TIP OF THE HAT: Milliner Albertus Swanepoel has enjoyed both editorial exposure and critical accolades (he has been nominated for both a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award and a Swarovski Award for Accessory Design), but those lucrative corporate collaborations have thus far eluded him. No more: Swanepoel is anticipating a higher profile this coming fall, with the roll-out of his alliance with U.S. hat manufacturer Stetson. “I reached out to Albertus because I thought there was something interesting about a designer of his caliber joining forces with an iconic American brand,” said Pam Fields, chief executive of Stetson, which will produce between seven and 10 Swanepoel-designed styles. “We are going to let the retailers help us edit [the collection] down,” Fields said, noting the company plans to target retailers including Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue as well as specialty hat shops. While the silhouettes are classic — Swanepoel was influenced by the brand’s history, as well as Sherlock Holmes and the Bauhaus movement — the hats also have contemporary flourishes (brightly colored linings, for instance). “[It’s] a great opportunity for me to inject a more modern sensibility into their designs and create more unisex hats that will have a broader appeal,” Swanepoel explained. “They are the Rolls-Royce of hats to me, in America.” Swanepoel’s collection, which will be produced on a season by season basis, will retail for $180 to $300.
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