CULTURAL ICONS AND THEIR PANAMA HATS (PART VIII)

STEPHEN HOUGH

“Handmade with the finest threads you can imagine, it takes almost a year to make each hat - being on the Island I think it would be very useful protection against the sun and would be a rather splendid item to have.”

One of the greatest musicians of our time, the British concert pianist Stephen Hough began his musical career at the Royal Northern College of Music, followed by a master’s degree at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York. Since launching his professional performing career in 1983 he has performed in all the great concert halls around the world (including 20 BBC proms concerto appearances), and has over 50 recordings to his name garnering numerous international awards, including several Grammy nominations, 8 Gramophone Magazine awards and the Gramophone ‘Gold Disc’ award.

But Mr Hough’s talents don’t just end when he exits stage left - he is regarded as a true polymath, also know as a distinguished writer, composer and painter. His intellectual abilities were recognised in 2001 when he became the first classical music performer ever to receive a MacArthur Fellowship, joining prominent writers and scientists who have made significant contributions in their fields. In 2009 he was also named by The Economist and Intelligent Life magazines as one of 20 living polymaths.

Aside from Hough’s regular performance, recording and teaching commitments, as a writer, he regularly contributes articles for the Guardian, The Times, Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine, and for seven years wrote a blog for the Telegraph which became one of the most popular and influential forums for cultural discussion. Having joined the Roman Catholic Church aged 19, and considered joining the priesthood on several occasions his book, The Bible as Prayer, was published by Continuum and Paulist Press in 2007.

In October 2016 Stephen Hough appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, speaking honestly and openly about his many passions, childhood and personal life, while his ‘castaway’ selections revealed an eclectic taste in music, and a love of the ultimate in sophisticated headwear - the Panama Hat, selecting the finest Montecristi Panama hat, supplied by Optimo Fine Hats in Chicago, as his one luxury item (a snip at $20,000!).

Style: The English Gentleman with a touch of New York sophistication

He Says: “Ironically, it’s important for musicians to step aside even from music, and from listening to music. I think it’s terribly important for musicians to have silence in their lives because we’re dealing constantly with something that breaks the silence.”

If you’re looking for a beautifully made Panama hat that will stand the test of time in terms of quality and style, we recommend our Signature Teardrop Fedora.

CULTURAL ICONS AND THEIR PANAMA HATS (PART VII)

JESSICA ALBA

Now here's a woman with a Panama Hat for any occasion – she certainly seems to be a big fan of this classic accessory!

The American actress, model and business woman is perhaps best known for her starring roles in 'Honey' and the 'Fantastic Four' films. Aside from her successful acting career, Alba is also the co-founder of The Honest Company, a consumer goods company that sells non-toxic household products, and plays an active role supporting the work of a number of charities, particularly children's charities, oh, and she's a mum to her two young daughters.

A natural beauty, Alba never fails to look gorgeous, even when dressed down and wearing little makeup – Here she is looking every bit the girl about town, topping her simple monochrome outfit with a white fedora-style Panama Hat, and again chilling out at the beach shaded from the sun by the generous brim of her natural Panama Hat.

 

Style: simple elegance, flowing fabrics, the natural look

She says: “My theory is that if you look confident you can pull off anything - even if you have no clue what you're doing. ”

To emulate Jessica's look, we recommend our Signature Ladies Fedora in classic white for smart days out, and our Signature Ladies Fedora in 'Natural' for days at the beach – both are foldable and rollable making them perfect for travelling to more exotic climbs!

CULTURAL ICONS AND THEIR PANAMA HATS (PART VI)

Sir Anthony Hopkins

Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins (CBE) was spotted in the late 1950s by Sir Lawrence Olivier, who invited him to join the Royal National Theatre. It wasn't until 1968 though that he caught his first big break in film, being cast as Richard the Lionheart in The Lion in Winter, alongside Peter O'Toole and Catherine Hepburn.

