Hat story

Hats off to Mary

RiverTribe’s Head of Design (no pun intended), Zakia Malcolm, has the forthcoming

nuptials of her first daughter Yazmin to look forward to in May.

This is to be no ordinary wedding with the ceremony taking place at

Chateau Sentout in Southern France.

A.A. McCullum mulls the magnificence of millinery.

When the dearly departed Cilla Black was contemplating a potential wedding on Blind Date, the first thing that she’d consider was choosing a hat.


It is the quintessential accessory to add celebratory flamboyance to the big day.


With her strong design sense, Zakia is having her mother of the brides dress made in beautiful grey blue silk she sourced from a silk producing factory on a recent visit to India.


She wanted the hat to be made with her chosen material and colour scheme in mind and something bespoke to help achieve the aesthetic she is looking for.


Mary Spiteri runs a shop in Paved Court, Richmond amusingly called, for those of you familiar with cockney rhyming slang, TitferTat.


Zakia visited Mary for her first appointment. The first thing that was taken into consideration was the shape of her face. This led to a decision to go with a two tiered design in order to lift her features.


Mary was shown the colour scheme with the dress that needed to be complimented. The decisions were made to go with a dark grey gunmetal for the top, possibly in straw and the bottom section in a steel colour.


The hat will be slightly less broad than the one Zakia tried on to sit more daintily on her head and not obscure her features, or her view of the ceremony.


The hat will be tried on with the partly made dress at Sylvia Young’s in Margaret Street London, where the bride’s dress is being made to ensure the entire ensemble works as a cohesive entity, along with her daughter’s vision.


Trimming will then be decided upon with Zakia’s desire to keep fussiness to a minimum.


Creating a hat for an occasion of such magnitude for a mum is something that requires military precision. The photo’s of the day will last a lifetime and bring back memories of a perfect day.


The finalised hat will be carefully packed for protection from clumsy couriers and baggage handlers to be transported to France.

Occasions such as weddings and Ascot really demand something more inspired than an off the peg number. Mary often visits the hat factories in Luton, a town traditionally known for hat making, where the local football team are known as the Hatters.


Apparently, the term ‘Mad as a Hatter’ is derived from Milliners’ long term use of mercury that can lead to poisoning and a condition known as Korsakoff’s disease. Fortunately, Mary is far from mad and her professionalism is second to none.


Of course, this is Yazmin’s big day, but after nurturing, comforting and preparing her through the ups and downs of early life, her beloved mother comes in at a very close second in order of priority.


You can guarantee on the day that it won’t be just the hat that is in tiers, if you’ll excuse the traditional Best Man’s ‘go to’ gag for a guaranteed titter.


The making of the hat


Step 1.

Choosing the correct style. Mary decides which hat is the most suitable for the face shape.

























Step 2.

After a large selection of hats were trialled, the final design was chosen. This will be the basic shape.














Step 3.

Mary uses colour charts to match the dress fabric to the colour of the hat she will then create.


























In our June/July edition, discover how Mary makes the hat base. The hat is then tried on with the partly made dress. The trimmings are then chosen.

In our August/September edition, the finished hat. The packing and transporting the hat to France.

The hat proudly displayed at the wedding.

Part 2


©RiverTribe Magazine 2017