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.

Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide!

We all enjoy a bit of sunshine.  Now that the test matches are beginning, Queens is finished (congratulations to Andy Murray!) and Wimbledon is just around the corner, summer has truly arrived in the UK!

It's time to get outside, enjoy a glass of Pimms, a bowl of strawberries and cream and dust off those BBQ tools!  

It's also time to take care - some of you will remember the slip, slop and slap campaign from Australia in the 1980's.  It was all about slipping on a shirt, slopping on some sunscreen and slapping on a hat.  We'll those things are still true - but the advice has now being extended to include seek (out some shade) and slide (on some sunglasses). 

We know many of you will be interested in our hats to help you enjoy the summer sun or in anticipation of a great holiday.  We just wanted to remind you to stay safe in the sun - please take a few minutes to read the guide here that has some great tips!  Sun safe guide.

Enjoy and remember to take your hat with you!