Posted by Fashion Editor at Large

I love a hat. I bought one the other day with cat ears on it. It's by Marie Mercie of Paris bought at Browns Focus (see below). When I first put it on, Mary was like, "errrr...have you lost the plot?" There were sniggers from a couple of 15 year old girls, but soon enough they were asking to try it on. Five minutes later I was clucking for it to come back to me. Wearing it gave me a buzz of fashion excitement I haven't felt for a while. It reminded me that I suit hats and that wearing one can offer a different perspective on life. Every time he sees me Philip Treacy says "Melanie, you have the perfect face for a hat." I bet he says that to everyone, but still :)

Self-portrait in the car with Walter
My hat in black, from Browns

Hats are big news for Fall/Autumn 2011.  Fedoras are everywhere courtesy of Frida Giannini's stellar and mega-influential Gucci show, but "novelty" hats are really taking headgear fashion to a new place.  As such, it was interesting to note that popping up as a last minute addition to the London Fashion Week schedule on Friday evening is Headonism, the BFC initiative curated by Stephen Jones which celebrates the new wave of emerging London milliners.

The hatters invited by Mr. Jones to take part all come from the "novelty" school. They are Charlie Le Mindu, J Smith Esq, Noel Stewart and Piers Atkinson. I put the word novelty in inverted commas because, well hats in themselves are a novelty today aren't they? Not like back-in-the-day when everyone wore hats. Both Coco Chanel and Halston began their careers as milliners; such was the demand for hats for every occasion from the 1910s to the 1960s. If a hat has cat ears, is made of hair (Charlie le Mindu) or a barbie doll, it is a double novelty, but somehow this makes them easier to wear now.  Like "I know I'm wearing a hat, it's a novelty, and because it is such a novelty I'll wear one that has novelty value." It certainly seems to be working for Piers Atkinson.
Piers Atkinson's I Heart Anna hat, part of his Spring/Summer 2012 collection to be showcased this Friday night (16th September) at Headonism, curated by Stephen Jones OBE, at Somerset House

I'm something of  Piers Atkinson fan, and am looking forward to his salon show with a performance by lovely Paloma Faith next Monday evening. I also rather adore this piece from his new collection for SS12. Last season he riffed on the word "Paris." This season it's Anna. Here I leave you for a few lines of his press release, mainly because this is exactly how my brain processed the "Anna" connection... and it made me laugh.

"BUT – which Anna? Fashion’s most famous: Anna Wintour?! Or Atkinson’s muse: Dello Russo? Does the blue hint at Piaggi? Or is it the British Fashion Council’s most international of Annas; Orsini? Could he mean our very own styliste-de-jour, Anna Trevelyan? Or, most likely, is Atkinson celebrating them all?!"

Now I've taken the plunge with my Marie Mercie Paris hat, it is only a matter ot time before the Givenchy hat below comes into my possesion. And the glasses.... I love love love this!

Givenchy backstage FW11, by Catwalking.com

An evening with the milliners, hosted by the BFC and Ascot Racecourse will be held Friday 16th September from 5-7pm, in the Embankment Galleries, with a speech from Stephen Jones OBE.