Success is surely ‘in the hat’

Minsk resident Marina Dukhan has created more than 200 models of hat, in most fanciful designs

Minsk resident Marina Dukhan has created more than 200 models of hat, in most fanciful designs

Marina DukhanEven Marina Timofeevna’s family has forgotten how she looks without a hat: she parades for us in her ‘Winter Island’, ‘Tsarevna Lebed’ and ‘Eiffel Tower’. The shelves of her apartment studio are filled with wild creations, like fantastic butterflies, fire-birds and, even, a sunflower.

I can’t help but think you’d have to be brave to dare leave the house wearing such beauty on your head but I take several pictures of myself wearing the fantastic headwear, and post them on Instagram.

“A real woman can create a salad, a scandal and a hat out of nothing,” laughs Marina. Her personality is certainly theatrical, taking delight in ‘shock’ value. In fact, she worked as an actress, costumier, interior designer and decorator for ten years.

Each hat she makes is immediately in demand, with those wishing to purchase her designs growing in number year on year, thanks to Internet promotion, including fashion-blogs. The extravagant models sell just as well as the more classic designs, with clients often wearing them to weddings and parties. Marina shows me photos in her portfolio. ”Here is my friend wearing one of my hats at the prestigious Baden-Baden races,” she comments. I feel silent envy at the thought. Of course, hats are de rigeur at such events.

Marina has plenty of advice as to which hats suit which people. Those petite of stature should avoid wide-brimmed hats, as should ladies with short haircuts. However, they come in handy if you need to hide other shortcomings with your hair: Gaius Julius Caesar always wore a laurel wreath, to disguise his baldness.

Marina tells me that a hat may take as little as three hours to create, or three months! She began her beaded and embroidered collection two years ago and now uses metal, plastic and wood to embellish her designs: they are truly works of art.

Friends and relatives help source materials for her, from Spain, America, Latvia and Russia, and Marina travels a great deal. She notes that the British are most fond of hats, with many beautiful and interesting models on sale. She tells me that the famous top hat was originally invented by English haberdasher John Hetherington, who promoted his design by wearing it through the streets of London. “Some women fainted, dogs barked and, when the crowd broke into a run, an errand boy fell and broke his arm!” she exclaims.

As to how many hats are needed for a woman to be happy, Marina admits that one should be enough, but it ‘must be worthwhile’.

By Inna Gorbatenko
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