Regarded as one of our greatest living actors, he is probably best known for his spine-chilling portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in Thomas Harris' The Silence of the Lambs, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Who can forget that hushed, controlled greeting “why, hello Clarice”?! Brrr, chills!

And he's back in the limelight again, now staring in HBO's hit sci-fi series Westworld.

A little known fact about Anthony Hopkins - Not resting on the laurels of his brilliant acting career, he is also a composer and has been writing music for most of his life. In 2011, Andre Rieu released an album including a waltz written by Hopkins at the age of 27, giving the album the same name 'And the Waltz Goes on.'

Hopkins in 2009

As Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal, 2001 (Stylish yet terrifying!)

Style: Unapologetic, smart-casual, loves a blazer (and a Panama Hat of course!)

He says: “My philosophy is it's none of my business what people say of me and think of me. I am what I am, and I do what I do. I expect nothing and accept everything. And it makes life so much easier.”

Hannibal says: "As your mother tells you, and my mother certainly told me, it is important, she always used to say, always to try new things."

Whichever of our Panama Icons you most identify with (and we hope it's Hopkins, not his infamous character..!), remember: wearing a Panama hat is a great way to get ahead when you’re aiming for standout style.

CULTURAL ICONS AND THEIR PANAMA HATS (PART V)

JULIANNE MOORE

Spotted – another Oscar-winning actor who just loves a Panama Hat to accessorise her summer wardrobe...

Julianne Moore, known for The Hours, Still Alice and, most recently, The Hunger Games, paired her Panama hat with a printed tunic, white Birkenstock sandals, and a sleek tote when out and about in New York City this summer. The 55 year old actress never fails to look chic and elegant, even when going for that practical smart-casual look, achieving it with a playful, youthful edge.

 

Style: effortlessly chic, classy and elegant

She says: “I think imperfections are important, just as mistakes are important. You only get to be good by making mistakes, and you only get to be real by being imperfect."

Whichever of our Panama Icons you most identify with, remember: wearing a Panama hat is a great way to get ahead when you’re aiming for standout style.

BESPOKE BANDS AND PANAMA REPAIRS

We now offer bespoke hat bands, in a range of gorgeous colours, on all our Borges and Scott Panama Hats!

If you fancy something a little more colourful than our standard black or brown bands, or perhaps a particular shade to match a favourite outfit, look out for a new page coming to our website soon with further details and the full range of colour swatches to choose from.

Our bespoke bands are £8.95 (in addition to the cost of the hat) – when ordering your Panama hat, just email us (quoting your order number) to request a bespoke band in your chosen colour, and we will send your new hat out to you as soon as possible. Price includes our in house milliner fitting your choice of coloured band to your hat.

  An example of a bespoke band using a military ribbon sent in to us by a customer.

 

Is your hat well traveled? Lost a bit of its shape from all that rolling?

Well, if you feel your Panama Hat needs a bit of TLC we now offer basic repairs and re-shaping – from replacing tired bands to coaxing it back into that signature fedora shape. If you feel your hat would benefit from a little 'service', please email us at sales@borgesandscott.com, attaching a photo of the hat, and we will get back to you as soon as we have assessed the damage.

Cultural Icons and their Panama Hats (Part IIII)

GREGORY PECK


One of the most popular movie stars of the 1940s - 60s, Peck is perhaps best known for his Oscar winning portrayal of single father and crusader for justice, Atticus Finch, in the 1962 movie adaptation of Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize winning novel To Kill A Mocking Bird. Atticus Finch has since been voted in at No. 7 in the 100 greatest fictional characters of all time.


Peck, like Atticus Finch, was a long-term activist against war, and racism, honoured in 1969 with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his lifetime humanitarian efforts. So, not just a brilliant actor, but a genuinely nice guy too! They were both also iconic hat wearers, Atticus preferring a light weight Fedora (keeping a cool head in the Alabama heat), and Peck, a classic Panama hat in the colonial style.

