four centuries of bad hats

I have gone on and on about my hair in past posts. I have written of the three-hour ordeals involving washing, conditioning, delousing, the weaving in of flowers and jewels.

And here, I bored you to tears with my thoughts on the relationship between hairstyles and tarts.

And who could forget my reportage on the Sisi Museum’s display of wigs meant to model my various styles?

Well, I’m sick of talking about my hair, so I’m going to rant about hats, instead. Hideous hats of all eras. Not only the ones popular in my day (which, you must agree, were rather tame). No, the hats that I wish to malign are those ridiculous head dresses that found popularity before and after my reign.

Case in point: the photo at right showing my dear great-grand something in-law, Marie Antoinette. Born nearly 100 years earlier than myself, she epitomized the lavish and overkill of France in the 18th century. Really, Marie, we know you were born into a huge family, but your cries for attention were all so obvious! Is it any wonder that your silly head ended up severed from your shoulders?

Well, those Regents and their pomp were no match for the Victorians and their gloom. I submit: those are actual dead parrots on that hat! Can you imagine? Who but the most oppressed and misaligned would deign to put a bird on it in such a fashion?

But ladies, if I may, none of these ghastly examples of head dress compare to hideosities in the current era. I submit: the royal wedding, so full of promise and sleek style. Remember Kate and Pippa and their gorgeous gowns, and then along comes the Duchess’s daughter smiling proudly under a … what? Something from the Tiny Toons section of Disney? Is that a hat, or did somebody stick a section of wrought iron gate on Bea’s head? Charity-shmerity, there is no excuse to allow oneself to be the family fop. Is there?

And, we don’t really have to point the finger at the royals only, do we? Recall that embarrassing get-up on the Vegas chanteuse, Celine Dion a few Oscars ago? Well, to some people Celine is some sort of queen, I suppose.

Of course, the original intention of women’s hats was not for frivolity and fashion. It was to cover the heads  of the fair sex, lest they fall victim to the carnal temptations of men. Given the atrocities in headwear over history, I’d say the original intent has survived, and is alive and well!

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sibling rivalry never goes out of style.

the "it" sisters of 2011

Sisters. Can’t love with them, can’t love without them. It has more than come to light that at the latest royal wedding, all eyes were not on Kate. Some were on her younger sister, Pippa. Many, in fact, were on her younger sister. Including those of the spare heir, the paparazzi, and her increasingly anxious beau.

But, what’s a royal wedding without a wee scandal, yes? My own royal wedding was replete with sister jealousies, as many of you know. Word on the street is that I scooped my elder sister for the Emperor’s attentions using my feminine wiles. It was my sister, Nené , who was slated for the throne. Franz Josef’s mother and our mother, Ludovica (who were also  sisters) had painstakingly arranged it. But, alas, my sister was a bit of a sour puss, and, well, it’s not exactly that I cavorted in a bikini top, but the Emperor found my shy-yet-frisky demeanor a bit more to his liking.

the "sit" sisters of 1848

I’m setting the record straight here and now. I did not flirt with the Emperor during the betrothal meeting. I did not bat my eyelashes. I did not, as the movie indicates, accidentally hook the Emperor with a fishing line whilst he tarried to the castle. No, I think the Emperor’s choosing me had more to do with passive-aggressively thwarting his mother’s meddlesome ways.

Whatever the reason for Franz Josef choosing me over my sister, it caused quite a stir in our family. Nené didn’t speak to me for months! Of course, eventually, she found a beau of her own, and it’s been said that her marriage was the happiest of all us Wittelsbach girls.

It remains to be seen how the Middleton girls stack up over the marital long haul. I’m sure we’ll all find out.