Baked crown: Milliner cooks up winning hat using her oven
The Irish hat scene has progressed to a new level of innovation - with the newest trend being culinary millinery.
There were no peacock or duck feathers in Laura Hanlon's creation worn by Kilkenny midwife Sarah Cass when she won at Ladies' Day at Naas Racecourse yesterday. No straw, no silk, no twigs, no crystals.
Instead, Hanlon baked the rainbow coloured crown in her oven in Fuerty, Co Roscommon, using Hama beads she spotted with her kids.
Hanlon, who is a regular on the best-dressed circuit wearing her own hats, bought a large jar of the beads and in a technique she crafted herself, she uses oil, tinfoil and a bowl of beads and then proceeds to melt them down and then mould them into shape.
"The idea just came to me and it takes a low heat for around 20 minutes," explained Hanlon, who has been working in millinery for 10 years.
Ms Cass certainly embraced the theme of 'Breaking the Mould'. She wore the €145 crown with a €410 Rixo London 'Gio micro Tulip' dress from Brown Thomas and a Lulu Guinness bag from Kildare Village. She took home the best-dressed title and the €8,500 prize, which included an overnight stay and dinner at Palmerstown House Estate, Co Kildare, with 19 friends.