Irish hat designer Philip Treacy has said that Princess Beatrice was "thrilled" at the hat he designed for her to wear to the royal wedding nuptials last April.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It was one of the best, the most complex, the most technically challenging hats I have made. It wasn't about what I thought at that point, but I was thrilled with it - and so was Princess Beatrice," Treacy, 44, told the Telegraph UK.
When the whole fuss erupted, I very sweetly got a text from her, saying: 'Isabella would have been thrilled…'" he said, referring to his mentor, Isabella Blow, the fashion editor who killed herself in 2007.
"Isabella introduced me to the royal princesses when they were very young," Treacy continued. "She would have loved all the fuss. She loved a bit of shaking things up."
For weeks after the wedding, the Internet was all a buzz with spoof pictures of the octopus-like cap, including one of Barack Obama and his National Security Team each wearing Princess Beatrice's hat, as they grimly watched the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound.
The US Secretary of Defence later confirmed that the "primary reason" that pictures of the dead bin Laden were not published was for fear that pranksters would Photoshop the hat on to bin Laden's mutilated head.
Princess Beatrice ended up raising £81,000 for charity by auctioning the hat on eBay. She quickly wore another Treacy hat to Royal Ascot, although one not quite so bizarre.
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More recently, Treacy designed the gold-and-diamond crown that Madonna wore for her Super Bowl performance.
"Hats are for life's ultimate moments," he said." They're worn at races, at weddings. Occasions many of us, who aren't royals and celebrities, only attend once or twice in a lifetime. If Madonna hadn't worn a hat, her performance wouldn't have been such a big deal."
Riccardo Tisci, the creative director of Givenchy, asked Treacy to design Madonna's headgear last December.
"I was thinking there is such a thing as Christmas, but it was worth it." There was just one fitting in New York. "I flew in, spent four hours with Madonna, and then immediately flew home. Economy," he adds.
"I grew up in a little village in the west of Ireland. The weekly Top of the Pops was an almost religious experience. So to fly economy for four hours with Madonna was a thrill."
Treacy, one of eight children, started sewing at age six. His baker father was supportive, telling their shocked neighbors, "Whatever makes him happy." He moved to London as a student and became Blow's protégé.
Treacy believes that a new generation of hat wearers is emerging.
"Hats have always been part of difficult times," Treacy affirms. "During the war, wearing a pretty hat was one of the few ways to cheer people up. When you look at a hat, love it or hate it, you're entertained."
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