How can I explain my first encounter with Orlando Rene Palacios?
It involved a short elevator ride, my knees buckling and a swooning gasp in which I muttered out something like, “Oh my god, what are you and where did you come from?” What brought me to my knees? Was it the richly faded, bluish green, thick felt Spanish bowler on top of his head, or the gorgeous camel wool jodhpurs with the front laced-up legs tucked into his worn-out brown leather boots? Or the rugged Spanish hunkiness with the booming sexy voice that stopped time? Dunno. I just instantly knew that this was someone I NEEDED to know. As much as I could remember during this bliss blackout, I heard that he was a hat designer and owner of Worth & Worth, a hat shop that began in 1921, which was perfect ’cause I love hats and a lot of hats love me.
Soon after, I had an inspiration: to revive and reinstate a fifty-plus-year-old Italian straw hat that my mother adored and had given me years ago, and adorn it with the original Steiff animals on the band, along with a mohair teddy bear pin that my sister and I had found. When my mother first gave me this hat years ago, I immediately cut off all the animals and let them go, for I thought they were very silly and, of course, since my mother passed away five years ago, I have kept them at my bedside to grieve as I felt the soft mohair on my fingertips.
I accepted the spiritual expedition that was in store for me (picture a Lost-inspired epic with Javier Bardem at the helm) as I stepped into the showroom at Worth & Worth, which was filled with original wonders, and handed over the hat and the animals. As soon as I did so, I started to cry. I knew I had been guided to Orlando to honor my mother’s original style, charm, and spunk. So Orlando created a little animal farm on my hat; he stitched, steamed, and expanded it in front of my eyes. Before I left, I asked Orlando (who had just completed designing countless red hot lip hats for the Diva DVF and THE Rockettes) for some smoldering yet simple wisdom, and here’s what I received: “I make tall hats, small hats, happy hats, and sad hats. And a sad hat is a hat without a head underneath it.”
Thank you, Orlando, for your festooning, your fun, and your brilliance at creating comfort and beauty, and helping soulful memories to come true. The Dame knights you for your rich warmth and outrageous unlocking of the magical wonders that take place between a mother, a daughter, and a hat. Your conviction for topping ALL heads with hats is tucked away in my heart forever.
Drop by and get a Hat on Your Head for Fashion Night Out on Friday, September 10th, 6-11pm. The Dame and the brilliant Dame Game Blogger, Tziporah Salamon will Soul Style You for a Worth & Worth Photo Shoot amongst an incredible cast of chic characters and events plus make your own hat for a sweet song?!?!
Worth & Worth, 45 West 57 St., 6th floor, New York City, 1-800-hatshop (1-800-428-7467) or 1-212-265-2887