Fashion notes: And the best hat award goes to …

You can't just wear any old headband or bow beret atop your groomed tresses to the Dubai World Cup.
Models from Chanel show off the season’s best headwear looks. Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images
Models from Chanel show off the season’s best headwear looks. Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

It’s that time of the year again, where dress stress settles in and hat hunting ensues – because you can’t just wear any old feather headband or bow beret atop your tresses to the Dubai World Cup.

The World Cup horse races give us an opportunity to cast aside the self-control that we use to keep our style in check. Come March 28, there’s no need to tame that fashion beast. Past years have shown us that giant lollipops, cones filled with French fries and even a statue of the Burj Al Arab serve as suitable headwear for the races, not to mention the woman who moulded her blonde hair extensions into the shape of a horse in 2012.

Now, if you’d like the focal point of your outfit to be your dress, it’s perfectly fine to limit your headgear to a simple gold-chain band or wreath of flowers. But why play it safe, when on this one day of the year, you’re given a chance to go all-out crazy with your head accessories?

Choose a hat that complements your dress. If it’s modern and simple, look for headwear that’s big and bold – think Thierry Mugler for Lady Gaga. If you’re taking a more prim and proper approach with your look, pick out a pretty little fascinator garnished with net, flowers and a feather or two, to complete your outfit. Some more contemporary hat trends of late include ears and veils – ears, as in cute animal ears, bunny- or cat-inspired, and veils of a more traditional influence, peeking out beneath subtle fascinators or top hats.

In terms of sourcing your hat for the day, contrary to popular belief, there are local options. Eve Michelle on Jumeirah Beach Road in the Magrudy shopping mall has a variety of designs that you can check out online at You can also take a trip to the Dubai Racing Club, where internationally acclaimed milliners such as Kim Fletcher are stocked. The Dubai- and Melbourne-based Karen Hamilton (050 654 4615) creates bespoke headwear especially for the races, and her selection of embellished fascinators are chic and unique. The intricate creations of Nazgul Nejmi (050 545 7895) are frequently spotted on World Cup attendees, and her turban-inspired piece won the Most Creative Hat prize in 2013. As well as all of that, Dubai’s BurJuman mall is hosting the International Millinery Exhibition until March 27, where more than 500 pieces of headwear are on display and ­available to buy.

For online shoppers who prefer to browse from the comfort of their couch and computer, there are some sought-after headpieces by Philip Treacy currently available at, while sells some of Maison Michel’s coveted lace-eared headbands.

If you’re a creative type, why not design your own avant-garde concept? Take a plastic headband and start gluing – a basket of eggs, a can of pencils or a shrub of aloe vera are designs that I don’t believe have been done yet. If I could wear anything in the world on my head for the races, I know what I’d choose in a heartbeat – that uber-cool Chanel veiled beanie adorned with pearls and chunky flowers worn on the 2015 haute couture runway. But it’s not likely I’ll be able to score one of those anytime soon, so I’ll be going with plan B – making my own.

Published: March 19, 2015 04:00 AM


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