Monday, 6 July 2015

Natasha at the Queen's Plate

Yesterday was the Queen's Plate, and its party within, Hats and Horseshoes. It's big, it's fun, and it's free to get in and park!

I really thought that my only presence there this year would be the piece I made for Natasha, which would have been quite fine, thank you. She had a fifties vibe in mind, in red, black and white. Not a decade I had spent much time referencing in my work, which now seems incomprehensible. It was a wonderful era for millinery. So it was good to have this challenge.

Natasha contributed lots of great thoughts on how she wanted her hat to look. She seemed pleased with the final result. She used nice adjectives and a hug. I like hugs!

I did get to go, though. It was a big surprise, since my original invitee got her dates mixed up and was going to be out of town. But my partner, the indispensable Scott, stepped up and invited me last weekend. My hero!

Shortly after we arrived, guess who we saw in line to be photographed? Natasha and her partner, Ron! Quel serendipity!

I could not have been more delighted to encounter her. I'm so happy to have contributed to her beautiful self's beautiful Queen's Plate ensemble.

Here is their official red carpet photo by Woodbine:

And here are some hat photos I took in my studio:

Red, black and white were having a bit of a moment. Right, Shaman's Ghost?

(Like last year, my millinery magnum opus for the big race happened to use the same colours as the winning horse's jockey's silks. I wonder if it will happen again next year?)

So anyway, I had one week to design and make myself a hat. And I got it done.

Scott's hat I had made before, so no panic there.

The rest of my ensemble was a result of closet shopping. Last year was so crazily windy at Woodbine Racetrack that I made sure I weighted the hem of my flared skirt, just to make sure I wasn't going to have an unwanted Marilyn Monroe moment.

And I didn't, because the wind was much less of a factor this year.

Colour was well represented, though! The scene was awash in a glorious riot of hues and tones and pigments. Intoxicating! (Not unlike the signature Blue Diamond cocktail. I recommend them.)

I spent the afternoon greeting my fellow milliners-about-town and George Brown College millinery program alumni, five of whom were competitors in this year's Millinery Design Competition. I was happy to simply be a cheerleader this year. (Competitors are invited, and rumour has it that there is a cutoff date to when you were a student. Apparently I was one too long ago now.)

The photos I took don't really do justice to this year's competition hats, so I'll borrow others' to show you the winners:

Third prize was this confection from Paddy Richardson called "At First Blush."

Second prize (for the second year in a row) went to Amparo Findlay's "Spirited Away."

And the grand prize went to Vanessa Lee Wishart's exuberant creation:

Congratulations, Vanessa, Amparo and Paddy!

Hats and Horseshoes is like a millinery Mardi Gras! I'll be back, and I hope I'll have the honour of dressing a few other heads next time. (Place your orders now. Avoid the rush!)

Here are way too many photos I took along the way. Enjoy!

The indispensable Scott Kennedy, author, gentleman, day-saver and hero. Sigh!

Handsome from every angle.

That would be me. That fifties thing is kind of catchy. And coincidental. My dress was bought ages ago and the hat was made last week to go with it.

With Northern Dancer, a big fave chez nous.

Krystle, in one of the first hats I glommed onto, a real standout. English milliner, no big shocker.

David Dunkley, QP15's official milliner, with a hat he designed made from Lego.

Me playing with Lego. They had a pixilated picture of last year's Queen's Plate winner and you could build little colour-coded squares and help put it together. I could have stayed and played for quite a while, but tore myself away after one square.

Plane! Low-flying planes descending to nearby Pearson airport are still my weird favourite things about Woodbine.

And now for some hats and people, some of whose names I know:

Anne and Julie


Liz and Jacquie, Toronto Vintage Society

Men in shorts. Trending!

LOVE this look! And the lady looks very wonderful, too.

More red, black and white moments.

Sharon and Trevor

The lady in silver (hat from Florida) was a prize winner in the Most Fashionable Lady contest after this. Can I spot 'em or what?


Tracy and Brent

And so we bid a fond farewell to this year's Hats and Horseshoes at the Queen's Plate. Can't wait to see what we'll all be wearing next year!

1 comment :

  1. Your creations look beautiful, Anne! I love Natasha's piece. Scott looks quite dapper too.
    Thank you again for your kind words and support to all of the entrants in the competition.