I’ve always thought of Ignatius Hats as the Willy Wonka of Petersburg. Ignatius Creegan and Rod Givens are real-deal milliners, hand-making beautiful creations in an old-world style I have never seen anywhere else, not even at Derby-focused hat shops in Lexington, Kentucky. Their studio in Petersburg, Va., doesn’t have a storefront—instead they sell at various events and shows and, most recently, on Etsy. Their hats have been featured in movies and are in the private collections of celebrities ranging from Steven Tyler to Sissy Spacek.
How do these creations come into existence? In my mind, Creegan and Givens retreat into some magical room stacked with straw, felt, rarely-seen machines, and half-fabricated fantastically shaped hats to dream up their whimsical fascinators, cloches, fedoras, and the like, then will them into existence through some mysterious, labor-intensive process that most Americans no longer appreciate or understand.
These hats are not the $20 fedoras you pick up at Target to wear to the pool. They are one-of-a-kind creations made using antique straw sewing machines the owners have acquired from around the world and antique hat blocks from the 1930s and ‘40s that they’ve painstakingly collected. These hats are a nod to the days when you left your house wearing heels, gloves, and a matching hat. This is all to say, Ignatius Hats are an investment.
I purchased the pictured hat at the Visual Art Center of Richmond’s Craft + Design Show three years ago. I generally plan to choose one splurge-worthy item at this event each year and when I tried this piece on, I had to have it. I love the vintage-inspired shape, unique loop, and overall style that is unique but also wearable. Here are a few other styles Ignatius hats will be showing:
Your chance to shop these chic chapeaus and many more started today and runs through Sunday at Quirk Hotel. Today through Friday, the show runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday is 12 to 4 p.m. Hat prices generally start around $150, but it looks like there will be visors starting around $65 at this event. There will also be some styles marked at 40 percent off. You can bet I’ll be by to try some things on!