Friday, April 04, 2008

Millinery: A Hat Contest

A local organization held a fund raising luncheon which was to include a silent auction, a fashion show, a bit of musical entertainment, and a hat contest.

A "Mad Hatter's Luncheon" it was entitled and I knew I didn't want to attend.
I know something about any hat event that is entitled "Mad Hatters."
It is invariably an excuse for women to go wild with glue guns, feathers, and junk from their kid's toys chest all in the name of making a funny hat.

The results inevitably is pictures in the newspaper of women looking ridiculous because they don't have the poise or self confidence to own their own beauty. Instead they make a joke of themselves, and everyone laughs at them, and then the next time someone mentions hats all that can be remembered are the ludicrous hats.

Now I am a huge fan of witty hats. Classic hat designers have always made witty interesting and stylish hats.
But trust me on this...those hats do not involve flashing lights, toy Indians and assorted garishly colored thrift shop discoveries.

I regretted that it was to be a Mad Hatter luncheon, because I really did want to go see the fashion show.

Mr. B. felt totally differently about my decision. "You must go!" he proclaimed several times as he noted announcements published in our local paper. "Get some business cards printed up, wear your Easter hat and GO!"

Laura agreed that I must go, and agreed to attend with me.

I want nothing to do with anything that makes women go out of their way to mock millinery.

But....this contest was to be judged for hats in the category of :

"Most Beautiful"
"Best Ensemble"
"Best Group"
"Most Humorous" (sigh)
"Best Theme"

So we put on our hats and went to the luncheon today.

See the winning hats below!

Best theme, third place.
Most Beautiful, Second Place
Most Beautiful, second place, another view. That is live rosemary on that hat.

Best Ensemble, first place.

Best Ensemble, second place.

The woman whose fashion collection was featured.
LOVE the hat! (She didn't compete, but obviously should have won best ensemble.)

Another peacock inspired hat...not a winner.

The highlight of the afternoon: Meeting another vintage hat collector with over 175 hats in her collection. Great classy vintage hat!
Best Theme Hat: First Place

I always wonder when ladies show up at hat events with huge hair, no hat, and then take pictures of the silliest of the hats in the room...

I also strongly disapprove of ladies who remove their hats and dump them under their chairs during lunch.
Why not kick off your shoes, peel your earrings and necklace and rings off too?
Shed all of your accessories at once and get comfy...or better yet, why not wear things that don't bother you in the first place?

Laura and I entered the Most Beautiful Hat category. We walked up to the judges for the category of Most Beautiful and Best Ensemble.
One judge (male) asked the other judge (female) if by Ensemble did they mean group.
Neither of them were sure what the term ensemble meant in this instance.

(This was my first clue that the judges were not very serious about their job.)

Since there was already a category for Best Group, I assured them that in this case it meant how well the entire outfit (hat, dress, jewelry, shoes, purse) went together.

I promise I said it with a winsome helpful tone.
I dithered about going with Best Ensemble, since my hat was made to go with my outfit.
A decision was handed down: You could only enter in one category.

One judge said to me "Nice flower. It goes with your dress."
I said "Thank you. I made the hat to go with the dress, made the flowers and the hat both. I also made my daughter's hat and flowers."

The judges said "oh."
They were both seated.
As they looked up at us standing over them, I wondered how they could possibly be judging our hats.

Laura said we both should enter Most Beautiful Hat category.
It killed me to later learn only two people entered for ensemble. I could have at least come in third!

Later in the luncheon the Master of Ceremony encouraged all the ladies who had entered the Hat Contests to be sure to let the judges know who they were in terms of "dropping names."
"Let them know if you are somebody's daughter, or have a local business, or want to bribe them."


And the winners of the MOST BEAUTIFUL HATS were...
Yes...the three hats in the picture above!

A close up of the First Place winner for the Most Beautiful Hat.

(Remember, the male judge was seated as he made his decision about the hat. See the group shot above for details!)
Yup, it was the First place award winning, picture in the newspaper flat out gorgeous...hat that won!
And she was an award winner last year too, for her hat made of fresh tulips in a flower pot, that she entitled "Pot Head."
So creative isn't she?

(Actually she is very nice, and owns a local floral shop...the flowers on the table were lovely.)

I wonder if she knows about the San Diego OTL tournament? She should think about trying out for Miss Emerson. I'd bet she'd win that too! (That's a San Diego insiders joke...)

One of the Best Groups: Black and White for a musical group. I thought they were pretty stylish.

Another winner in Theme.
Some of the sewing items had belonged to her mother.

A close up of Laura's hat. It was the hat I made to wear last Easter....
(No, I guess it really isn't that beautiful compared to the other winners.)

One of the ladies who won as part of a Best Group category. Little plastic tennis rackets are on the hat...the ladies all play tennis together. A hat that is clearly worthy of an award don't you think???

I did think it was cute that group of tennis jocks even entered the contest actually. The whole group got their picture taken for the newspaper.

