Hats off: Introducing the Royal Ascot Millinery Collective

While we love shopping for fabulous frocks and playful purses for the social and style occasion that is Royal Ascot, what’s a day at the races without the perfect hat?

As Official Royal Ascot Millinery Sponsor and Style Guide Supporter, Fenwick is the only destination for hats this season.

Feast your eyes on the stunning Royal Ascot Millinery Collective, a curation of eight designs from renowned British milliners Stephen Jones, William Chambers, Philip Treacy, Rachel Trevor Morgan, Edwina Ibbotson, Laura Apsit Livens, Laura Cathcart and Harvey Santos.

With an elegant and feminine colour palette throughout, the designs represent the identity of each milliner. Read on to hear the inspiration behind the designs, head instore to see a wider selection or to visit our Ascot Millinery Roadshow which will see the Collective, as well as 15 hand-selected hats from the likes of Peter Whitely, Marzi, Hostie & Nerida Fraiman, travel to select Fenwick stores* over the coming weeks…

Stephen Jones


Inspired by his SS16 collection entitled 'The Perfect Hat For...', this romantic hat from the world-renowned Stephen Jones is aptly named 'Ascot'.

Sure to make a statement, this piece is everything we love about the style of 'The Season'.


Read Stephen Jones' tips on choosing the perfect hat and see his previous designs here.

Rachel Trevor-Morgan


As she celebrates 25 years in the millinery business, Rachel Trevor-Morgan says: “My hat for the Royal Ascot Millinery Collective is a sweeping straw hat lined with silk petals, each one hand-dyed, cut and rolled, celebrating botanical beauty, the natural world and how this has inspired milliners over the years.

She adds: “The effect of the different colour tones adds a depth and beauty to this dramatic piece, creating the ultimate in femininity.”

Lady Laura Cathcart


Coming from a racing family, Lady Laura Cathcart is perfectly suited to be part of the Royal Ascot Millinery Collective.

"The hat I've designed is inspired by my new Butterfly House collection," she says. "Decorated with red feather butterflies on a black woven straw base, it evokes the spirit of the Ascot social butterfly as well as the English summer season when Bright Young social butterflies spread their beautifully coloured wings.

"I wanted it to be feminine as well as chic and practical for watching the serious racing. Fashion, racing and glamour all come together at Royal Ascot, any society milliner's most important week of the year.”

Edwina Ibboston


Newcomer to the Millinery Collective Edwina Ibbotson says she wanted to design "a striking hat with clean lines and a touch of fun", and we think the pom-poms strike a perfect balance.

"Boaters are normally a classic shape, but I have designed this piece to look very modern for Royal Ascot 2016," she adds. 

“I am thrilled to be part of this year’s Millinery Collective for Royal Ascot, such a renowned racing week and a very important social event for milliners, it being one of the few occasions when ladies can wear a beautiful extravagant hat and not feel out of place or over dressed.”

Laura Apsit-Livens


“My signature piece is the Matador style as I love the classic shape," says Laura Apsit-Livens of her design, a timeless piece that's sure to make your race day outfit complete. 

"I wanted to have some fun with the piece for Royal Ascot to create movement and charisma with a sweetie inspired duchess satin bow."


Philip Treacy


Throw a modern twist on the drama and glamour of Royal Ascot with this design from the iconic Philip Treacy.

“This sculptured slice rises to the occasion in a rather contemporary yet feminine way," Treacy says. 


Click here to discover Treacy's tips on finding the right hat for you.

Harvy Santos


A hat "inspired by the exotic elegance and tropical vibrancy of the avian kingdom", this design from Havy Santos is perfectly reminiscent of a British summer garden.

"The hat captures the sense of birds in motion—flying, diving, and causing a commotion – and a nod to millinery history with feathers being a fundamental element for centuries," Harvy says.

“Spring is the time that birds— and people—will go dancing to court and display their finest feathers and plumage to mark a special occasion."

William Chambers


Titled 'Rose Bouquet', this design from William Chambers "mixes traditional and contemporary materials and motifs, making it the perfect Royal Ascot hat for the modern woman".

Chambers says: "It features classic silk roses set against layers of crin, which create an out-of-focus geometric effect behind. The hat is inspired by my collection Glass Gardens which followed a visit to the glass flowers exhibition in Boston, USA.”


Follow Chambers' wise words on picking a hat here.


*ASCOT Millinery Roadshow

Bentalls Kingston 11th – 17th May

Fenwick of Bond Street 19th – 22nd May

Fenwick Brent Cross 24th – 29th May

Fenwick of Bond Street – 1st June until the start of Royal Ascot


For even more style inspiration and an invitation to an exclusive in-store shopping event, head over to our Royal Ascot hub...

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By Alison Millington