Hats Made Me

The Culture Trust Luton present Hats Made Me, a major exhibition that explores the global significance of hats and headwear. The exhibition, staged at Stockwood Discovery Centre, features objects from the world’s most celebrated fashion and performance milliners as well as 400 years of hats from the collection.

Featuring more than 200 objects, the exhibition includes a red visor design chosen by Beyoncé for her Cuff It video, a bridal hat worn by Cara Delevingne in Vogue, Michael Keaton’s cowl from Batman, a teal velvet hat donned by Kate Sharma in the Netflix hit show Bridgerton, and a lace mantilla worn by Queen Isabella II of Spain.

This is one of the largest exhibitions of its kind, pulling together practical and purposeful headwear, with wonderful and whimsical costume from stage and screen. The exhibition explores why we wear hats, and how headwear is used to protect and transform, to say something, and to mean something.

Hats Made Me presents iconic headpieces that transport the wearer into an instantly recognisable character. From Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor Who hat, to Cate Blanchett’s headpiece for her Oscar-nominated role playing the monarch in Elizabeth: The Golden Age made by Stephen Jones OBE, to a Stormtrooper helmet from Return of the Jedi, the exhibition presents hats and headwear that have featured in global film and cinema.

Hats Made Me also represents Luton’s own social and cultural heritage, with a stunning array of headpieces including a durag, an Irish Catholic communion veil, silk and gold Ghanaian headdresses, Muslim prayer caps and Sikh turbans. Also on display is a Miss Vauxhall Tiara worn by the winner of a beauty pageant sponsored by Vauxhall Motors – an object that unites the hat and motoring industries that built Luton.

This is a rare chance to see hats that defined an era, headwear that made a scene, and your favourite pop culture items from stage and screen.

Photography courtesy of Richard Hubert Smith


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