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Hats off to Royal Ascot

When Royal Ascot calls, even if behind closed doors, it is always a time we look forward to for fashion inspiration but most importantly to see all the hats on parade.

Therefore this week we sought out Emily Baxendale, the founder and creative director of  Emily London the label draws a coveted clientele of celebrities, members of the Royal Family, fashion stylists and international press, so who better to talk with us about all things hats, fashion and how to accesorise with jewellery.

Is there an unwritten rule about wearing jewellery/earrings with a hat? Can you take it too far i.e. Pat Butcher style

I’d say no – just enjoy being yourself with your look.  There are very few rules in hat-wearing that we should ever feel restricted by as most of them are fairly dated now.   Hats and headpieces are naturally such expressive and playful accessories & that’s how I love to see them worn.  Adding earrings – either in a subtle way or as a bolder statement, layers the personality of a look and gives greater depth and individuality.

What led/inspired you to get into millinery and is that inspiration still the same today?

I was studying for a Masters and slightly drowning in French literature in the British Library.  I remember seeking some creative and light-hearted balance in the evenings so I started millinery that way – just doing simple classes and enjoying learning how to make things with my hands.  That evolved into a 3 year Apprenticeship with the Queen’s Milliner, and from then onwards my obsession with hats was firmly sealed and I’ve never looked back.

The traditional ‘wedding’ hat can be seen to be a little dated, how have you combatted this?

We evolve our collections each season to be modern and current in terms of the different forms of headwear we create. A ‘wedding hat’ doesn’t need to be so literal or clichéd anymore and formal dress codes embrace a much more contemporary and wider spectrum of styles.   This includes not only hats but also so many different options of headpieces and hair accessories as well.  Of course I’m biased but I genuinely feel that a wedding look without headwear is just never quite finished.

How do you advise clients to choose the hat for their outfit? Hat first or dress?

We always advise clients to choose their dress first.  We can then create the hat to complete their look.  The simplicity is that we make every piece ourselves in-house and thereby can work without any restrictions – whatever our client needs we can make in terms of style, fit, colour etc.  The other way round just isn’t as easy for the client. We have recently introduced our Complimentary Dye-to-Match Colour Service to help clients needing pieces made in specific shades.  This is an element of our Bespoke Service that we really want to open up to a wider audience and is now available both Online and In-Store.  Clients can choose the style of hat they would like and then we will make it for them in any colour for no additional charge.

What are your thoughts in terms of bridal millinery instead of a veil? And what would be your advice to the bride to choose?

There’s something intrinsically special about a wedding veil – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime accessory and it definitely doesn’t have to be an either/or decision.  Really stunning bridal looks can be created with the combination of a headpiece and a veil worn together.  This also gives brides the styling flexibility to remove the veil after the ceremony and to keep the headpiece on throughout the evening celebrations.


What is your favourite design you’ve ever created?

From season to season I’m most loyal to our signature wide-brimmed boaters.  They are Matador-inspired and my current favourite is ‘Joaquina’ – I love the subtle masculinity of the shape and this season we’ve dyed it to a really deep and vibrant shade of rich orange which I adore – there’s something really powerful and uplifting about this hat – I just think you can’t wear it and not enjoy yourself!


What is your favourite brand out there and why?

I’m going to go with my favourite skin care brand – Elemis.  I’ve been following a bespoke treatment programme from the House of Elemis for almost a year now and it’s been the most wonderful discovery.

What jewellery do you wear every day and what is your most special piece of jewellery and why?

I have a love for rings.  It’s very self-indulgent really – I just can’t help but enjoy looking at them while I work. My most special piece of jewellery though is a vintage Chanel cocktail ring from the 1970’s.  One side is yellow gold with stars and a yellow sapphire and one side is white gold with stars and a blue sapphire. It is such an energetic and happy piece and was given to me by an incredible friend during a very difficult crossroads.  I look at it and it reminds me to smile, focus on the road ahead and keep kicking!
What is your favourite piece of SB Jewellery and why?
I have to pick two pieces – the SB Hoops with Diamond Star Drops – so pretty with a hint of toughness at the same time and I love that. And the Heritage stacking rings because I’m so craving colour right now and can’t resist!