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 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.

Can I roll my Panama hat?

We get asked about this a lot.  

The simple answer is yes, pretty much all genuine Panama hats can be rolled, with the exception of some of the more course Cuenca waeves (see our blog about the differences between Cuenca and Monitcristi Panama hats for more info).  

The tricky bit (and the big caveat to the simple answer) is really the expectations that the owner of the hat has.  Even with a high end Monticristi, once a hat has been rolled it cannot be expected to return exactly to it's original shape without being steamed and carefully re-shaped.  Instead, one must expect a hat that is rolled to develop character.  In our eyes the imperfections that result from a hat being rolled are all evidence of a life well lived - each crease and wave the memory of some far flung adventure.

The legend we get asked about the most, is whether you can really pass a very high quality Panama hat through a ring or to carry water.  We're yet to see any evidence of this (possibly because we don't know anyone who wants to subject their hat to such abuse!).  If you have a video (or want to fund the research!) please get in touch!