Madly Hatted, Richard does Melbourne

Where did you get that hat? Why, it’s a Richard Nylon, of course. Undeniably, marvelously kooky, the milliner Mr Nylon is hot property right now.

Of course, it’s Cup season. That’s the Melbourne Cup to those not in the know.

When I was a schoolkid in Queensland, our teachers would nick off to the staffroom to have a glass of cheap sparkling wine and a fag and throw a few bets on the horses, or we’d even have a sweep in the classroom. The state of Victoria was on holiday.

Now, it’s just the city of Melbourne that gets a holiday so it can drink champagne and bet on the horses.

Mostly, we watch the race on TV, but one year I went down to Flemington racecourse to mingle with the rest of the great unwashed. I remember the statistic: 80,000 people drank 100,000 litres of champagne and sparkling wine. Not a bad effort, people.

The reason for this post is that some of Richard’s wildest hats are on display in Melbourne’s Langham Hotel during the racing season, so I popped in to check them out and to meet the man himself. The hotel was, incidentally, also celebrating the opening of its Seafood Altar. All worship the humble lobster? My kinda bash.

If you were craving hat tips for the season, I can share a few of Richard’s gems:

  • Asymmetrical hats work best because asymmetry is dynamic and, let’s face it, our faces are asymmetrical. And if you’re going to tilt the hat, tilt over the right eye.
  • Never wear a hat that’s wider than your shoulders, ESPECIALLY if you’re short! You’re going to end up buffeted by other people all day. If you’re an Amazon standing over six feet six, do whatever you like, with your head up in those clouds.
  • Hats need stronger make-up, so don’t be afraid to lash on the slap, or be washed out by a hat with more personality than your face.

And hats aren’t just for the ladies. “Women talk to a man wearing a hat,” says Richard, encouragingly. “Hats should be whimsical, a talking point, and fabulous from all angles. Hats are meant to be seen in 3D.”

So ditch that skanky fascinator made from chook feathers, slap on a hat and let’s smash the piggy bank and make for the TAB!

(Translation: get real, get a decent hat, throw away your feathered headpiece, and let’s bet all our savings on a horse that has a snowflake’s chance in hell of winning.)

About the author

Fear is found on a creaking glacier in the Caucasus mountains and joy is encapsulated in the perfect Shanghai dumpling. And while I love a $500-a-night hotel room (who doesn’t?), sometimes the best stories are found in a $20 guesthouse. With an eye always out for good markets and great street eats, I write the travel news and features for the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age newspapers, and features for whoever else asks. I have a particular soft spot for the wilds of the Middle East, scarves and carpets. My articles and photographs have been published in a range of consumer magazines and newspapers in Australia and abroad, and occasionally I chat on radio, too, from Essentials Magazine to 3AW or the Irish Times.

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