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Jackson’s Hat News

June 26, 2009

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Mr Paparazzi took his last pictures 10 days ago, in which his classic black felt fedora stands out.

These are some of MJ’s hat ramification. National day of mourning. 

The Philadelphia Enquierer

“On another occasion, Jackson was walking through a crowd of young people and somebody grabbed his fedora. “Don’t worry about me. Go get my hat,” Jackson said, adding that it was a treasured possession. A New Jersey state trooper retrieved the hat and Jackson had “tears in his eyes.””

The Telegraph UK

“Thousands of records, DVDs and one-off items were on sale, including an original signed Fedora hat – one of Jackson’s trademarks – for sale for $9,750 (£5,950).”

The Associated Press

“His whispery, high-pitched speaking voice was constantly imitated, his fedora hat on his lean frame instantly recognizable, his childlike image endearing.”

The Examiner

“He was a veritable pied piper with a fedora, a silver glove and the most amazing moves ever telegraphed on television since Elvis Presley.”

NBC

“Could MJ have been a hipster ahead of his time? Dancing around in his ultra-slim pants, long hair, and eyes half-hidden under the brim of a tilted fedora, he certainly got the basic idea right.”

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Call him the King of Pop, the King of Style or the King of the World. All of them would be accurate and arguable interpretations. However, they would also be commonplace. What we don’t actually remember, and few are talking about today, this historic day we are witnessing, is that Michael Jackson was the most flamboyant, revolutionary and pertinent hat-wearer. He was the King of Hats.  

Wearing one single white glove, yes, he determined an entire generation. Wearing military badges, white ankle socks and black loafers, yes, he changed the fashion paradigms of the music and clothing business. But wearing an inclined black (or white) felt fedora that hided his eyes, he became the King of the Universe.

Lets honor the man whose legacy made us all appreciate hats. 

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It’s not that a black felt fedora allows you to not wear anything at all or, in this case, to only wear clothe-pegs on your nipples and some random jeans. It may be very original, very uncomfortable, but never properly worn. Careful, a hat implies subtlety, and, remember, everything in moderation. However, the picture is clever and it shows how versatile is New York fashion. It was taken, by the way, by WALT CESSNA, the designer who posted it in the first-class, street-fashion blog, A Shaded View On Fashion. So thank him.

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Maybe is just me. As a foreigner who’s still trying to delve into the American culture, it’s probably my fault—I just don’t get the jokes. But one after the other, I still ask myself, what’s funny about Jimmy Fallon?  I do get Seinfeld, Southpark and The Simpsons, but Jimmy Fallon is simply not viable to understand. Should I think that his humor is too clever for me?

Well, I don’t know. But, anyway, his yesterday’s act with Abigail Breslin was the most childish, senseless scene I’ve ever scene in American Television. I was embarrassed, really, and sort of felt pity for one of the most legendary toppers ever, to see them doing this pointless dance with a pinch-crowned, grosgrain-trimmed, snap-brimmed, Blues Brothers-like hat, just as Fallon wittily (?) pointed out.

Jimmy Fallon lacks of interviewing skills, humor and drollness. At least he’s got The Roots.

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We insist: a hat is a matter of life and death; the breaking point of your life. Now, is this country crazy?

Well, lets see: Three residents of Quincy, Illinois, town known as the “Gem City”, have been arrested for the theft of a hat from the grave of an Adams County Sheriff. Kayla S. Harris, 26, and her mother, Pamela S. Harris, 48, were arrested and charged with felony theft after they took The Sheriff’s hat because, as they said, they wanted to give it as a present to Kayla’s boyfriend, Anthony Kroeger, 23, who was also charged, him with obstruction and misdemeanor possession of stolen property. If found guilty, each of them (picture) will face up to six years in prison.

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The Sheriff is the personification of the American Cowboy identity, as Ronald Reagan and The Bushes showed to the world. Therefore, it should be a matter of respect and veneration. Just as the American flag should be respected and ruled with set of codes that regulate its use, the Sheriff’s hat should be part of the symbols that this country must not only respect, but also honor. Careful, then, you don’t want to shoot the sheriff, or take his hat, even if it is in self-defense.

