Lady Blarney

Birds of a feather

Each year hats are featured at the Melbourne Cup 1 but none more stunning than the 2006 Melbourne Cup, fashion stakes with a ‘sculptural bird cage hat’ with extended plumes taking first prize.

And no matter where you shop, now all the stores are featuring hats, hats, hats and more hats. Perhaps it is part of the skin cancer campaign in Australia, to “slip, slop and slap” (slip on a shirt, slop on sun screen and slap on a hat).

Back in 1897, Lady Blarney wrote a column called “Gossip from Woman’s World” for the Queanbeyan Observer,2 which advised on fashion and skin care. Lady Blarney’s favourite hat in 1897 was a “charming grey hat in a fine straw with chiffon lining pleated well under the brim with a couple of birds of the same grey and white hue nestling on the hair on one side – the hat was very much turned up at the side.

Two more birds mingled with the trimming with grey chiffon formed into upstanding bows and birds of paradise plumes. Natural grasses contributed their quota of beauty together

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