August 2022

Hats off to Fashion Week

By Jennifer Wright

One of my all time favorite movies is Ninotchka. Haven’t heard of it? Don’t worry – hardly anyone has. It’s a great movie to watch if you love hats, though. It was filmed in the early 1940’s, and tells the story of a hardened communist envoy named Ninotchka (excellently played by Greta Garbo) who visits Paris for the first time. She sees a cocktail hat in a shop window and declares that a civilization which allows women to wear such frivolous things cannot be far from collapse. Needless to say, by the end of the movie, Ninotchka is wearing that very hat, and . . . well, I won’t spoil it for you.


So I was thrilled when Pamella Roland announced that her fall collection was inspired by Ninotchka! Perhaps Paris and Nicky Hilton love the movie as much as I do. They were sitting in the center of the front row, right next to Nigel Barker. Amanda Bynes was in attendance as well as Kelly Pickler of American Idol fame.


The show’s backdrop was a screen of an imperial Russian palace, and some of the elegant, almost regal styles made me think of a novel by Tolstoy. The collection wasn’t all about hats, but it did have a heavy dose of old Hollywood glitz and glamour. Pamella noted that, to some extent, she opted to forgo the elegant evening gowns for which she’s best known in favor of coats. There was a link to her gowns though – many of the coats incorporated her delicate use of chiffon (another one of her trademarks) offset by a plentiful amount of fur. And certainly, the gowns she did show were fit for a Czarina. I particularly loved this one:


Tommy Hilfiger also had a fair share of hats, though I have to admit, I didn’t love his collection quite as much as Pamella Rolland’s. The models strode boldly about in capelets, complemented by very tall, rounded, wide brimmed hats. Forgive me, Tommy Hilfiger, but I couldn’t help thinking of the man in the yellow hat from Curious George.


I did love his gowns though! Though – panic – I think there might have been a moment where one of the models stumbled. She pulled herself together incredibly quickly though, and marched on confidently in her pale pink gown. Thank goodness we avoided another interminable round of Internet and television reruns of the poor young model slipping at last week’s Herve Leger show.


She might have had extra cause to be nervous – the show was meticulously organized and the amphi-theater seating was divided into perfect sections.  Beforehand, male models dressed in Tommy Hilfiger cardigans were serving china cups filled with hot chocolate and macaroons to the guests. Perhaps he did not want to be outdone by Betsey Johnson. Given his audience I’m sure he didn’t need to worry – Selma Blair was in attendance, as was Nina Garcia.


Ninotchka herself would have grown to love Fashion Week.