Published April 17, 2009
Part work of art, part camp, and all tongue in cheek, Brit Piers Atkinson‘s riotous hats are topped with Barbies and pom-poms, diamantes and quills. Although his newest millinery-collection has been touted his most wearable (previous seasons included neon, enormous crepe Mickey Mouse ears or clown-inspired balaclavas), the berets, beanies, and caps are more at home at, say, Lucky Cheng’s than used as Sunday brunch wear.
Son of a hat-maker himself, Atkinson has worked as a costume designer, publicist (with PR maven of the fringe fashion world, Mandi Lennard), fashion editor at Disorder Magazine and trend consultant before his first full collection in 2008. Collaborating with UK-brand Ashish for the runway and dressing stars like Lily Allen and Cate Blanchett for editorial, Atkinson’s hats may be club-ready, but are versatile enough to be sported by anyone who has the guts.
Currently a part of Stephen Jones’ hat anthology at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Piers Atkinson’s work unabashedly combines fashion and art, using the hat to play with silliness and melodrama. This season’s theme, titled The Princess and the Frog, perches lonely doll heads on cloches or wool caps that can be pulled down so the wearer becomes a frog. Of course, the last look of the collection features spring-action and naked Barbie and Ken posed in greenery, showing that there is nothing too over-the-top—as long as it fits on your head.
Hats: An Anthology is on view through May 31.