HATWALK: The Praise! The Sneering! The Stealing!

It’s all anyone has been talking about all week and it’s dominated the news in all media. No, not the Olympics, silly – HATWALK!

Commissioned by the Mayor of London, in partnership with BT, the British Fashion Council, the London 2012 Festival, and *coughs modestly* Grazia magazine… Hatwalk saw 21 hats by the best of UK milliners displayed on iconic statues across the capital.

The Evening Standard redubbed the sculptures ‘sta-hat-tues’ and called the project ‘a dual celebration of the capital’s heritage and its world-beating milliners’.

In fact, the millinery theme offered many, many opportunities for unforgivable puns, from the Metro’s standard-issue ‘Hat’s Amazing!’ to our very own Major himself declaring ‘you’ve got to take your hats off to London…. Our city is a melting pot of creativity.’ (and let’s not forget that once the hats will be auctioned off to raise money for the Mayor’s Fund for good causes).

‘How spectacular!’ was global blog god Perez Hilton’s nod of approval on his Coco Perez fashion site declaring Hatwalk ‘a great way to raise money and display wonderful works of art on iconic figures’.

Following the Hatwalk trail quickly became the fashion pilgrimage for the capital’s stylistas…

‏@RevivalRetro We are loving HATWALK

@oohladeda No money to take my woes away with shopping so doing the next best (even better??) thing: the London #Hatwalk

And even our visitors from abroad were digging our sense of humour…

@annie5859 You’ve got to love British eccentricity! #hatwalk

Although some were a little slower off the mark….

@eevilmidget Oh. I guess those hats on statues are real. I thought they were photoshopped.

Erm, yes.

But before long the praise was replaced by the drama, with the HuffPo the first to report that our project had gone ‘awry when two of the hats placed on London statues went missing – with one being stolen and another “disabled” by a Westminster council street warden’.

Grazia promptly issued a Hat Amnesty for the missing stolen hat; a vast bunny eared baseball cap by Bernstock Speirs (above) stolen from the statue of Williams Shakespeare in Leicester Square. #bringthebunnyback ! [update: the bunny cap remains M.I.A.]

Admittedly not everyone was quite so charmed by our fabulous initiative.

Last-time Olympic hosts Australia just didn’t get it. Fashion philistines News.com.au asked ‘Is this someone’s idea of a joke?’ and observing ‘It seems no one is immune to Olympic fever in London, not even those made of stone’. However it did note that Hatwalk ‘gave the poor statues a chance to swap pigeon poo for fancy couture’.

Well, quite.

But for our true fans, Hatwalk was a hit: including @GeorgieMHobbs , who marvelled ‘The London Hatwalk is like a mad PR idea we’d get laughed at for suggesting – but actually is awesome.’

It really was.

Thanks to everyone who helped organise the initiative, the magnificent milliners, and to all those Hatwalkers that took the time to stroll around Londontown and admire those beautiful hats.

And don’t forget, you can bid for your favourite hats with all proceeds going to the Mayor’s Fund for good causes. Watch this space for details of the auction! And that missing bunny cap…

Grazia Fashion

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