Welcome to Pattern Recognition: a column about fads for the trend-obsessed.
Like so many trends, this one starts with Rihanna. A few weeks ago the singer made headlines for a look she sported to go to the bookstore: feathered vintage jeans from Tom Ford’s reign at Gucci, and a massive, furry hat by London designer Benny Andallo. The proportions were on par with Marc Jacobs’s hat for his fall 2012 collection. That is to say: substantial.
Rihanna has worn Andallo’s hat, a pistachio green one from British milliner Emma Brewin back in early 2020, and, most recently, a zebra-print number from R13. But she’s not the only one on board. Hailey Bieber wore a yellow furry hat in March (along with a matching patent-leather suit), they appeared on the runway at Acne Studios’s fall 2021 show, on Dua Lipa at the airport, and on Gigi Hadid in the pages of Vogue. Last weekend, Brewin had a sample sale on Instagram and I watched as each sold in a matter of hours. “I feel like a mix between a chic old lady and Jamiroquai, with a splash of Pamela Anderson,” Vogue market editor Alexandra Gurvitch tells me of the experience of wearing one. “Which is kind of the line I am always trying to toe.” Millinery is generally reserved only for the adventurous fashion risk takers—it’s hard to be a wallflower when you have something on your head—but the fuzzy bucket hat takes it to new levels.
Rihanna’s are hardly the first of their kind. Both Gurvitch and Andallo say they connect the bucket to Jamiroquai, the ’90s british funk and acid-jazz band. The trend is broadly associated with the ’90s, furry Kangols and the bubblegum pink top hat Anderson wore to the 1999 VMAs. Then there were Jacobs’s 2012 hats which never really caught on off the runway. Eleven years later, though, is another story. Lavishly impractical and endlessly conversation starting, they’re to 2021 what tiny bags were to 2019.
The tiny bag trend—spurred by the quarter sized Le Chiquito from Jacquemus—was catnip for meme creators. “What do you fit in there?” and more broadly “why?” But nonetheless, they became a sensation, popping up on the streets, on the runway, and on the red carpet. Lizzo took a postage-stamp sized Valentino with her on the red carpet at the 2019 American Music Awards, then a few months later posted a video on Instagram of herself pulling out large items from her very small lilac Jacquemus. “Yall wanna know whats in my tiny bag bitch?” she wrote in the caption. Truly the epitome of playful fashion. The kind that always leaves you wanting to know a little bit more.