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Easter bonnet The Hat Shop pounds 65
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The Independent Online
This gorgeous confection of satin and feathers is actually no bigger then a child's party hat. It sits atop the head at a jaunty angle (the elastic band goes around the back of the head, not underneath the chin) and is designed as cocktail and "smart lunch" wear by milliner Amanda Keitch. You may think you can only buy this hat in one small shop in London, and you would be right. It is sold at The Hat Shop, a one-stop-Pandora's box for every kind of head-gear from wedding hats to woolly and everything in between.

However, if, like many hat wearers, you live beyond the Thames Valley, the owners of the shop, Nigel and Carol Denford, have thoughtfully brought out a mail-order catalogue, bringing their hats to the world. "Last season we sold to places in Japan and throughout America, it was the first time we had really concentrated on occasion hats, instead of our full range," says Nigel.

In the main, regular hat wearers are the fashion-conscious crowd who like to wear kangol berets or baseball caps, and it takes guts to wear anything more extravagant. But, as Nigel asserts " Most of our summer customers on the look-out for wedding and occasion wear can't wait to try on our hats, when a few years ago the ritual was seen as a boring necessity."

This hat, and the others by Keitch, are the most whimsical creations in their small but perfectly formed catalogue - with the exception of the feather headband that looks like a pair of elegant earmuffs. There are also a hat for the bride, the mother of the bride, the debutante, the socialite, the club goer, and the cigar smoker - as well a cute flowery hats, baseball and woolly numbers.

The catalogue has comprehensive advice on how to measure your head for the perfect fit: "It seems to work, very few hats are sent back," says Nigel.

This Easter Bonnet is certainly a far cry from those likely to be spotted this weekend - Blue Peter style confections of milk bottle tops, yellow fluff, polystyrene and glue - but it is certain to be noticed

To order the catalogue call 0171 836 6718, or fax 0171 240 3634.

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