A Welsh designer has helped redeem the style credentials of a Royal Princess by crowning her with a winning headpiece.
Princess Eugenie – who has suffered criticism for her choice in head wear in the past – donned a hat made by Cardiff milliner Robyn Coles at a garden party at Buckingham Palace.
The Queen hosted the second summer garden party of the 2013 season joined by her daughter, Princess Anne, and granddaughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
The sophisticated lily beret has won the young royal praise for a clever choice of a flattering and un-fussy hat.
It is thanks to the work of Robyn Coles Millinery, the Cardiff-based designer whose creations are inspired by flowers and plants.
The princess and her sister Betrice were ridiculed among fashionistas for the headpieces they wore at the wedding of their cousin William to Kate Middleton in 2011.
Both were branded “fashion flops” with the young princesses opting for “brave but unflattering creations”, with Beatrice’s “ridiculous” Philip Treacy-designed fascinator even inspiring its own Facebook page, with members posting thrown-together photos of the princess with monsters on her head.
Newspaper critics also pleaded with the Eugenie to “pick a colour” as her Treacy headpiece sprouted beige feathers, maroon flowers sitting in a blue boat-shaped hat.
But yesterday fashion critics praised the more subtle millinery created by Ms Coles, a former buyer for high fashion brands such as Armani, Liberty and Browns.
The milliner – formerly of Pontypool but now living in the Pontcanna area of Cardiff – began hat making only last year after the one-time buyer for Armani was made redundant from her job at high-end London-based retailer Brown’s.
Her designs focus is on simple, elegant designs with strong architectural shapes and bold colours.
Yesterday she said she was delighted to gain the support of a royal clients
“I think that the princesses do love to support British fashion talent, as seen by her wearing the Robyn Coles piece.”
While Princess Beatrice wore a dove grey silk beret with large side rose – a twin of the same hat she has in bright fuchsia pink, Eugenie opted for an equally-elegant floral design.
Claire Rees, a Cardiff-based personal stylist at www.stylemered.com said the look was sophisticated.
“I saw Robyn’s collection during London Fashion Week back in September and this was one of my favourite pieces, along with a gorgeous wide-based hat covered in hundreds of tiny white roses,” she said.
“I think Princess Eugenie looked great – the fresh white flower and sage base was fresh and sophisticated, perfect for spring, and the shape flattering and un-fussy, showing that great hats don’t have to cover your face.
“It’s lovely to see her following the Duchess of Cambridge’s lead and supporting a British designer, in this case a Prince’s Trust company by a Welsh milliner.
“Given that Eugenie and her sister love their fashion-forward head pieces – see Beatrice at the royal wedding in the controversial Philip Treacy ‘spaghetti’ hat – Robyn is a perfect match and I hope to see the royal wearing the Welsh brand again and again.
“If I were Eugenie in this case I might have emphasised the gorgeous bright yellow stem with a matching clutch or heel, rather than the less exciting black she chose.
“But then this is the Queen’s garden party – there is a limit to how crazy you can go.”
The Royal Hats Blog said the Robyn Coles design was ideal for the occasion.
The Hatqueen wrote: “I’m not entirely sold on a hat which places a giant calla lily smack on top of one’s head, but I suppose if there’s ever an occasion to wear this hat, it’s to a garden party.
“It’s currently for sale on Boticca in case you have a garden party on your calendar this summer want to pick up.”