Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm Almost Fascinating

I've been waiting for this day for years. I'm finally going to a wedding where women wear hats (and fascinators). In Canada, we're just not a hat-wearing culture - well except for tuques. That's what it is like in Canada, you don't wear hats for fashion -- sadly. Truth be told this is the real reason I moved here.

Last summer, when my friend, Gina, announced she was getting married, I was of course thrilled for her. But when she told me I would be invited, I was dancing around the cubicles at the chance of wearing a hat. Hey, I had seen the ladies at Ascot! Imagine how cool I could be and I had a full year to get it right.

Fast forward a year minus 3 days. How are my hat plans you might ask? How well do you know me and you might be able to imagine my current situation.
I'll fill in the details for those of you just getting acquainted.

It really is a long story involving the original idea of taking a milinary course and visions of creating something spectacular. Sadly, I tried to enroll in the course 4 times over 5 months and each time something came up. Now it's ...

Wedding Day minus 4 weeks:

About a month ago I was out for lunch in Primrose Hill, I went in to one of my favourite vintage stores and saw it. It was what I dreamed about for the past year. It was a perfect combination of colour and coolness factor. The clincher was that it had a little gray bird perched a top of a big pink flower. How quirky! I loved the idea. Sadly, I don't have a photo to share. I guess you have surmised that i didn't buy that PERFECT fascinator. Why? Does £150 for a flower and bird sound outrageous to you? Do you think you can be a hat-maker? Do you have visions of making it yourself?
I did.

Wedding Day minus 3 weeks:
My amazing Aunt Barb hears of the quest for the perfect hat. It's important to know that Aunt Barb is one of the most talented seamstresses you'll meet - she did make her own wedding dress. In any case, she dug in her sewing chest of goodies and about a week later I received a collection of feathers and slightly squished flowers in the mail - directly from Canada. Sadly, these ingredients (while promising) were the wrong colour to match my dress. Perhaps I can use these goodies will my next wedding. (again the difference is my Aunt=amazing seamstress; me - not even close)

Wedding Day minus 2 weeks:
I started to
get rather nervous. So, I decide eBay is the answer. I quickly find myself overwhelmed with the choice of both fascinators and notions with which to make these little babies. So, the bidding starts and as always on eBay I get carried away. By the next day, I think I have everything solved. I have bought a fascinator and if it isn't quite right I have bought 3 batches of feathers with which I can make my own (visions of being a hat-maker still dance in my head) creation.

Wedding Day minus 10 days

My eBay purchases arrive. Not good. The fascinator looks good from a distance. However, up close anyone will see
that it is lined with beads/sparkles/trimmings (whatever they are called) In real life they just add cheese factor ... so while on a white manniquin head, the fascinator looks classy in reality it looks sadly cheap. I didn't move across the ocean to the land of garden parties and the queen to look cheap. Time to move on.Plan B - The DIY Fascinator. I ordered a number of feathers in case the fascinator came up short - it did. So, I have in my possession 3 sets of feathers in search of a headpiece. Here they are .... (the costs start adding up)

It started to get very complicated. The colours are good but how do I make a fascinator that doesn't look like well as my best friend said a bunch of pipe cleaners stuck together with Elmer's Glue. Oh no. I should have listened.

Wedding Day minus 7 days
I'm out on Saturday with my cousin (she's visiting). We're in Camden market. Tons of vintage stores around. I find a very cool hat that we both think looks great on me. Grab it, buy it. No fooling around.

I modelled for J (after buying) and he made a good observation - his words: "looks cool, but it kind of feels like you should wear it to a funeral". Then the comments of my British friends start dancing in my head "don't buy the hat without the dress". It was becoming quite apparent that was good advice. These ladies have experience. What does some crazy Canuck know?

The day wears on. We end up in Marlyebone and happen on Cabbages and Frocks Outdoor Market. What luck! There is a woman selling fascinators. They have that little bit of flare that I'm looking for. I think I've found the right one. I look closer at the price tag. Oh no. If I buy this one too, I've now spent significantly more than I intended and I will have a house full of fluffy stuff for my head. Hmmm should I buy it?

Guess what? I do buy it and guess what? I still don't think I've managed to get it right. It's got some weird brown going on and the burgundy is too dark - I need light pink. Oh no.

Last stop of the day (but I'm throught buying), we wonder on to John Lewis. T wanted to buy one too. So what does she do. She buys a simple little feather number for £5. It looks fantastic in her blond upsweep. She's thrilled and I'm feeling duped.

What's the situation today?
It's Wedding Day minus 4. I have 2 fascinators - 1 superiourly cheesy, 1 with colours that are wrong, 1 hat (with a funeral veil) and about 30 pink and gray feathers. I'm considering getting out the glue gun (well actually buying 1 first is necessary) and attaching some of the gray feathers to the most recent purchase. Or maybe I should just go without ...

Perhaps this hat thing should be left to the English.


Erin said...

Okay, I hate to say, "I told you so," but SERIOUSLY: WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH YOU?????

DO NOT cobble together a DIY fascinator. JUST DON'T. By this point, you have several (piles of) stuff you can re-sell on eBay, and some spiffy photos of it. You are more than half-way there.

In the meantime, go back and get the original fascinator. Just do it.

Go to the wedding. Fascinate.

Come home. List it ALL on eBay and, whatever you earn for it all goes towards this whole debacle not being a total loss.

Next time, listen to me from the outset. I mean it: you MUST promise me that you won't gob some glue and feathers onto something and plonk it atop your head. Please. I only say this because I love you and friends don't let friends wear misbegotten craft projects. On their heads. To weddings.

Erin said...

I can't believe I forgot to mention it but, HOLY INSECT SWARM, BATMAN! That is SOME fascinator on Beatrice/Eugenie (I can't tell them apart when they are not together...)!!!!

KB said...

Okay, so after reading this post twice, I'm seriously reconsidering whether or not I have enough crafty cajones to take this one on. Still, it can't hurt to give it a go.

Also, I might be willing to take some of those feathers off your hands, as I'm trying my own craft project to make something that looks like this:

Sabrina Shoe

Anonymous said...

wow,I didn't even know what a fascinator was,but when I saw the one on the maniquen,my first reaction was I'd like to do that!And the feathers you bought look gorgeous,however,Erin is right and I live too far away to have helped
Love Ya Lise
from JR back home

Snowhite said...

I find Fascinators, simply sister has a bead store and is having special orders made for customers. Myself I am a hat person, Queen of a Red Hat group....I like them. However, my friend is not a hat person, nothing looks really great on her, so this is where a fascinator will do the trick. Recently I bought a beautiful hat (Princess Di look)...I embellished it with a lovely cream silk flower where I put in the centre Austrian crystals, then added feathers...lots of great comments from all that attended this very beautiful wedding, held outside by waters edge. The next wedding is in October and I plan on wearing a fascinator this time...both the hat and the fascinator...are black and cream. Wish I could download a picture but can't see how....

London, Ontario

Rodwellian said...

Hi Bonnie
That's cool that your sister has a bead store -- lucky you. Good luck with the wedding in October.