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Philip Treacy Fall 1997 Ready-to-Wear

Editor’s note: This collection was originally presented on February 26, 1997, in London, and has been digitized as part of Vogue Runway’s ongoing efforts to document historical fashion shows.

The milliner Philip Treacy enjoyed out-of-the-box success. Before his 1990 graduation from London’s Royal College of Art he landed an internship with Stephen Jones. And not long after it, he was taken up by the stylist and fashion savant Isabella Blow, who wore one of his hats for her wedding. “The whimsy is highly sophisticated,” she once said of his chapeaux, and it was on a tip from Blow that Treacy was invited to create hats for Chanel in 1991; after that, the commissions never stopped coming.

About a month after creating the toppers for Alexander McQueen’s debut at Givenchy haute couture for the spring 1997 season, the much-in-demand Treacy staged his own madcap fashion show during the fall 1997 ready-to-wear season in London. His outing was presented at the Hippodrome nightclub in London on a cast abloom with English roses—Stella Tennant, Honor Fraser, Naomi Campbell, Iris Palmer, and Jodie Kidd, among them. They wore the hatter’s fantastical creations, which ranged from a sort of cubist fedora to an enveloping shell-like construction. “Each, as ever, was a work of art, in sometimes alien, often organic, form,” noted the Evening Standard at the time.

These marvels were executed in all manner of materials, artificial and natural, including Treacy’s favored plumes. “I grew up with chickens, pheasants, and geese, so feathers are in my psyche,” the milliner told Vogue in 2013. “You can create incredible graphic shapes and lines, and that’s what hats are about. They’re all drawings–and I draw with feathers.”

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