Sunday, May 4, 2014

Crowning Glory - The Hats of Patrick McDonald

(just a few of them)

When we heard that Patrick McDonald, the ultimate dandy, had put a selection of his amazing hats up for sale at Screaming Mimi'swell! of course we had to go and see them for ourselves. (Not in New York? You can check them out  online at 1stDibs.)  Faithful followers will recognize Screaming Mimi's as the site of several of our previous escapades (including our photo shoot last year for the Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan.) The sign outside on Lafayette Street was like a siren's song.

Here's the man himself, shown in one of the hats he's deaccessioning. (We feel comfortable using that word, even though it's used most often in connection with museum pieces.)  You'll notice it on Valerie in our opening photo, and again on Jean in the closing photo.

Hats are very delicate, so for their safety, the collection is displayed on a perch at the back of the store and out of reach of just about anyone undetermined and under six feet tall.

These two photos don't show you everything, but give you a good idea of the variety of hats on offer.

We would have loved to try all of them on, but we limited ourselves so we'd be as little trouble as possible to the very helpful store managers Melissa and Legs (yes, Legs, who could reach the hats without the assistance of a ladder).

Since we'd seen Patrick in person wearing many of the hats, it was an incredible treat to be able to examine them up close to appreciate the design and workmanship. The iconic lobster hat is a perfect blend of dandyism and surrealism a la Salvidor Dali, who famously (infamously?) added a lobster to one of the best known dresses of all time.  (You remember the Duchess of Windsor's lobster dress, right?)

Valerie got to thinking it was a Leonard Cohen kind of hat...

We started out with a bit of trepidation as the hats looked very large. But those with sizes are marked as medium, and as you can see they fit us quite well.  This visually arresting and beautifully made Anthony Peto fur felt pony print top hat is priced at $600.00

The label in this hat read Jacques Le Corre Diffusion Paris.  On the shelf, it looked like it would overwhelm the wearer.  On the head, it looked just fabulous!

Jean's tilting her head here so you can see that the black felt toque by Phillipe Model has a fabulous assymetrical peak molded into it. This hat is priced at $550.00.

This fur felt Picasso-esque hat was intriguing.  The profile and eye were embroidered on.

The moment she put it on her head, Jean became obsessed with NY milliner Rod Keenan's pink felt high peaked hat that she characterized as "Pharrell Williams meets Dudley Do-Right on Planet Pepto Bismol!". The only thing standing between her and "hat heaven"? The $1,100.00 price tag! Since we both loved it, we we both wore it, which gave us our opening and closing shots.

Dudley Do-Right, the Canadian Mountie who originally appeared on the Rocky and Bullwinkle show and then got his own show, appeared regularly on TV from 1961 to 1970. (Image from

Pharrell rocked his brown Vivienne Westwood hat at this year's Grammys, prompting lots of imitators. For the Oscar nominee luncheon (he was nominated for his song "Happy", but lost to "Let It Go" from Frozen), he wore one in grey. The brown one he supposedly wore to the Grammys recently sold on e-bay for $44,100.00!  (Image from  And what's up with the fact that both Dudley and Pharrell are making the same gesture -- pointing to the sky?

Here's the red derby, paired with red sunglasses from Screaming Mimi's extensive collection (thus the tag on the lens).  If you look carefully, you'll see there are upper and lower lenses separated by a frame through the center.  The lenses are two different colors. Designed by Paul Smith for Christy's, the gorgeous derby's price is only $350.00.

But wait!

Don't you want to see what these hats looked like on their original owner?

Here's the pink fur felt hat, worn with a shocking pink suit, white shirt, red tie and daffodil colored pocket hankie.  How many people could pull off this color combination?  How many people could even dream up this color combination?

Here's the pony print hat...

Check out the multicolored striped shirt, counterbalanced with the vegetable green tie and the (same?) yellow pocket square.

Another unique color combination that works! You'll also note that Patrick favors large statement rings.

Here's the white hat with berries from our fifth photo.  If you look, you can see red berries in his olive suit.  That's Cindy Crawford next to him, and Stephen Knoll next to her.

And here's the red derby, with the red picked up by the portfolio and the shoes, and echoed in the shirt and tie.  The white pocket handkerchief plays off the shirt.  It's all in the details, as they say.

His purple hat is also among the selection at Screaming Mimi's.  We didn't try it on, but we had to show it to you.  And look at the innovative cut on Patrick's jacket!

And to close, here we are in the red Paul Smith bowler and pink Rod Keenan Mountie hat.

What we're wearing: 

Valerie is wearing: a blue straw Eric Javits hat that you'll see another time, unlabeled blue fabric earrings, jacket by Rockmount Ranch Wear, pants by Issey Miyake, Gustav Klimt print shoes by Icon.

Jean is wearing: her new square tortoiseshell sunglasses by Celine from Selima Optique on Madison Avenue; black Kyodan jacket; black Eileen Fisher harem pants; black TUK leather creepers; earrings and gold stacking rings by Kirsten Hawthorne; vintage bakelite rings and gold rings; Alexander Wang bag.


  1. I am in hat heaven! So many beautiful shapes and color combinations! Yes, it's all in the details. And the two of you are masters in this area.

  2. You two are so much fun. I wish I had your eye because you are really masters at fashion.