Saturday 20 April 2019

The return of the fascinator: Ten pieces to add to your wedding guest wardrobe

The wedding headpiece is making a comeback - here's ten to try

Princess Beatrice's hat, right, came in for much criticism
Princess Beatrice's hat, right, came in for much criticism
James Corden and Julia Carey leave St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle after the wedding. Photo: Getty Images
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Guests attend the wedding of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England. Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales marries Ms. Meghan Markle in a service at St George's Chapel inside the grounds of Windsor Castle. Among the guests were 2200 members of the public, the royal family and Ms. Markle's Mother Doria Ragland. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Cressida Bonas arrives at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle before the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle (Photo by Ian West - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Jonny Wilkinson and Shelley Jenkins arrive at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 19, 2018. See PA story ROYAL Wedding. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Guests attend the wedding of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England. Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales marries Ms. Meghan Markle in a service at St George's Chapel inside the grounds of Windsor Castle. Among the guests were 2200 members of the public, the royal family and Ms. Markle's Mother Doria Ragland. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Guests attend the wedding of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England. Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales marries Ms. Meghan Markle in a service at St George's Chapel inside the grounds of Windsor Castle. Among the guests were 2200 members of the public, the royal family and Ms. Markle's Mother Doria Ragland. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
LIMA, PERU - MARCH 16: Guests leave the church after the wedding of Prince Christian of Hanover and Alessandra de Osma at Basilica San Pedro on March 16, 2018 in Lima, Peru. (Photo by Raul Sifuentes/Getty Images)

Karen Birney, THEVOW.ie

Time to raid the attic, the fascinator is back.

Or did it every really go away?

Wedding guests have been donning the whimsical headpiece for decades, but it was at the 2011 royal wedding of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton that the modern fascinator really caught people's attention.

When Princess Beatrice stepped out in a pale pink solid-squid-like statement piece a meme was born, and indeed the fashion-forward (fair to say?) piece by Irish milliner Philip Treacy made many think again about whether or not these fanciful chapeaux actually did anything for anyone (to answer that question Princess Bea's hat apparently did a lot of good for a lot of people when it was actioned off on eBay for a handsome $131,560 in aid of charity a few months later, with Bea commenting "I hope whoever wins the auction has as much fun with the hat as I have". Touché.)

However with all the pomp and ceremony surrounding more recent British royal nuptials, the fascinator is slowing clawing its way back into peoples' considerations.

Just this weekend, newlywed Meghan Markle turned heads in a china-print blue and white dress that cause yet another style stir (Was it too big? Maybe. Was she lost in it? Perhaps. Did it look like she could finally be comfortable having a three course meal and a dance afterwards? Certainly!) and when it was revealed that her headwear cost a cool €35, more opinionistas sat up to attention.

Raven fascinator, €115 from Coast
Raven fascinator, €115 from Coast
Leaf embellished veil fascinator, €9.68, asos.com
Lilac fascinator, €29.99, New Look
Phase Eight fascinator, €89.00, Debenhams
Raven fascinator, €115, Coast
Leaf and veil fascinator, €9.68, asos.com
Gia fascinator, €125, Coast
Shimmer disc fascinator, Monsoon
Gia fascinator, €125, Coast
Saucer and feather fascinator, House of Fraser
Feather fascinator, €20.00, Dunnes Stores
White mesh feather fascinator, €39.99, New Look

But while some compared the white pillbox bow hairpiece to a mesh shower pouf, others were happy to see the Duchess of Sussex giving the high street a whirl and having a bit of fun with fashion (she also gave her whtet wedding shoes another outing, only to get them stuck in the mud).

They're not for everyone, granted, but there's just something about a fascinator that elevates a chic formal frock to nuptial status. A good crown atop a formal gúna can even make one feel more regally inclined.

More importantly, fascinators are just a bit of fun. After all, in the words of Kate Spade, "playing dress up begins at five and never really ends".

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