Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lemming Tracks: Report from the Department of Silly Hats

"Princess Beatrice and the hat that launched a Facebook page [Poll] [Updated to include, um, commentary]"
Ministry of Gossip, Los Angeles Times (April 29, 2011)

"Oh, Princess Beatrice -- the hat she presumably thought was a lovely choice for Prince William and Kate Middleton's royal wedding turned out to be a royal disaster, prompting the scorn of thousands of Facebook users. Their hate wasn't necessarily for all hats, but rather specifically for the one perched Friday on Beatrice's high-profile head.

"The 22-year-old took a risk donning headgear that many thought would be more appropriate for Lady Gaga, and the risky hat choice quickly backfired for her on Facebook. Witness the emergence of "Princess Beatrice's ridiculous Royal Wedding hat," a group dedicated to her headgear that had received more than 18,000 "likes" just hours after the ceremony at Westminster Abbey. Has any topper since Aretha Franklin's unforgettable inauguration hat seen such biting abuse?..."

Princess Beatrice is the lady in beige, with the oval-and-ribbon sculpture stuck to her forehead.

(from Ministry of Gossip, Los Angeles Times, used w/o permission)

Back to the L. A. Times op-ed:

"...Beatrice, the daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, stepped out at the fairy tale wedding in a sculptured ribbon topper made by London milliner Philip Treacy, a native of Ireland who trimmed the tops of dozens of guests at the wedding including Victoria Beckham, Zara Phillips and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

"But when the hat-crowned Beatrice and her sister Princess Eugenie, 21, emerged from their ride, one comparison rang clear: The evil 'Cinderella' stepsisters Anastasia and Drizella had arrived...."

Discussion of Princess Beatrice's headgear goes somewhat downhill from there.

Although the Lemming acknowledges that the hoop-and-ribbon arrangement might seem somewhat out of place here in Sauk Centre, Minnesota: from what has been aired and published about couture, haute and otherwise, at and around the royal wedding, Princess Beatrice's hat might be considered a tad understated, if anything.

Consider: it's beige. Symmetrical. And not even shiny.

The Lemming was impressed by the imaginative range of headgear exhibited yesterday. Many of wearable sculptures occupied significantly more volume than that beige hat. One reminded the Lemming, slightly, of the flying fried eggs in a first-season Star Trek episode. Another, of a wireless headset caught moments after catastrophic flashover. The Lemming was unable to find an online pictorial record of the latter, alas!

The Lemming is, therefore, somewhat at a loss when it comes to understanding the reaction to Princess Beatrice's hat. Particularly considering options available to someone in her position. Think of the possibilities - - -

Unique 2010 Autumn/Winter collection during London Fashion Week, February 20, 2010. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
(from Oddly Enough, Reuters, used w/o permission)

Yes: it could have been worse.

In fact, compared to her 2008 butterfly number, Princess Beatrice's hat was, in the Lemming's opinion, a study in understated elegance. Not the sort of thing one generally sees here in central Minnesota: but cultural standards seem to be different in the United Kingdom.

Clockwise from upper left: 'Fluttering in: Princess Beatrice in a spectacular hat' (MailOnline); 'Princess Beatrice and her hat for the royal wedding' (Ministry of Gossip/L. A. Times); 'April 29: Christine Peckham from London wears a fancy hat along the Royal Wedding route in London on Friday. (AP)'; 'Ministerial misstep: The wife of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg
may have gone a bit too theatrical with her attire at the royal wedding.' (SFUNZIPPED, SFGate, San Francisco Chronicle)
(Clockwise from upper left: MailOnline; Ministry of Gossip/L. A. Times; AP, via; SFUNZIPPED, SFGate, San Francisco Chronicle; used w/o permission)

For those keeping score, clockwise from upper left: Princess Beatrice, 2008; Princess Beatrice, at the 2011 royal wedding; Christine Peckham from London, along the royal wedding route in London; the wife of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, at the 2011 royal wedding.

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