Lifting spirits with an exhibition on hats

Irish milliner Philip Treacy's (left) hat creations (above and right) on display during a press preview of an exhibition - titled Philip Treacy. The Maestro - at the Erarta museum in St Petersburg, Russia, on Wednesday.
Irish milliner Philip Treacy's (above) hat creations on display during a press preview of an exhibition - titled Philip Treacy. The Maestro - at the Erarta museum in St Petersburg, Russia, on Wednesday.PHOTOS: EPA-EFE
Irish milliner Philip Treacy's (left) hat creations (above and right) on display during a press preview of an exhibition - titled Philip Treacy. The Maestro - at the Erarta museum in St Petersburg, Russia, on Wednesday.
Irish milliner Philip Treacy's hat creations (above) on display during a press preview of an exhibition - titled Philip Treacy. The Maestro - at the Erarta museum in St Petersburg, Russia, on Wednesday.PHOTOS: EPA-EFE
Irish milliner Philip Treacy's hat creations (above) on display during a press preview of an exhibition - titled Philip Treacy. The Maestro - at the Erarta museum in St Petersburg, Russia, on Wednesday.
Irish milliner Philip Treacy's hat creations (above) on display during a press preview of an exhibition - titled Philip Treacy. The Maestro - at the Erarta museum in St Petersburg, Russia, on Wednesday. PHOTOS: EPA-EFE

ST PETERSBURG • Designer Philip Treacy, a haute couture hatmaker to the British royals and American stars, presented his collection in St Petersburg on Wednesday, saying "we all need entertainment" during a pandemic.

The 53-year-old Irishman, who counts among his clients Queen Elizabeth II, the Duchess of Cambridge and pop star Madonna, unveiled the collection at St Petersburg's Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this autumn.

Speaking to reporters at Russia's largest private museum of contemporary art, Treacy said he had defied the pandemic to bring his collection to the country's second city because people needed a happy distraction and St Petersburgers responded especially well to his creations.

"We all need entertainment at the moment... to distract us from what's happening worldwide," said Treacy, described by Vogue magazine as "perhaps the greatest living milliner".

Forty-six pieces of the designer's work feature in the Maestro Philip Treacy exhibition, which opens today and will run until March 21.

He was very touched by the warm reception the first exhibition of his works received in Russia's former imperial capital in 2015.

"Hats are about elegance and beauty," Treacy said, adding that residents of St Petersburg "understand the power of the hat" because they live in one of the world's most beautiful cities.

"You live within elegance and beauty," he said.

Presenting the new exhibition, the Erarta museum said that "both St Petersburg and the museum got under Philip Treacy's skin".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2020, with the headline 'Lifting spirits with an exhibition on hats'. Print Edition | Subscribe