What do Lady Gaga and most of the Royals have in common? A haute couture hat designer by the name of Philip Treacy. You may remember all the talk about the uncommonly strange hats that were worn at Kate Middleton's wedding - if they were more pieces of art than a typical hat, Treacy made them.
In America's 1940s and 50s, women wore hats more often than not. They were an important accessory to any dress, suit, or occasion. As style relaxed in the late 1960s and 70s, hats lost their 'everyday' status and women seemed to lose interest in hats. While I love seeing women at the Kentucky Derby in their marvelous hats, and some church-going women in their magnificent 'crowns', I can't see myself wearing them. Baseball caps, yes. And I have two fedoras that I love. Other than that, they feel too much like a costume for me to wear - yet I love seeing them on other women, and admire the pluck it takes to wear them.
But for the last 25 years, Philip Treacy has been creating, designing, and elevating the status of hats for women. Born in Ireland, he studied fashion at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. From there, he went on to the Royal College of Art in London, where he graduated with top honors in 1990.
The style editor for Tatler, Isabella Blow, is credited with giving Treacy his official start in the fashion world. He's designed for Alexander McQueen, Givenchy Haute Couture, Karl Lagerfield at Chanel, and numerous others. His designs have graced film as well, in the Harry Potter movies.
It is the photo above that probably caught the world's eye, though. Princess Beatrice, the daughter of Prince Andrew and the Duchess of York, Sarah, wore this show-stopping piece by Treacy at the Royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011. In all, Treacy designed 66 hats for individuals attending that event, but it was this one that captured all the interest - and controversy. Technically, it's called a fascinator: formal headwear worn as an alternative to a hat; usually a large decorative design attached to a band or clip.
Meanwhile, most of us can't afford a Philip Treacy piece of art as an accessory for our head. And very few of us have the occasions in life where we would need or want to wear one. But, Halloween is very near, and I'm working on my own hat - it's no Philip Treacy hat, but it's turning out very well. A bit more lace, a few more black flowers, and it will be a lot of fun to wear. And that's the point, isn't it? A hat should be fun to wear, especially for those of us who are hat-shy.
But also, there's a new book that pays delightful homage to the work of the artist whose made the old-fashioned craft of hat-making modern again: Philip Treacy: Hat Designer. It's a wonderful book - and also wonderful is a look inside Treacy's studio, here from BBC's News in a short video. You can visit his website, and follow him on Facebook.
Meanwhile, I've got to get back to my own modest little creation. So to all of you: have yourself a very Happy Halloween, filled with treats and only delightfully happy tricks!