathy Prounis, threw an after party across the street at The Museum of the City of New York. More food, more drinks and a surprise appearance by an all male singing group, wearing hats a la the Village People, provided entertainment and a chance to connect with friends missed during the luncheon.

Melanie Seymour Holland, Deborah Royce, Jean Doyen de Montaillou, Janna Bullock and Gervaise Gerstner laughed and lounged inside the toasty warm Museum and avoided the dreary, rainy afternoon threatening to dampen the fun.
Gervaise Gerstner and Kamie Lightburn, both in Dolce & Gabbana dresses. Kamie wore a Maor Zabar carnivorous plant hat.
Kamie's unique cuffs are from a luxury boutique in the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas.
Kathy Prounis wore a Maor Zabar butterfly hat.
Melanie Seymour Holland departed from the traditional and wore a festive cowboy hat by Glamourpuss.
Janna Bullock's hat was by Philip Treacy.
Jean Doyen de Montaillou and Deborah Royce enjoyed the after party.
The thoughtful hostesses even provided brand new pairs of flip flops so guests could kick off their shoes and relax. As George Bernard Shaw said, “If a woman rebels against high heeled shoes, she should take care to do it in a very smart hat.” And so we did!
The thoughtful party favor at the after party was a pair of flip flops for our tired feet. What did you bring me, Mom? The Wathne umbrella color this year was a beautiful fuchsia pink.

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