Their brief? To create eye-catching new headwear for London landmarks, including Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, Queen Victoria on Blackfriars Bridge and William Shakespeare in Leicester Square.
‘The rest of the world sees hats as an innately British thing so this is a great celebration of that, our eccentricity and our talent for millinery,’ Jones told the Telegraph.
So it is that the mounted sculpture of King George IV in Trafalgar Square wears Jones’s creation, a gilded onion dome of a hat with echoes of the monarch’s Brighton Pavilion—plus a matching topper for George’s horse. Lord Nelson wears Sylvia Fletcher and Lock & Co’s Union Jack-covered bicorn hat, with an Olympic torch in place of a feather. Philip Treacy created a giant version of his mirrored saucer hat for the sculpture of General Sir Henry Havelock, also in Trafalgar Square.
Grant designed a red tasselled hat for The Lady on Victoria Embankment, and Atkinson drew inspiration from a traffic cone—but one trimmed with a pigeon wearing his trademark cherries.
‘It is a complete honour to be involved, both to be included with 20 other GREAT milliners, but also because it is an amazing privilege to be allowed to dress these incredibly important, beautiful and historical monuments,’ Atkinson told us. Outfitting the statues required planning permission, mould-making, cranes, wind-tunnel-testing and weatherproof materials, he explained. ‘Even just logistically, it’s epic.’
But the effort is entirely worthwhile. ‘I did a bit of the Hatwalk yesterday,’ Atkinson said, ‘and it really made me look with fresh eyes at our culture and heritage represented in these vast status all around London.’
Click through the gallery above to see more statues involved in the Hatwalk. Read more about the project here.