Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hail to the Hat; or, the First Lady of Soul: Aretha's Crystals Rock the Inauguration

I wondered whether Michelle Obama or Jill Biden would wear hats to today’s inauguration. I don’t associate either one of them with hats, so I was curious to see what, if anything, they would don.

It has been a tradition, no? that the First Lady wears a certain chapeau to this event. Of course Jacqueline Kennedy had her memorable pillbox, Hillary Clinton had a mumsy cobalt blue number, and . . . I can’t remember any others.

(But maybe that’s my Canadian blindness speaking. However, I can only think of Margaret Trudeau in that photo at Studio 54, or fainting when her husband was trying to be official.)

If there had been a tradition, then Michelle Obama went her own way (not a bad thing, especially if one is not usually a hat wearer. I like to wear my beret daily, though I feel that that style has been sullied for wearing at all future presidential events.)

But if anyone was disappointed that Michelle did not wear a hat, then I suspect that a double cheer rang out when Aretha Franklin emerged to sing.

Her title, “the Queen of Soul,” or perhaps now "the First Lady of Soul," was entirely appropriate for today’s occasion, and her hat was a combination of over-the-top classic and outrageous.

Essentially a prim, perfectly shaped, ENORMOUS gray bow, the hat was embellished with Swarovski crystals and was, according to the LA Times, made by Detroit’s Mr Song Millinery.

Now, I’m not going to say that the First Lady of Soul stole the show, stylistically speaking, because I don't want to--ahem--dis-r-e-s-p-e-c-t Michelle, who looked lovely. But Aretha did work that crown and inject a little extra glamour into an already starstruck crowd.

10 comments:

K.Line said...

OK - That inauguration was awesome. And I think Sasha and Malia stole the show! Don't mean to disagree with you but I feel that Ms. Franklin was horrendously dressed. And I thought the yellow dress on Michelle was nice, but not outstanding. The person who surprised me though - Jill Biden. She looked under-dressed and (dare I say it) not very elegant. The skirt was too short with those boots. Fine for a day at the office, but not right for this historic event. And bright red coat?! Seems a little off. Wow, I'm critical and rambling.

miss cavendish said...

Ohh--I loved Aretha . . . From where I was sitting (chez moi) I didn't have a good view of Jill Biden. I'll check her out on replays!

Toby Wollin said...

Oh, for heaven's sake - we're talking Aretha "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" Franklin here. I loved the hat - she's a very tall and big woman and she rocked the whole ensemble in my estimation. And she looked warm, too, unlike Jill Biden, who was showing a whole lot of skin between the tops of her boots and the bottom of her skirt, which was even shorter than her coat. By the end of the day, she looked cold and rather miserable - whereas Michelle Obama was still going strong with her multiple layers of wool. I'm sure Ms Franklin was toasty through the entire event, especially because of her hat.

Anonymous said...

I agree--Aretha rocked that hat!

Sal said...

I adored that hat with every fiber of my being.

La Belette Rouge said...

That was a hell of a hat. I do admire Dr. Jill Biden for wearing those spiked boots of hers. She walked in the parade in them and never looked like she was suffering. I love to see a smart and sexy academic who can wear high heeled boots in a parade.

WendyB said...

Am I the only one who thought Aretha didn't sound her best? Thank God the hat was there to distract me.

miss cavendish said...

Thanks to all the hat lovers . . .

Belette, I've had a look at Jill Boden's boots and am amazed that she could manage a longish parade walk in them. I've had a crush on her ever since I learned she was a PhD. I wonder whether she practiced distances in them beforehand . . .

WendyB, I wonder whether the cold had something to do with it? I was worried about Yo-Yo Ma and company with their bare fingers as well. (I *loved* the piece they played.)

miss cavendish said...

Hello Freudian slip: Boden catalogue, anyone?

Imelda Matt - The Despotic Queen of Shoes said...

It feels like a lifetime ago but that hat rocked!