YOU SAY YOU DON’T look good in hats? Nonsense, says Nina Caccioppoli O’Neil, D.C. -based designer of a line of handcrafted hair accessories called Ciao Nina.
“You just haven’t figured out the best shape and color for your face and how to style your hair,” says O’Neil, who always wears some sort of hair ornament, even if it’s only a bobby pin. Her job as a curatorial assistant in the French paintings department of the National Gallery of Art makes her keenly aware about how to balance a composition.
O’Neil especially enjoys creating fascinators, which she refers to as cocktail or party hats. For millinery material, she “scours the earth,” hunting down vintage ribbons, flowers, feathers and veils from antique stores, estate sales and overseas trips. “There’s always a gala or an event to dress up for in Washington, and hats add that extra layer of polish to an outfit.” Women spend lots of time looking for shoes. If it were up to O’Neil, they’d do the same for hats.
You don’t always need an occasion, but now that it is finally spring, there are plenty of festive events — think Gold Cup, the Kentucky Derby, Mother’s Day — to encourage a search for that perfect piece of headgear.
See our slideshow above for some head-turning suggestions.
— Janet Kelly