Style: The epitome of tall, dark and handsome. Tough, understated and unassuming.

 

He says: “Tough times don’t last, tough people do, remember?”

 

We say: Look cool as a cucumber this summer in our Borges & Scott Colonial Panama Hat.

Whichever of our Panama Icons you most identify with, remember: wearing a Panama hat is a great way to get ahead when you’re aiming for standout style.

Andy Demonstrates Barbecue Chic...

Andy here teaches us all how to look cool, calm and effortlessly sophisticated whilst performing one of the most demanding tasks any of us may face over the summer months - being given full responsibility for the party barbecue!


Alfresco dining may be idyllic for your guests, but for the elected grill master, flipping those burgers and grilling those halloumi skewers to perfection can be a tall order. Andy however seems completely unfazed by the task in hand, he makes it look easy - top tip for any of you aspiring barbecuers out there, don a timeless Panama hat and you will not only look chic and cocktail-ready, but no one will notice your twitching temple as you calculate the optimum time to flip those burgers!

Andy is wearing our Borges and Scott Signature Fedora (Natural Classic), proving that the versatile Panama is perfect for any occasion. Bravo Andy!

If you're thinking of lighting up the Barbecue this weekend, here are a couple of tasty Brazilian inspired recipes to get you in the Olympic spirit: Frango Churrasco (grilled lemon and garlic Chicken), and how about trying this smoky tomato pepper salsa as an accompaniment. Enjoy!



What is a Panama Hat?

So, we get lots of questions about Panama hats.  We'll always do our best to answer these and will start posting some of them to this blog soon.  However, before we do that, it's probably best if we spend a little time thinking about the basic question - what is a Panama hat?

If you know the answer to this, then that's great - please explore the rest of our blog and website.  But we do find that, particularly among non-hat wearers, there is confusion.  Some think that a Panama is defined by the fact it's a straw hat with a black band around it.  Others think that it's a reference to a particular shape of hat.  Yet others have no idea - when you tell them that you work for a Panama hat company they look blank and ask "what's that?"".  

So let's start by addressing a couple of these mistakes.  The shape of a hat does not make it a Panama.  There are numerous different styles and shapes of hats out there - such as the Trilby, Fedora, Pork Pie, Homberg and Folder.  But these can all be made by a variety of techniques in many different materials.  For example, you can have a heavy weight felt Fedora that's perfect for British winters.  Neither does the combination of white material with a black band make a hat a Panama.  There are lots of cheap imitations that look like this and call themselves Panamas, but are made out of paper pulp or synthetic fabrics that make them hot and sweaty to wear.  Equally the genuine article can come in all sorts of colours and have all sorts of decorative finishes.

In our eyes, a genuine Panama is defined by one thing only.  The material it is made from.  It has to be Toquilla Palm fibres.  

The Carludovica Palmata (to give it its scientific name) is not actually a palm - technically it's a "Monocotyledon" rather than a plam, because it does not develop a woody trunk.  But we'll ignore that technicality.  This plant produces a beautiful flower and has been cultivated from Central America down to Boliva.  However, its main home is in the humid coastal regions of Ecuador.  Fibres can be stripped from the central stem of young plants and carefully washed, softened and dried to produce a wonderfully soft, flexible and strong fibre.  These fibres can be woven into a variety of shapes - one of these is a cone like shape that forms the basis of a Panama Hat.  Once you have this cone (or "hood") you can bleach, dye and/or shape it as you wish.  

Please explore our store to see the variety of shape and colours we have chosen to make up our range - all of which are true Panama Hats!  

Visit us in Bristol to find the perfect Christmas gift for the man in your life...

A Panama Hat makes a timeless gift.  You can visit us at:

Borges & Scott

Unit 21 Lawrence Hill Ind Park

Croydon Street

Bristol

BS5 0EB

Please call ahead to make sure we're in.  01179 559 440.