The Mad Hatters of Paris: The Bates of London Hat Shop

While on a walk on the Rue de Rivoli,  I discovered the beautiful and proper Hat shop  The Bates Gentleman’s Hatter from London.  It is here in the land-of-people-who-wear hats you’ll find this shop. Steps away from the HOTEL MEURICE, the bankers abound in this neighborhood. You’ll know one when you see one as they tend to walk on a somewhat isolated path, wearing their hats with defiance.  That’s a sight to see.  Now, to the average American person, this is like being on Mars.   Fortunately,  ARTIFICE is spared this banality having dressed many movie stars in hats for period movies.  So, we do know a good hat when we see one.  The hats that most typical Americans see tend to pop up in music videos on the head of a pop singer or at train station in Philadelphia (with a plastic cover on it). This, is not  a proper way to wear a hat.  Thus, we feel its important to share this with you:  The proper use of a hat, its caring, feeding and styling.

So what does a proper hat really look like?  

It’s the shape; the brim, the lovely grosgrain ribbon.  A good hat has the ability to be re-shaped to fit a particular head within its size range. Hats  come in all shapes and sizes, colors and materials, for Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer.   It was with particular amusement  we noticed that the names are emblazoned on the hats to make sure you knew what they are called. Thus, the “Homburg” or the “Fedora” rather than a SMYTHSON or DELFORDSHIRE for example which would lead one to wonder exactly where or when to wear it.  Now that English period dramas have taken hold of American television, audiences are used to seeing men in hats.  Once again, the English have saved the American Gentleman from ruin.

Education, in the world of hats with ARTIFICE.   Priceless.


Now, about those hat boxes.  We simply fell in love with the boxes, with their engraved labels and black and white graphics.  They seemed at once modern and at the same time, terribly antique.  A hat, to a man, is perhaps not on his list of most necessary things.  But, if you are going to wear one, please do it properly, and if possible, make sure it’s English and for goodness sake, choose the proper size for your head.

And, in the summer, make mine a Panama, please.   If you’re really serious, add the Mint Julep to go with it, and the linen suit, and proper shoe.  Now, go out and find your own empire….you’ll have the hat for it.


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