1. What are the key trends and colours for this season?
In my collection the trends are ‘Hollywood Glamour’ and the colours are black, silver and dusty pink.
However in fashion today there is a sense of ‘anything goes’ so you have to follow your own instincts as far as what suits your own particular shape, age, colour and so on, but the fun thing about Ascot is working your own, individual style into the Ascot dress code. But if you want my personal advice I think that the trend for digital print is a great one to follow and it gives you lots of exciting elements to match to your hat, bag, shoes, binoculars, etc.
And remember; the neck is a very beautiful part of a woman so please pull your hair up and wear your hat into this! You will look amazing!
One lovely trend is to see designer labels at reasonable prices in collaboration with the high-street – so that is one obvious way.
Another trick is to jazz up an old favourite with a new pair of shoes or (and here comes the plug) a HAT! But the most important way to look amazing is to feel confident about yourself, walk well, stand up straight and hold your head up!
3. What trends are you expecting to see at Royal Ascot this year?
I’d like to see more wide brims on the hats – and less of the ‘saucer’ shape. Think ‘My Fair Lady’!! But I expect to see a lot of colour as this is an area where confidence is growing.
4. How do I keep my hat in place and curtsey at the same time?
Great Question! You should have an elastic that goes round the back of your head on the smaller hats that sit on top of your head, the bigger ones shouldn't fall off if they fit properly, but you can always add in a small comb or sew in tiny loops to the inside of the hat and use hairgrips – but my honest suggestion is to practice your curtsey as the body should dip but the ladies head only bows forward a tiny bit while the back stays upright! (imagine you are wearing a corset).
5. What style of hat suits a bigger head and hair?
I always think that it is more the whole body shape rather than the actual head size. Shorter ladies will disappear under a huge brim, broad ladies look broader in a small percher hat – so look at your whole silhouette.
6. Is it best to match your hat to your dress or vice versa?
Most of my private clients ask me to match a hat to a dress they have, however one customer recently bought a hat and said she would go and find the dress to match! I would say that if either a hat or a dress grabs you then start with that and then go on a hunt for the rest of your outfit.
VERY important! I hadn't been until I was lucky enough to go on Ladies’ Day as a guest of Ascot a few years ago. I couldn't believe how many hats were there; everyone has a hat and you would feel so out of place if you were without one, although a hat is a dress requirement. I think that what might feel outrageous for a novice hat-wearer at home will suddenly feel perfect in the grounds. Some hats are wonderful, some are terrible, but that is half the fun; looking around and thinking ‘Yes!’ or ‘NO!’ but they are ALL wearing hats.
8. Where do you get inspiration for your designs from?
From everywhere, an exhibition, a conversation, lots from gardening and walks in nature. A lot from my sense of humour and a sense of ‘can I get away with this?!’ but also from the amazing women I meet. I think to myself ‘this would be amazing on Erin’ or ‘Lecia would LOVE this!’ and then I know I'm onto something.
9. How would you describe your style of hats?
Generally witty and fun, but I have made a lot of chic hats recently – does that mean I'm getting safe? I am very fussy about the line of a hat and how the hat and the trim work with each other and the human form. A hat should work with the body, not against it.
10. Finally, what are you most looking forward to at Royal Ascot 2013?
Winning a huge bet!
For more information on Piers Atkinson visit his website, or for Royal Ascot visit ascot.co.uk