Friday, January 23, 2009

Aretha Franklin's Hat

Requests flood in for 'Queen of Soul's' custom hat

The calls began to flood Luke Song's hat shop not long after Aretha Franklin finished belting out "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" at President Barack Obama's inauguration.

Franklin, who wore a gray felt custom-designed hat from Mr. Song Millinery, has inadvertently caused an economic boom for the South Korean immigrant's store.

Song said he wasn't prepared for the hundreds of calls requesting the hat with a Swarovski rhinestone-bordered bow.

"We even have a lot of men calling to get it for their wives, mothers and grandmothers," Song said.

The hat worn by the "Queen of Soul" was hand-molded and would cost upward of $500—if it were for sale, the 36-year-old designer said. Customers instead were offered a satin ribbon version for $179.

"They want the same hat, but they understand it's for the 'Queen' only," he said. "Ninety-nine percent said, 'That's fine. I'll get the next best thing.'"

Although this seems like a story from The Onion, it's from the Associated Press.

It's really hard to believe that the designer is being flooded with requests for that giant bow hat.

It's not something a lot of women could pull off, like when so many copied Jackie Kennedy's style and her pillbox hats.

The economy can't be too bad if there are people willing to shell out $179 for a hat similar to that one worn by Aretha Franklin.


Anonymous said...

I agree not too many people could pull off that hat, but it rocked on Aretha and I can see it do likewise on other large women with style, especially black women. And that not racist, Mary so don't start that! There are just some looks black people can pull off that white people can't. Another example: cornrows! They can look gorgeous on a black women, but hideous on any other!

Anonymous said...

Aretha is a DIVA. and people buying hats does not show the economy is strong it just shows people are willing to spend money on stuff they shouldn't because they don't think it through.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this will finally have a chance:


Mary said...


I don't wear hats, but if I did, I would definitely pick the Urban Sombrero over the Giant Bow.

And the cornrows point is well-taken.

Anonymous said...

Wow...I thought having Obama as president meant "change" as everyone promised when they voted for him. So, does change mean it is now okay to make derogatory comments against white folks' style? I have rocked big hats and cornrows, and my skin is not dark. Thankyouverymuch!

Beth said...

Women held in slavery were forbidden to wear hats; only ladies wore hats and no slave woman could present herself as a lady. At Emancipation, these laws were dropped and a Black woman could wear a hat or bonnet just like any other woman. As Jim Crow replaced slavery, wearing a hat, the bigger and bolder the better, asserted the equality the Jiom Crow laws denied. It is an assertion of freedom in the face of oppression and should be applauded everywhere. You can put me down but you can't keep me down.

On Paper said...

I just saw a Easter Sunday story on CBS Morning and they highlighted Mr. Song's shop. The thing that surprises me the most is how INEXPENSIVE these hats are. I was expecting hundreds if not thousands of dollars and I agree, they are a work of art.

I am not a hat wearer myself, but, I have actually made hats while working as a millinery apprentice at the Santa Fe Opera. It can take at least a day to make even the most simple of hats.

So Happy Easter and hats off to all you millinery loving gals out there!