People are always coming into the shop wanting to know what a fascinator is. They describe something that sits precociously on the side of the head but aren’t completely sure how to describe one. This might not be worth the effort since according to milliner-extraordinaire Philip Treacy, the era of the fascinator is over and dead. Really??
That’s a little short sighted. After all, fascinators aren’t new. They’ve been around for a few hundred years. Marie Antoinette started the fascinator trend when she added feathers and jewels to her hair. Unfortunately, we know all-too-well, what happened to her head and the fascinator trend suffered a rather-sudden-death. The trend made a come back a few decades later during the Edwardian period (1900s) but then went dormant. Another hundred years later, Catherine Middleton brought fascinators back into the spotlight.
So now that we have the ancestry, wouldn’t it be nice to know what a fascinator really is? Simply put, a fascinator is a headpiece. Most people know what a cocktail hat is. So think of a fascinator as a cocktail hat that you wear during the day. So far, so good. You can’t really define one by size. Some are small bits of fluff, while others are elaborate creations designed to make a statement.
The year 2013 seems to have marked the demise of the fascinator. Perhaps it was the notice at Ascot that fascinators were not acceptable attire for the Royal Enclosure. Or did Philip Treacy declaring that fascinators were passé have something to do with the demise? Perhaps he tried to kill the trend because the word reminds him of a dodgy sex toy? Maybe it was the flood of mass market mush, impersonating as fascinators, that killed the trend? We may never know.