Thursday, April 28, 2011

Kate and William's royal wedding has sparked hat-buying furor amongst New York enthusiasts

Lynn Paik tries on a hat called The 1903 at Barbara Feinman Milllinery in the East Village.

Lynn Paik tries on a hat called The 1903 at Barbara Feinman Milllinery in the East Village.

New Yorkers have really flipped their lids over the royal wedding - they're buying up hats for the big day.

"People are willing to get up at 4 a.m. and watch the royal wedding while they are wearing hats," said Barbara Feinman, who owns Barbara Feinman Millinery in the East Village.

She has received "dozens" of orders for cocktail hats to be worn at viewing parties. Suzanne Couture Millinery on the upper East Side had an uptick in orders - including three hats for locals invited to Kate and Will's nuptials.

"They came in with their outfits, and hats were custom-made for them," said owner Suzanne Newman.

One guest opted for a classic big-brimmed hat, while another favored a whimsical topper, said Newman, who once made a hat for Princess Diana during a New York visit.

Most of her orders this week have been for young moms planning for Friday morning tea parties to chat about the pomp and pageantry.

Lynn Paik shows off the 'The Ascot,' a sinamay hat with sinamay and blue hackle feather flowers.  

"They want small, Kate-like hats. That's the fun of the event," said Newman. "It's good because it's prompted a lot of interest in hats."

Even without the royals, milliners have a busy time in the spring: Easter, the Kentucky Derby, the Central Park Conservancy luncheon and Mother's Day boost sales.

"We're slammed," cried Linda Pagan, owner of the Hat Shop in SoHo, who counts a dozen orders for viewing-party hats and one custom creation for a wedding guest.

"It's very exciting," said British-born Pagan. "They are getting in the moment."


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