After the luncheon was over Laura and I walked back out to the parking lot to leave. Along the side walk were these beautiful flowers.
Three gentlemen who were leaving the golf course on the grounds walked across our path.
"Oh, beautiful Southern Belles" one man said as he tipped his hat at us.
What can I say?
I handed my business card to the hat collector and the lady who presented the fashion show. Other than that I spent the time at the event complimenting ladies on their hats and attire, and avoiding Laura's elbow as I occasionally forgot to bite my tongue about joke hats.

One woman asked if we two were an ensemble.
I guess we were.
It just depends on which definition you use:

A unit or group of complementary parts that contribute to a single effect, especially:
A coordinated outfit or costume.
A coordinated set of furniture.
A group of musicians, singers, dancers, or actors who perform together: an improvisational theater ensemble; a woodwind ensemble.

So here's Miss Didn't Win Most Beautiful Hat.

Didn't win Miss Best Ensemble.

Not Best Group.
Not Best Ensemble, secondary definition.

All I can say is having Laura with me anywhere makes me feel like I won every prize in the universe.

Since the camera was out...You-Know-Who had to get in the act. He stood at Laura's feet trying to be the center of attention.
Boy was he surprised when she picked him up real suddenly.

She whispered something in his ear...
And gave him a kiss.
He was good and didn't even scratch her!
I think they have at last become friends.
(Special PS to KBP: Re Hat contests: I can hear you say "I told you so! all the way from DC!)


Dawn said...

I am in total disagreement with the judges!
You and Laura had the most beautiful hats in my humble opinion!

Marie Christopher said...

What a farce!

That's the main reason HHN does not do Derby Day at the racetrack any longer. They know nothing about hats - has nothing to do with talent or beauty. Shame on them! The only thing Derby Day does right about hats is have a silliest hat category - as far as I am concerned at DD for the last couple of years is they are all silly hats! The gorgeous hats are overlooked entirely.

You and Laura should have won in all categories!

Marie Christopher said...

P.S. Except "most humorous" of course.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could have been one of the judges, I'm sure there would have been very different winners. You both are winners in my book. Tiggy too. you both looked beautiful!!! Love, momS

L&D said...

Super great post.
I liked the whimsical feel to it.
Your hats were lovely. Some of the others, ahem, are not quite my taste....but I'm no expert! Glad you got to spend a lovely day with your girl.

Lovella ♥ said...

Okay, who were these judges? How unbeliveable was their critique. I would have voted you best in beautiful duo and beautiful hat and beautiful ensemble. What a blessing to have your Laura.
You really do win.

Miss Janey said...

"It is invariably an excuse for women to go wild with glue guns, feathers, and junk from their kid's toys chest all in the name of making a funny hat..." HAHAHA! HIlarious. And seemingly true. One could have made a Rose Parade float out of the combined materials of some of those hats. YOUR hat, and Laura's, were lovely.

Jane Carlstrom said...

Oh me, OH MY, I don't know
whether to laugh or Cry!
Am so glad you chose to go
You strutted your stuff
With grace and charm
And showed that hattitude
Is more than funny attitude

Southern Belle, that fits so well
Jill and Laura both looked swell.

I do think you hit it so right, many women do not know about or feel comfortable "dressed" and getting the laugh at least makes it easier to take when they do not "win"

My suspicion is that many were quietly impressed with your style and grace. By going you may have helped a few to see hats in a positive and beautiful light.

Many compliments to Laura and Bernie for getting you to attend. And hugs to Laura for being such a gorgeous and wonderful mom supporter.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

I'd say Tiggie wins the prize for "Most Surprised Expression"

You and Laura look lovely in your ensembles. I wish I lived closer; I'd have gone with you (you would have had to loan me a hat however, unless I joined the black and white musical group)....just imagine, three tall women in large, lovely hats!

Trish said...

having simply no idea about Millinery I was intrigued by your post and moreover stayed because of your wonderful tongue in cheek review of today's contest. Loved the post.

Kate said...

Well, looking at the three ladies who were winners it's clear that the male judges judged by the boobs! Isn't that always the way?!? Of course, in the end they only proved themselves to be boobs especially where millinery is concerned. These contests are SO NOT about real hats. A shame. So little appreciation for the real thing. K Q;-0

Alexandra said...

Those judges have no clue! You two had the most beautiful hats!

Anonymous said...

I entirely agree with you up to the point you started sharing thoughts about other ladies' hats. I can tell many of the ladies main millinery tool is the hot glue gun. Still it seems to me you made it very personal. You are showing their faces!!! as you comment on how silly they look.
Your hats were beautiful and someone should have given some information to those judges of what a true milliner hat looks like. Your hats are definetelly made by one true milliner. Bea

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Oh dear Bea...if you will look again you will notice that all I did was identify the people who won the contest exactly as they will be identified in the newspaper. Traditionally that is considered to be a honor.
I made no editorial or negative comment about them or their hats. Perhaps your own thoughts about the hats were more critical than my own words. My comments about hats at previous Mad Hatter luncheons of past experience may or may not be applicable to this event.

You might want to go back and re-read the captions associated with the people I pictured.

Janel said...

Most Beautiful Hat? oh. my. goodness. I am almost speechless...