The surprise one-day Hatwalk event saw Trafalgar Square’s Admiral Lord Nelson don a new hat for the first time in 200 years.
Lock & Co, the oldest hatters in London and famed for making Nelson’s original bicorn hat, created an updated version complete with an Olympic torch.
Nelson is one of 20 statues including William Shakespeare, the Duke of Wellington, Winston Churchill and Franklin D Roosevelt that starred in the millinery extravaganza across the city.
Hatwalk brought together 21 emerging and established hat designers. The project celebrates London’s standing as a global capital of millinery, but also emphasises the city’s important and rich heritage by bringing these statues to life in new ways.
Milliner to the stars Philip Treacy crowned British General Sir Henry Havelock with a new headpiece, whilst hat-maker Stephen Jones restyled King George IV with a golden-domed design inspired by Brighton’s Pavilion.
The event was commissioned by the Mayor of London, in partnership with BT, Grazia magazine, the British Fashion Council and the London 2012 Festival. It is part of 'Surprises', a programme that sees pop-up performances and experiences spring up at locations across London.
Boris Johnson said: "Our city is a melting pot of creativity right at the forefront of global fashion and design. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the heritage of British millinery and its contribution to our fair city than by dressing our most noble of statues, including our most heroic son, Nelson in creations dreamt up by our leading visionaries."
Paula Reed, style director at Grazia magazine, said: "This is easily the most exciting, challenging and unusual project I have ever undertaken at Grazia. We have asked almost impossible things of our milliners and at every stage have met with enthusiasm and brilliant ideas. No wonder British millinery is recognised the world over as the best."
Life-sized copies of the headwear on the statues will be on show in BT House at BT London Live in Hyde Park between 30 July and 12 August.
Photos by Getty Images.
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