Our demonstrator in May was Jean Fordham, from Newthorpe, Notts, who gave us a floral depiction of the title ‘Fascinating Hats’.
Jean is known for wearing some very elegant fascinators while demonstrating, these having become a trademark for her in recent years, so a demonstration based entirely on hats of all shapes, sizes and styles was highly apt.
Among her creations for the evening were floral arrangements portraying the work of famous fashion designers Coco Chanel and Mary Quant, both of whom began their respective clothing businesses by starting as milliners, albeit decades apart. As Jean depicted their very different styles, one traditional, one contemporary, she told us some of the history relating to the lives of these two successful women.
Obviously the person currently most associated with elegant headwear is HM The Queen, and with the Royal Wedding having taken place only a few days before our club meeting, Jean adapted her design illustrating hats worn, and handbags carried by The Queen to include plant materials in colours to match the bright lime green outfit with purple and white floral trim HM wore to the wedding.
For the men, there was an interpretation of a top hat, using white
flowers in a black velvety container to link with the tailcoat and white dress shirt traditionally worn with a ‘topper’.
Jean spoke of her deep interest in the old film, ‘In of the Sixth Happiness’, and to portray its setting in China, the evening culminated with a display set around the theme of a Chinese Mandarin cap. Each side of a large golden fan, itself decorated with flowers and birds, were two tall arrangements using white Chrysanthemums, the national flower of China. Amongst these were swirls of peacock blue organza, plus golden fir cones interspersed with foliages. The black and red Mandarin cap was placed prominently in the foreground.
However, Jean is known for her fascinators and there could not be a demonstration on hats without their inclusion. Two very contemporary woven frames were created on a metal stand, one round, the other square. In the centre of each, colourful floral designs replicated the geometric shapes indicative of the high-fashion fascinator.