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What the Urquijo-Suarez Wedding Taught Us About Wearing Fascinators

All the fabulous hats and fascinators at the society wedding of the year inspired us to look deeper into this royal wedding staple

If there’s any big takeaway we should have from the Urquijo-Suarez wedding, it is that headpieces not only bring texture and color to an outfit, but it takes it to an entirely different level. Unlike fashion, they give a visual, and not entirely functional, expression of your personality. Your statement piece, so to speak, is front row and center, and definitely noticeable as it is sitting on top of your head! 

Urquijo Zobel de Ayala Family
The Urquijo Zobel de Ayala Family with the bride and groom—Alex and Jaime

It was the Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, who actually popularized this trend outside of royal weddings and race-day events. She took fascinators mainstream right after her wedding to Prince William, as she would often be seen wearing headwear all around town. Do you remember her maroon halo band worn with her Christmas outfit, or her red floral hat paired with an Alexander McQueen dress, her favorite Lock & Co black circular net hat which she has paired with her ivory Alexander McQueen coat and her lace dress at the Centenary of The Battle of the Somme in Albert, France; and even the headpiece she wore at the baptism of Prince Louis?

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Hat or Fascinator?

But is Princess Kate wearing a hat, or a fascinator? Fascinators are decorative headpieces that are attached to the head, or “fastened”, which is said to be the original of the term fascinator. It is an alternative to the hat, which functions to shield the head and the face from the sun.

Recently, there has been an emergence of the term “hatinator,” which describes headgear that is both a hat, or a fascinator—but this term isn’t on everyone’s radar, so the correct term is still a hat for larger, elaborate headpieces.

A Brief History

Fascinators grew into prominence in the 1960s, because before this time, fascinators referred to a piece of lace worn over women’s heads, fastened like a shawl. According to British milliner Stephen Jones, it was hatmaker John P. John who coined the term for cocktail hats, which were fastened or perched on a lady’s head but still kept her updo. 

But before this, the idea of the headpiece has always been in the consciousness of high society as a means of showing status. During the Tudor period, women wore veils, coifs, pillbox hats, and curls; and this extended to elaborate coifs, and in the 18th century, Marie Antoinette popularized creative and quite elaborate coifs that made use of hairpieces that told stories—from bejeweled feathers, to flowers, and more. And so while various hats have been prominent through different eras—cloche hats in the 1920s, doll hats in Europe the 1940s, and clip-hats in the United States in the 50s.

Now, fascinators are commonplace in British society as it is a chic, fashionable alternative to the hat, which is part of the protocol for special occasions. According to The Daily Telegraph fashion director Hilary Alexander, hats are “part of the social fabric” of events in British society. 

While commonplace for formal events, in the Philippines, it’s highly unusual for formal events to call for hats or fascinators, so when that happens, it instantly becomes a fashion moment, especially when done well. And at the Urquijo-Suarez wedding, it was done so exceptionally well that we hope the next weddings will follow suit! Here are some of the most stylish guests, all wearing their hats:

Bea Zobel Jr
Bea Zobel Jr with her son, Jaime

Lizzie Zobel de Ayala
Lizzie Zobel de Ayala | Raul Manzano

Maricris Zobel and Kathy de Guzman
Maricris Zobel and Kathy de Guzman | Raul Manzano

Gina Roxas with Antonio Garcia, and Carol Masibay
Gina Roxas with Antonio Garcia, and Carol Masibay | Raul Manzano

Check out the other standout looks below: