The bowler hat epitomizes English fashion and culture. (Rex Features via AP Images)
London has put on a new hat to celebrate the City of London Festival in style. Today, Monday, June 23, marks the opening day of the festival’s newest venue, the Bowler Hat—which is, quite literally, a three-story tall, inflatable bowler hat. During the month-long festival, the Hat will house the likes of stand-up comics and puppet shows, playful performances that suit the space’s whimsical tone.
From Charlie Chaplin to A Clockwork Orange, this British hat has been an undeniable cultural icon throughout the years. So, let’s go on a photo tour of some of Anglophenia’s favorite Brits in bowler hats!Nothing says “London” like this. Alfred Hitchcock takes a contemplative five on the Thames in 1971. (AP Images/HO) Even when Charlie Chaplin was filming The Kid in 1921, modern times never looked so stylish. (AP) John Cleese rocks the bowler hat in order to enjoy the bright side of life. (BBC/Python Pictures) Cheer up, Matt Smith—the Eleventh Doctor looks classic while saving the universe. (BBC) Prince Charles is dignified in his bowler hat on Remembrance Day in 2011. (Michael Dunlea/AP) Thom Yorke of Radiohead dons the bowler hat to brave the rain showers of Glastonbury 2011. Fashion-forward Yorke is, of course, no stranger to the wonders of the bowler hat. (Yui Mok/AP) Winston Churchill, another hat devotee, brings the best of British style to a 1929 White House visit. (AP)
In between performances of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen took some quality time for New York City sightseeing, bowler hats and all. Here they are posing with Rockefeller Center’s 2013 Christmas Tree. (Click here to see even more adorable photos of their adventures. You know you want to.)Another pair of hats, and a royal one at that! Prince William and Prince Harry look especially in sync on a 2007 spring day. (Stefan Rousseau/AP) In the end, few are more naturally suited to the bowler hat than the everyday Englishman. (Bob Dear/AP)
Have you ever worn a bowler hat? Let us know in the comments!
Iconic British Things Part 1: The Bowler Hat
PHOTOS: Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen’s NYC Adventures, Remembered