Beekeeper Hats & Prairie Dresses Are Ruling the Runways

Yes, they are. From New York to London, one of the most prevalent trends to have emerged is the prairie dress – defined by its long sleeves and frilled hems and an overall simplicity – and a beekeeper hat.

Peter Pilotto Spring/Summer 2019 show in London. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION.

Coach and Batsheva, the CFDA-nominated brand from former lawyer Batsheva Hay, have been championing the style since the beginning of this year. Of course, Coach is inherently Americana in its approach to dressing; and Batsheva, a new name to the fold, has built a business on vintage Laura Ashley styles that tap into the modern pioneer woman over the past two years. You’ll have clocked her styles on the front row.


But now the trend has taken serious hold – even at brands such as Peter Pilotto, which now has far more a leaning in eveningwear and resortwear aesthetic, included some wafting waists and tiered skirts. More prevalent was the style at Erdem, the designer taking inspiration from the time in which they originally dropped into fashion – the late 1800s. And both Ryan Lo and Simone Rocha wandered into this territory, too, with Markus Lupfer giving us a far more romantic approach this season, his set accordingly strewn with the relevant sand and grass strands as though the plains were right there. Bora Aksu, for whom the prairie dress has long been a recurring signature, once again returned to them. And one couldn’t help but notice them on the fashion pack as the last of September’s hot sunny days so easily lent themselves to wearing one.  


Similarly popular, though perhaps more surprisingly so, has been the recurrence of a good bonnet and beekeeper style hat up top. Everyone seems to love fastening them in place with some sheer fabric to make for something rather spectacular and for a moment of stepping back in time.

Fashion East Spring/Summer 2019 show in London. Photos by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.

Over at Fashion East, Yuhan Wang, who was part of the Central Saint Martins MA showcase back in February (and, I recall, one of the strongest collections at the time), made her second LFW appearance. Drawing on portraits of Regency women as well as the language of Chinese dress, she sent out her twisted dainty dresses, topped with wide bouncing brims. It was an elegant offering between the two other labels Charlotte Knowles and Asai, whose sensibilities are far more eclectic and layered.


Simone Rocha, too, was wooed by the wide brim. This collection was lighter in touch and feel. Where last season it felt like she had got stuck and needed to progress, she managed that this time, new shapes and flashes of flesh mixed in among her worked embroideries and prints. It was a beautiful collection and expanded her repertoire further, coats and dresses combined.

Simone Rocha Spring/Summer 2019 show in London. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.

Her show notes, always a poem of lovely descriptors, declared: “hat towers.” Which seems a very appropriate way to sum up the trend that wandered out onto Erdem’s catwalk this week, too. The designer had truly plundered the Victorian era. 

Notably it, the beekeeper-style hat, looks great on the catwalk and will have editorial legs, but is unlikely to be a trend that stands the test of working in real life. One imagines...