Making a hat for ‘Arthurs Whiskey’ film

We’ve been bit slow to catch up on this…..mainly due to the fact I don’t have Sky Cinema so had to source someone who I could pester to let me come round to watch Arthurs Whisky on their subscription!

Early last year, we had the pleasure of being contacted by a costume designer we have worked with before to make a hat for Sky’s ‘Arthur’s Whiskey’ film.

Our brief was to copy an existing hat so that the  younger counterpart of the main character could have their own hat to film with and wasn’t sharing with the other actress. At the point of being asked I had no idea about anything about the film, all I knew was that it had to be a copy, and that the original hat was not allowed to leave the film set.

Now its very difficult to make an exact copy of a hat from a few photographs and absolutely no measurements. So I was invited to the set to measure and colour match the hat. Before I went I did my research and got as many felt hoods in as I could to take with me to match the colour of the hat (many thanks to Doug at Ascot Top Hats for his assistance with this and his epic materials stash!)

So off I went to Whiteley Village, where parts of the film were being filmed,  to measure and take images for reference points from the original hat…..This is when I learned that the main character of the film and the owner of original hat was non other than Diane Keaton…….I only found this out when Diane Keaton and myself were somehow suddenly alone in the same room! The rest of the morning was the most unexpected experience, meeting Diane Keaton and followed by a very very surreal set of circumstances! (but that’s a story for another day).

Back to the hat………Sourcing a felt in the right colour proved near impossible, none of the felts I took with me were the right colour. But now I was no longer in the vicinity of the original hat, it all had to be done by memory! A very rushed and last minute drive up to one of our suppliers to look for alternatives did not yield the results i hoped…  then came lots of late night attempts dying with tea and checking the tones in daylight. Finally with the correct colour only committed to memory…I believed we got there.

We didn’t have quite the right hat blocks to hand but again managed to borrow a crown block from @ascottophats, and for the brim #screwfix came to the rescue with pipe insulation! The whole hat was a test to problem solving on a tight deadline, and what with never being able to compare our final hat with the original….it was a long and nervous wait for the film to come out to see how our handiwork faired…….(made even longer by the fact I don’t have Sky Cinema)

But finally we saw our work in action! It would take a very critical eye to spot the differences between the two hats, Our hat is one worn by Genevieve Gaunt whilst Diane Keaton wears her original hat….and if you watch carefully you can even see our label inside the hat in one of the scenes!

And of course a special thanks to Kate and Ali my team who both had very important parts in making this hat.

Arthurs Whiskey is on Sky Cinema now………Can you spot the difference?

If you have enjoyed this blog, you can read about making Hats for Call the Midwife here.

N.B. Please note we can not copy other designers work for our general work as it breaches copyright

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