Heads Up: Party Hats Are Back
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There's a generally maximalist mood that's sunk into every aspect of fashion lately. We're well into the next roaring '20s, and our wardrobes are catching up to that mood: it's time to swap the sweatpants and normcore for something more fun. Sequins, silks, and bright colors are flouncing down runways and saturating streetwear scenes. Nowhere is this shift to ultraglamour made more apparent than with hats.
We let the allure of fashionable hats slip for a while, didn't we? It's impossible to blame it all on the recent fashion downtime that was (forcefully) ushered in by the multiyear-long pandemic. The glamour of hats of the 1950s and '60s dissolved over the past few decades. Hats became boring, addressing utilitarian needs only: beanies pulled down to cover chilly ears and baseball brims provided shade. Thank the Fashion Gods that we have a new generation of ultracool, ultratalented milliners that are pushing us to remember how fun it is to dress up with a party hat.
Image Source: Ruslan Baginskiy
Perhaps no one has done more to bring back statement hats than Ruslan Baginskiy. The Kyiv-based designer began his career as a stylist but, when he couldn't find any hats for his shoots, started making them himself. And let's all light a candle that Ruslan made that pivot, because the absolute magic he makes is unmistakable. Baginskiy can count the most famous, most influential artists of our time among his fans. BTS's Kim Tae-hyung, poet laureate Amanda Gorman, Miley Cyrus, Blackpink, supermodel Bella Hadid, and Cardi B are all in the #RBGang.
Baginskiy recently released a mini collection of heart-stoppingly glamorous hats. "We are all born to shine," the Sparkle Mania collection declared, "and Ruslan Baginskiy is here to give you a tool." The designer reimagined six of his signature pieces (a cowboy hat, baker-boy cap, beret, balaclava, headband, and bucket hat) in thousands of crystals. "Let's reclaim sparkle and glamor, let's be ironic enough to make it a part of our casual wardrobe," Baginskiy asks of his fans.
Here's the reason I love this capsule — and the ultraglam hat trend at large: it's purely for the aesthetic. It's all flash, no function. There's no utilitarian need that these gorgeous accessories are fulfilling. They're purely for the fun of it, to add more sparkle to the world.
In case you need more proof of how absurdly fabulous Baginskiy's Sparkle Mania capsule is: Madonna has publicly, Instagram officially, declared her love for it.
Another line heralding the return of party hats is Marianna Senchina. The Milan-based line is run by two sisters, Marianna and Natalia, and is devoted to a romantic, abundant aesthetic that has made Rihanna and Dua Lipa fans.
Image Source: Marianna Senchina
Senchina's holiday collection was full of princess-core essentials like velvet dresses, patterned tights, ruffled sleeves, and corsets adorned with delicate beading, but the star of the capsule was the headwear. The glittered and veiled hats brought the balaclava trend into the camp arena by rendering them in metallic glitter and adding a delicate, crystal-studded veil. The resulting hat is a wildly playful piece that feels both retro and futuristic at the same time.
There's another person to thank for the return of party hats: Carrie Bradshaw. The fictional fashion icon has been wearing so many fancy fascinators on the "Sex and the City" reboot "And Just Like That" lately that even "The Cut" couldn't help but wonder, "How Many Hats Does One Woman Need?" Carrie, who has been forever linked to her stalwart devotion to shoes (insert "Hello, Lover" GIF here), has suddenly developed a deep, unrelenting obsession with whimsical hats.
Image Source: HBO Max
There's an absurdly big, floppy one she unearths while rooting through the largest storage unit to ever exist in NYC, the so-tilted-it's-defying-gravity disc she wears to a funeral, a sun hat featuring a mound of pink crepe flowers to tell a (highly medicated) story about a diaphragm, a teeny-tiny pillbox with a Peter Pan feather for brunch — there have only been half a dozen episodes in the series so far, and the list of fun hats is already long.
Image Source: HBO Max
My point: none of these occasions call for jaunty headwear, and yet our Carrie persists. Why? Because absurd hats are absurdly fun, and I don't know about you, but I'm up for a party.