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Yes, we are here to develop and encourage hat wearing and appreciation. But in a fun, witty way, and not in the Museum of North Texas History, Wichita Falls, Texas. Sorry, Mr. Flemming, but it’s just somewhat depressing.

As a matter of fact, Nat Flemming has collected old cowboy hats for fifty-four years. He started collecting them as he opened his store called The Cow Lot in 1953. Close to the middle of nowhere, in the sort of scene we saw in No Country For Old Men, this exhibit could be the worst mistake you could ever make if you are interested in toppers, since you don’t want to listen to a one-hour speech on how a respectful, mature, old-fashioned cowboy monotonously collected hundreds of dusty hats in fifty years. Keep it simple: keep it New York. 

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Well, no quite. But two articles were published in the past two days, and one could think they want to delve into the hat scene. However, far from being accurate, the reporting is not very successful.

The first one, published yesterday and titled Al Capone, Malcolm X, Pacquiao: How to rock proper toppers, is based on this now-common thesis that states that hats aren’t thriving among the younger generations. We are here to contradict that statement and to assure readers that, even though we don’t witness a society covered in hats, as some did in the ’30s, it is completely vague to ignore the hat generation taking place nowadays, especially in New York, city, by the way, where The Examiner is written. The author, Michael Marley, in an awkwardly redacted piece, develops the idea we read in Hatless Jack, the book by Neil Steinberg: since President Kennedy’s hatless presentation, the hat landscape is plunging. We believe they’re wrong, since, in the past five to ten years, fedoras and Kangols are taking the runway. Examples? Read this blog tomorrow, the day after and so on.

One example, though, is the Ascot Racecourse, a clear illustration that shows how hats go beyond time and keep ruling the world of fashion. In fact, there’s an article in today’s Examiner about it, by Karen Dawson, in which we are told the basic tips to wear a hat in Britain’s biggest hat party. One, for instance, that an important element to wearing a topper is wit, confidence and a special personality that imposes style.

Is The Examiner reporting on hats? Lets hope so, but the start has been quite awkward and shaky. Keep trying.


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Philip Treacy, Irish born in 1967, could be the most important hat designer in the world. During the ‘90s he won the British Accessory Designer of the Year for five times, and in 2005 was commissioned to hat on the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker. Also, he designed the controversial, yet interesting, foot-high, flower-confectioned hat that Sara Jessica Parker wore in the ‘Sex and The City’ premier.

Well, yesterday morning, the 81-year-old Hollywood diva ordered 28 different hats from Treacy after having gotten impressed by a hairpin he did for her and having seen all the models in a hotel-lounge in London, where the cocktail-sharing and the Aretha Franklins set the tones.

It is, however, our obligation, since we are a hat-focused institution, to show our concern about Taylor’s errand. It wasn’t enough, and it will never be enough. As the star she is, one who revolutionized the hat-wearing manners, Taylor should have bought 50 hats, and celebrate with a gin-tonic, show off, hat party on a rooftop next to the Thames River. But she didn’t, and we are very concerned about it. Esteemed Elizabeth, we would appreciate some understanding.

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No more Che Guevara, please. We had enough with Benicio del Toro this year. Yes, Guevara was very innovative and handsome, but, please, stop selling us his overused myth in every way possible. Now, it turns out, his hot, sensual, exquisite granddaughter is using him as a way to start a vegetarian revolution. Lydia Guevara, 24, posed yesterday for a Spanish photographer; torso naked, covered only by a sling loaded with carrots as bullets, and sensually insinuating. So it’s not only the Colombian guerrillas, the northern-Europe communist kids and Fidel Castro who are using the classic Guevara symbol to promote themselves. Now is also his granddaughter. Please, just leave him alone.

Perhaps the thing that has made him so popular, so mainstream and fashionable, is the style he use to have, with his thick cigar, impressive expressions, avant-garde attitude, and, above everything, his beret, his revolutionary, Basque-style, silver-metal-red-star-on-the-front beret. So popular is this image, so widely promoted, that there is even a store online where you can buy every single Che-accessory you can imagine. Exasperating revolution. 

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