Call them Derby-inspired hats, noggin toppers, wearable art or pure whimsey. Horse racing and hats are a winning team. When designer Susannah Greenwood found herself “inHATuation” with the noble athletes at the Kentucky Derby, she was inspired to incorporate some finish line favorites into her collection at Chimeric Millinery.
As fashionistas everywhere turn to this weekend’s Kentucky Derby haute hats, usedview.com interviewed Greenwood.
usedview.com: Describe your hats. Or are they best called noggin toppers? Greenwood: Noggin toppers is better. They are fun, intended to bring a smile to the people around the wearer and since I don’t make any two alike, each is one-of-a-kind wearable art. They’re whimsical, silly in some cases, and require as much imagination to wear them as it takes to make them.
My hats tell a story. They’re as unique and personal as a tattoo, but you can change them with your mood and they are far less painful.
How you were inspired to fashion hats honoring Derby contenders?
Watching last year’s Kentucky Derby, I immediately fell in love with I’ll Have Another [and his drive to] not just run and race, but WIN. I wanted to honor the drive, passion, and athleticism of these athletes.
Certainly, there’s also a strong tradition of hats in the world of horse racing and the Kentucky Derby specifically is an environment where you can go as big and bold as your imagination. It’s not only acceptable but expected and praised. Beyond that, the names of the horses (always so clever and tell a story) and the individual horses personalities are so inspirational. These horses are very much like my hats, so it seemed like a perfect match.
Are they for sale?
[The Derby collection] sells from $50 -$125 plus shipping. I’m also creating clips that double as boutonnieres and clips for hat bands so the gentlemen don’t get left out of the fun, which run $15-45.
What do you love about these Derby-inspired creations?
Some of these hats ended up really resembling their horses way more than I would have thought possible and yet they still look feminine and fashionable. Coloring, and even the horse’s personality, snuck into the noggin toppers somehow, which I find to be a bit magical. I bet these horses would fully approve of their noggin toppers.
Besides watching the Kentucky Derby, what are you working on?
I’m creating some other themed series/collections including a Grape Expectations collection for wine fashionistas, and a Conservation Collection inspired by endangered species with an intent to bring an educational awareness to one’s wardrobe, and I’m beginning to find ways to “pay it (fashion) forward” with a built in charity benefactor for each hat.
Where can people find you?
Chimeric Millinery is on facebook.com/ChimericMillinery, Twitter: @CMNogginToppers and I’m available via email at ChimericMillinery (at) yahoo.com.