When Aretha Franklin stepped onto the podium during the inauguration of President Obama in January, her hat was a show-stopper. I don't remember what she sang, but I certainly remember her hat. That lavish gray felt hat with a huge bow will be going to the Smithsonian where it will be on display until it becomes part of the Obama presidential library.
Photo source: nytimes.com
The creator of the hat is an unassuming milliner from Detroit named Luke Song. After studying biochemistry in college, he left (one credit short of his degree) to pursue art studies at Parsons the New School for Design in New York. His parents refused to pay for his art schooling. Uncertain how to pay off his loans after he completed art school, he turned to a career in millinery, seeing parallels between sculpture and the creation of hats.
The demand for Luke Song's hats has exploded since the inauguration. Working in a cramped workroom in Detroit, with the help of his family and a team of eleven staff, he creates about 100 hats a day, many of which are custom made. Although Song would like to "double his workforce", finding experienced staff has been difficult for the milliner. Song says that "millinery is a dead art".
P.S. This will be my last post on hats. I'm all hatted out.
P.P.S. Yesterday was my 100th post and I didn't even notice. Hurrah for me!