Crowning glory

Whether it's a small blue beret or a hat piled three feet high with fake fruit, hats are back and are back big. Though prices are steep, a couture milliner will create a unique hat for every day or special occasions. Most work by appointment only and will expect you to bring an outfit with you to the first fitting. Top designers will usually have their season's collection samples to choose from which they can personalise or adapt. Some will even make your own personal design from scratch (bring your credit cards).

Gilly Forge 14 Addison Avenue London W11 4QR. (071 603 3833) Appointment only

Gilly Forge's studio (used in the cult film Blow Up) has a large open north facing window looking out onto a flowering courtyard garden - making it light, bright and airy. Her hats, worn by the Queen of Greece, Victoria de Rotheschild and Lady Antonia Pinter, are equally light and bright, mainly fine beautiful summer straws which cost from pounds 200-pounds 300. Clients are advised to bring outfits to the first fitting, which can take up to an hour; hats take a minimum of a week to make. Samples of floppy and hard hats are on display in the showroom and can be made in any colour. Choose from names such as 'Desert', 'Barcelona' and 'Madrid'.

Herald and Heart Hatters 131 St Philip Street, London SW8 3SS. (071 627 2414) Mon-Sat 10am-5pm

Three female designers run this hugely popular hat shop in a quiet residential street in Battersea. The shop itself is a caricature Lewis Carol millinery with a workshop overhead crammed with antique blocks and shelves bulging with ribbons, braids, flowers and feathers. Strong maritime themes run through the current spring and summer collection with colours ranging from sea-spray greens and deep navys through to smooth sand, ecru and pastel shell colours. Hat designs include a mariner's Tricorne in white straw and a Mainsail Picture Hat. Others range from a flat Chinese coolie hat to the Krakatoa East of Java hat with a wide brim and volcanic crown. These hats are ready to wear. Prices start at pounds 25.

Marina Killery operates out of a showroom at a Notting Hill. (071 727 3121) Appointment only

Killery makes divine summer hats in romantic natural gauzes and soft summer shapes. Prices range from pounds 280-pounds 350, but for something truly lavish prices stretch to pounds 400. Though all kinds of samples are on display, including more structured and tailored hats, a customer can come in with a hand drawn design and have a new hat made up from scratch. The whole process, from consultation to collection, takes a fortnight. Regular customers vary from the Princess of Wales, the Dutchess of York and an array of society names to Prince, who recently had a hat designed by Marina in her New York studio to go with a particularly gaudy outfit.

Hats can be dyed any colour.

Graham Smith 22 Crawford St, London W1H 1PJ. (071 935 5626) By appointment only

Graham Smith is a hatworld heavyweight who has been 'creating' for society events for the last 30 years. 'They aren't stunt hats,' says his right hand woman Marilyn de Keyser. 'He makes beautiful hats with incredible workmanship which are always right for the individual and what she'll be wearing.' Though he is master of the structured hat, he also does wide summer hats and bridal headresses. Sample designs can be adapted to colour, size and minor alterations. Prices start at pounds 300 and hats can take up to three weeks to complete. Regular customers include Princess Margaret and Shirley Bassey. Designer Bruce Oldfield also recommends his customers to use Graham.

Philip Treacy 69 Elizabeth St, London SW1 9PJ (071 259 9605) Open Mon-Fri 10am-6pm Appointment only

Current darling of the catwalk, Treacy's hats are everywhere at the moment, adorning the heads of royals, top models and celebrity wannabees. With its gold leaf and indigo interior and pencil thin mannequins, Treacy's showroom (designed by Tom Dickson) has become a mecca for mad hatters. After an initial fitting, hats take up to three weeks to make. Samples are on show to choose from; most can be adapted to suit each customer's specific requirements. Prices start at pounds 350 and range upwards to pounds 600. Ready to order hats begin at pounds 140.

'At the moment we are using a lot of banana fibre,' says Treacy's assistant Marie-Helene. 'It's a light see-through material which we can dye in different colours.'

Clients are advised to bring outfits with them for the fitting.

(Photograph omitted)

News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

    £15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

    Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

    Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

    £18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Day In a Page

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links