First published on The Cut, 7 April 2015
The Irish milliner — responsible for SJP's and Princess Beatrice's notable headwear — shared his reflections on the much-debated term with the Cut.
A fascinator sounds like a sex toy — it doesn’t really sound like a hat. I’ve got a neighbor who’s 99, and old-school English, and one day she said to me, "Philip, what’s so fascinating about a fascinator? It’s not that fascinating."
It’s just a headdress, really, and I’ve made lots of those, but I've never aimed to make a "fascinator." The only thing I have against them is that they're potentially an opportunity for somebody to make something badly. You know, you see things like a hair band with a flower on it, and a sort of limp feather hanging off it, attached using a glue gun.
They can be beautiful. [On] Sarah Jessica Parker at the Sex and the City premiere, with the little hat that perches on the side, for example. Or Princess Beatrice at the royal wedding — that kind of scenario. I mean, I liked that it kind of wound everybody up.
Fascinator is a term that came from Australia. Blame the Australians. I don’t know why it’s called that — I think it means that it’s a bit of fun. But it’s like saying someone’s a "floozy" — which isn’t that complimentary. I have nothing against the fascinator, other than that it’s ... everything that I hate. But you know, I couldn’t care less.