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Surprise: London Statues Get Designer Hats

The stone inhabitants of London’s Trafalgar Square are sporting new hats created by some of the UK’s best-known milliners.

The headgear is part of “Hatwalk” – which sees 20 statues around London adorned with bespoke hats by British designers including Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy. It’s one of the “surprises” put on by the Mayor of London’s Summer Like No Other programme of events.

For Trafalgar Square’s most famous resident, Admiral Lord Nelson, it’s the first time he’s changed his hat in 200 years. Fittingly, his new look was created by Lock & Co, London’s oldest hatters (est. 1676), which made Nelson’s original bicorn hat. The London 2012 version features a union flag and the Olympic torch.

Nelson’s neighbours are also sporting fancy chapeaux: a Philip Treacy fascinator for British General Sir Henry Havelock and matching bling-encrusted crowns by Stephen Jones for King George IV and his horse, while Sir Charles Napier showcases the emerging talent of Sophie Beale, winner of Grazia magazine’s search to find a breakout new millinery star.

British milliner, Stephen Jones said, “I am thrilled to be able to showcase British millinery during the year of the Olympics in London.

“From a policeman’s helmet to Her Majesty the Queen’s floral fantasies, hats have come to symbolise Britain. It is fantastic that the Mayor’s office has enabled our most modern milliners to bring this legacy up-to-date with the most fantastical creations from our most daring milliners.”

Altogether 20 well-known statues from William Shakespeare to Winston Churchill are participating in Hatwalk, which was commissioned by the Mayor of London, in partnership with BT, Grazia magazine, the British Fashion Council and the London 2012 Festival.

Have you spotted any hats on statues in London?  Check out the hatwalk map at and let us know your favourite in the comments below.