Not long ago this was a new word to me, and I thought I knew quite a lot about millinery. I’ve even made some period hats in my time. But Fascinator? Sounded like an intriguing man!
Since I follow the bridal and formal markets, I started seeing this term more and more over the past year or so so I decided to look into it. What’s the fascination with Fascinators? Pardon the cliche’.
Fascinators were apparently common accessories in the 18th century, but fell out of favor as fashions are wont to do. They are somewhere between a hair accessory and a hat and attach to the hair with an alligator clip, comb, headband or elastic.
They are associated with burlesque queens and showgirls, albeit in a much more showy form, although I’d call the one worn by Princess Beatrice above a bit “showy,” wouldn’t you?
Today Fascinators are making a strong comeback at weddings and formal occasions. Sarah Jessica Parker, Eva Longoria, Kate Middleton, and Carrie Underwood have all sported one now and again.
The materials used are often luscious feathers, silk flowers and beads. I’ve seen some lovely ones with vintage brooches or earrings added as focal points.
Toni Docktor aka FuchsiaWoman has some great information on her blog about Fascinator history. She’s a self publisher living in California. She says she does housework in a ballgown!
So let’s see who’s out there making them.
This Fascinator above is by anuccia of the UK. It includes jet Swarovski crystals and can be dyed to any color.
Ooh La La Plume from the UK has a pretty comprehensive history of Fascinators on her site and makes a variety of lovely designs you can view in her shop. [Ooh La La Plume "Tiffany" above]
She tells us:
“Fascinators took a bit of a tumbling decline from the 1960’s but their popularity was brought very much back into the limelight when the Duchess of Cornwall chose a Fascinator for her marriage to Prince Charles while the Queen wore a Fascinator at the wedding of her grandson Peter Phillips.”
And check out Erin Brook’s site, Seraphine, and her Fascinator history, which includes some nice historic pictures as well as pix of current celebs with their feathers showing. Erin uses lots of vintage jewels in her pieces and judging from the pix of beautiful satisfied brides, they love ‘em! She’s located in Seattle, WA. [Seraphine "Audrey" Fascinator above]
Georgina Macauley, also in the UK, has a huge selection of Fascinators on her site at hatsandfascinators.com. ["Flower Crinoline" Fascinator from Hats and Fascinators above]
Want to make your own? Here’s a delightful video from the UK that shows making a little tiny hat Fascinator in just a few minutes:
Just google “making fascinators” or similar term and you’ll finds lots of instructions. I’ve got the feathers, the combs and clips, the glue, the beads and some nifty vintage brooches and earrings I can take apart. I’m going to try some and share them in a later post. If you decide to, too, I’d love to see them!