World´s Most expensive Hat

Chapeau d’Amour is the world´s most expensive hat; create by our friend Louis Mariette. Although the hat was presented in 2009, we want to show you the history behind Chapeau D’Amour. Louis was approach by Harrods to design one of the most spectacular creation, with a value of $2.7 million, making it the most expensive hat in the world. Made of platinum and covered in stunning diamonds, the hat was inspired by ivy and bluebells.

The inspiration

The creative inspiration arose from a deep passion to make something unique and unusual, and to extend my imagination by using embellishments that were intriguing. It was important for me to push to the limit my skills in millinery and experimentation in the techniques used.

The Journey behind how it all happened began when a dear friend of mine, Mo Mohensen, who worked in Harrods, approached me to make something new for the launch date of the new luxury millinery and wedding department. He explained that the main sponsors were American Express Platinum card.

Immediately the vision hit me. Create a diamond hat using Platinum.

Once I contacted The Platinum Guild they were excited about the concept and told me about a rare fabric they had developed that they would be delighted to provide as a block for the base of the hat.

However, the project came with a few logistical hurdles.

The Materials

Firstly, the opening date was in approximately 2weeks and I was about to embark on a trip to my roots to Mauritius, Seychelles and the exotic Bird Island.

Secondly, the fabric was currently in Tokyo.

Undeterred I knew without doubt I had to pull this off; rising to a challenge is half the fun!

Cutting it exceptionally fine, I waited anxiously as my taxi arrived to take me to the airport, while also waiting for the courier to arrive with the fabric. All my bags and millinery equipment were ready for an immediate dash for the flight. With a minute to spare the fabric turned up and off I went; quite a journey was about to unfold!

Once I arrived on the magical Bird Island, a nature’s paradise with 100 year old tortoises and millions of migrating birds, within an emerald and turquoise ocean, the weaving began.

You can imagine the chamber maid’s expression – coming into my bungalow to find a room full of millinery equipment, an extraordinary fabric and every inch of the room covered with lady Amethyst pheasant feathers!

Sitting on the beach I hand embroidered onto the fabric. To my surprise this mesh-like fabric was easy to stitch into and a total joy to work with.

However, with the exceptionally tight deadline, I had to organise everything from this miniscule island in the vast Indian Ocean. The diamond supplier had to create special clasps that could hold the stone but be removed for insurance/security issues, the metallic floret structure had to be made and plated at the workshop and I had to organise the celebrity model, Lisa Butcher, plus her outfit, hair and make-up. All of this on a mobile phone! Forget the most expensive hat in the world, it was the most expensive mobile phone bill!

During this juggling of my holiday and millinery, the creation was shaping up.

I steamed and back-combed the giant feathers, applied a resin for the shape to be maintained and continued the embroidery from base to quills. The aim was for the whole structure design to be deconstructed for travel purposes and put together on arrival in UK. Oh! and just to add pressure, my flight back was scheduled only hours prior to the opening! This meant that every component, once all assembled, had to work like an ‘over active’ military operation.

As the plane was about to start it’s descent and my anxiety started kicking in, one of the Air Mauritius cabin crew saved the day. Knowing the predicament I was in with cutting it so fine she swiftly ushered me to first class, my hat box given a seat next to me and a glass champagne thrust into my hand. Now that is what I call customer care!

The way to Harrods

Once landed and en-route to Harrods, there was a rush of calls finalising everything.

Located in the stunning new bridal fitting room, I embarked on putting the creation together. The supplier mounted the last diamond and a sense of relief flooded through me as the whole structure came to completion.

However, with just less than an hour to go to show time there was no time to relax.

This giant size structure in some miraculous way had to be adorned on Lisa’s head, fully coiffured, and she made up and outfitted. The art of it all was to make it look graceful and effortless; thanks to Lisa’s talents she managed that to perfection.

Just when I thought everything was going well, the big boss himself, Mr Mohamed al-Fayed, wanted to meet me.  Seeing him coming towards the changing rooms, I got a moment of panic and ran around the other side of the room, like a cat and mouse game. I then saw a perplexed Mr Al Fayed walking off!

The launch began and it was an amazing success.

The “Chapeau d’Amour” took me on several invited trips such as Dubai and finally to the location of its inspiration Cliveden House where the bluebells in the forest started the love of it all.

To know more about Louis please visit: Louis Mariette

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