Royal Ascot is synonymous with sartorial elegance and every year, their dress code makes it a major fashion event in its own right. With all the trends and styles from the amazing hats seen at Ascot, the members of this collaboration had plenty of material to work with. We spoke to Louise Haythornthwaite, from Alana Lily Chocolate & Cakes, leader of this collaboration, to find out more.
Tell us about your collaboration
This is a celebration of fashion at Royal Ascot. Each year, there is an array of outfits and fantastical hats. On Ladies Day itself, all eyes are focused on the best dressed and the most outrageous hats – basically anything goes, which means for this collaboration, the artists had complete full reign over the design… no limitations. The remit was simple, choose a real hat for inspiration (with permission) or design something completely from scratch.
What inspired you to do this theme?
Rebekah and myself were part of a Shoe Collaboration back in to 2015. I mentioned that I really wanted to do a hat creation as I have never done one and I had so much fun creating a shoe. Rebekah then planted the seed about Royal Ascot and we started approaching other artists who were as excited as us.
Tell us about a few of the pieces that have been made
The pieces are amazing, some are elegant, some are pretty, some are completely over the top. It’s exactly what hats at Royal Ascot are all about, expressing yourself and not being afraid to be seen. Some of the artists have used real Ascot hats for their inspiration and the hat designers have been very gracious in granting permission to replicate the designs. Others, like myself, have designed something new.
How did you decide on this group of people?
Rebekah and I both contacted people we had collaborated with before or people who had styles that would fit the theme. I wanted a group including both men and women to get all perspectives of styles and because in the collaborations I have been in so far, I have never collaborated with any of them. I contacted Dario Baragaño, Enrique Rojas, Jockan Jordan and Jonathan Theuma, who I admired and have chatted with – they all jumped at the opportunity.
Did anything go wrong?
So far, so good! The hardest part was waiting to get some of the permissions from designers. As all the members have been part of collaborations before and all seem very organised, I never envisaged anything going wrong.
If you were to do it again, what would you do differently?
Maybe change the deadline, pushing it into April instead. People always seem to duck for the line even though the deadline has been in place since last year. This is the first time I have contacted a magazine about the possibility of being included in a publication. I was unsure about when to start this part of the process, so again, make contact earlier.
If you were to do another collaboration, how should others get involved?
I like small collaborations and normally approach people I know or have worked with. They may suggest others, so I guess it’s a bit of word of mouth to get involved as you don’t really publicise a collaboration due to the surprise element.