Although Elton John is most famous for his vast, fabulous sunglasses collection, we decided that this was a bit of an obvious root to go down, so instead we focused on his spectacular hat collection.
In the images above – that accompany a full shoot in the current Elton edited edition of Clash – we paid homage to this by commissioning a range of hats, exclusively made for us from a range of great milliners.
Charlie Tuesday Gates from Mind Like Magpie, who took inspiration from the man’s personal style says, “When I first heard I was making an Elton inspired hat I thought shit, this living legend has had some incredible pieces grace his head. How was I supposed to compete with that?”
Charlie explains how she formed the idea to create her flamboyant hat, “I listened to Yellow Brick Road about 50 million times, looked at the mood board again and again and stripped my favourite looks down, choosing key elements of certain hats to focus on and then pimped the ideas back up from scratch. Ideas like Bob Mackie's pink creation, where Elton sang opposite Miss Piggy and his amazing green ensemble”.
Zara Gorman and William Chambers kept their designs a bit more classic and drew inspiration from his fondness for caps and boaters, as Zara explains, “My design was inspired by the various caps worn by Elton John during the 1970s yet with a contemporary twist.”
She continues, “I also explored the album covers of ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ and ‘A Single Man’, considering the undulating brick road and Elton John’s love of cars. The top leather layer features multiple panels reminiscent of a Baker Boy style cap which are stitched together like seats of a car interior, contrasted with a contour of high shine Perspex inspired by a classic car. Underneath this smooth exterior lies a third cap, made from cashmere and based on a more traditional design providing a contrast between past and present.”
Where Bernstock Speirs went all out – by adding Elton glamour to one of their classic designs – Thelma, one half of the duo said, “Paul and I both love Elton John's performance with Bette Midler and Cher on Cher's 1970's TV show. It's all feathers, glitter, glitz and razzle-dazzle. That was the inspiration for our hat.”
Our girl Anja also plays dress up Elton John style in pieces sourced from some of the greatest and up and coming British milliners including Philip Treacy, Piers Atkinson, Stephen Jones and Mich Dulce. You can out the full shoot in the current issue.
Words and styling: Lola Chatterton
Photography: George Harvey
Hair: Hiroshi Matsushita using Tigi Bed Head
Make-up: Thom Walker using Bobbi Brown
Model: Anja Konstantinova @ Premier Models
Photography assistants: Adam Slama and Kareem Abdul
Thanks to Shoreditch Studios and 123 Lighting