sally caswell millinery fascinator for spring
sally caswell millinery

the central park conservancy’s annual frederick law olmsted awards hat luncheon is an iconic new york city tradition.  this year i’m gearing up to attend! my heart beats for central park, this fabulous city that I live in, and the amazing central park conservancy. it has been such an honor serving on the playground partners group.

i mean really… who wouldn’t love this place?

photos from the central park conservancy women’s committee.

but one of the most iconic things about the frederick law olmsted awards hat luncheon… is the hats!

hat luncheon 1983 - via town & country
via Town & Country
















i love this photo from the first hat luncheon in 1983—that hat is crazy wonderful! . i don’t know about you but this picture just has me wishing i could have been a fly on the wall to overhear what was sure to be a lively conversation!….. look at that wonderful woman laughing! it looks like a great time!!

while the hat luncheon is one of the most fun tickets in town, it is also a huge fundraising event for the park! the money raised greatly effects the upkeep and maintenance of our beloved public playground for kids of all ages! if you’re not familiar with the history of central park and the central park conservancy i encourage you to check out this amazing short documentary.

back to the hat luncheon…. as soon as i got my ticket to this amazingly fun annual soiree, i knew i needed to get busy finding the perfect hat for my outfit. my first stop was to my incredibly talented friend’s millinery studio: sally caswell millinery.


sally caswell millinery

while visiting her studio, i was struck by how incredibly sculptural and detailed hats can be. as a designer, i was in awe of the way they all seem to be lighter than air. hats defy gravity. they’re like ornate flower petals floating gracefully over your head. they’re magical, but full of so much structural engineering and hours and hours and hours of incredible detail work!

don’t believe me? pour yourself a glass of bubbly and take a look at this incredible eye candy:

studio visit at sally caswell millinery - look at all that sinamay!

her kentucky derby hats (left) are dramatic and springy! i’m dying for a sip of that mint julep. and look at all those lovely spring colors on the right! the bolts of sinamay and straw are so full of possibilities… but what’s really amazing is what she does with it!

stunning sculptural fascinator by sally caswell milinery - ivory and mustard with white feathers

i’m obsessed with this scuptural little fascinator. the mustard loops are so architectural and bold, especially balanced against the fluttering white feathers.

glitter fascinator and structural silk pleated hat - sally caswell millinery

talk about an evening look! this black sparkly hat on the left makes me swoon. can you imagine it with bright red lipstick and a little black dress? i certainly can… but everyone knows i love a bold red lipstick.

and don’t even get me started on the hat on the right. how is that even possible? the crisp pleating and scattered beading make my heart race. and those little feathers! it’s such a stunning contrast of structure and airiness. it completely disobeys gravity.

still breathing? maybe top off your glass of bubbly before you scroll further down… or pour yourself something stronger. you’ll need it.

swooping hats by sally caswell millinery - organic shapes and forms

what!?!? ok, these two hats had me utterly mesmerized and the swirling organic shapes left me speechless. the hat on the left is structural magic…. and i’m oddly drawn to the soft pink color which, if you know me at all, you know i’m not normally a “pink person”. and what about that stunning yellow silk abaca hat?? it is a shimmery architectural masterpiece! swooning for days! ……

my hat for the central park conservancy hat luncheon in progress at sally caswell's studio! - sally caswell millinery - darci hether new york

oh and drum roll please……. here’s a sneak peak at the sweet little bespoke fascinator sally is making for me for the central park hat luncheon. i can’t wait! that oversized fuchsia flower is going to compliment my dress perfectly.

are you going to the frederick law olmsted awards central park conservancy hat luncheon? still looking for your perfect hat? be sure to check out more of sally’s incredible creations at the hat shop located at 120 thompson street here in nyc!

central park is such a unique and defining part of living in manhattan.  i love that i get to help support it by attending this exciting luncheon… and even better that we can support it while looking fabulous.

cheers to central park and new york city in the spring! - Darci Hether New York


cheers ~ darci