Napoleon fever confirmed as hat sells for €350,000

Napoleon’s hat, which was collected, after the battle of Waterloo, by a Dutch captain, fetched a better than expected price at auction. (AFP)
Updated 18 June 2018
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Napoleon fever confirmed as hat sells for €350,000

  • The final price far exceeded the expected €30,000 to €40,000 for the distinctive “bicorne” hat, which Napoleon wore sideways — rather than with points at the front and back — so he could easily be spotted on the battlefield.
  • Auctioneer Etienne De Baecque: “There’s a sort of craze going on with historical souvenirs, in particular those from Napoleon.”

LYON: A two-cornered military dress hat thought to have belonged to Napoleon went for €350,000 ($406,000) at auction on Monday, the latest sale to highlight the boundless appetite for all things associated with the emperor.
The final price far exceeded the expected €30,000 to €40,000 for the distinctive “bicorne” hat, which Napoleon wore sideways — rather than with points at the front and back — so he could easily be spotted on the battlefield.
The identify of the buyer was not disclosed.
“There’s a sort of craze going on with historical souvenirs, in particular those from Napoleon,” Etienne De Baecque, the auctioneer leading the sale in the eastern city of Lyon, told AFP.
Yet despite details that suggest the hat is one of about 120 the “Little Corsican” went through during his 15 years in power, there is no conclusive proof it belonged to him.
Most of them were made by the French hatmakers Poupard in black felted beaver fur, though only a handful of confirmed examples still exist.
“There are some distinctive elements: Napoleon hated the internal band so he always had it removed,” as is the case with the model sold Monday, De Baecque said.
It has long been attributed to the emperor, with records confirming its ownership since a Dutch captain took it as a war trophy after the battle of Waterloo in 1815.
The auction house said the hat was sold with the box used for its display at the World Expo in Brussels in 1897.
It had passed down through the captain’s family until the end of the last century, when it was sold to a French collector.
Monday’s sale still fell short of the €1.9 million paid for a Napoleon bicorne four years ago — part of a prestigious collection auctioned off by Monaco’s royal family — to the owner of the South Korean food and agriculture giant Harim.
Demand for all things Napoleon has often sent prices spiralling well above estimates.
Last November a fragile gold laurel leaf from the crown made for Napoleon’s coronation in 1804, weighing just 10 grams, was sold for €625,000.


Meghan presents fashion award to wedding dress designer Waight Keller

Givency's British fashion designer Clare Waight Keller poses with her award for British designer of the year Womenswear during the British Fashion Awards 2018 in London on December 10, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 11 December 2018
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Meghan presents fashion award to wedding dress designer Waight Keller

  • The two women met in early 2018, before the designer created the dress worn by Meghan for her wedding to Harry on May 19
  • The British Fashion Awards recognized Vivienne Westwood, winner of the award for positive change, for her commitment to the environment

LONDON: Givenchy’s artistic director Clare Waight Keller Monday received the British designer of the year womenswear award from Meghan Markle, whose dress she designed for her wedding to Prince Harry.
“It is such a pleasure to be here celebrating British fashion,” Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, said at the star-studded annual Fashion Awards at the Albert Hall.
The former US actress, who is pregnant, praised the “vision,” “creativity” and also “the incredible kindness” of Waight Keller.
The two women met in early 2018, before the designer created the dress worn by Meghan for her wedding to Harry on May 19.
The British Fashion Awards also recognized Vivienne Westwood, winner of the award for positive change, for her commitment to the environment.
The 77-old high priestess of punk took the opportunity to denounce the “rotten financial system” which the dame said was “the cause of all our problems.”
A long-time political campaigner, she also took aim at French President Emmanuel Macron who recently canceled fuel tax increases in the face of the “yellow vest” protests.
“This tax hurts the poor more than anybody,” Westwood said, adding “he’s not thinking that he has already given all these tax breaks to the rich people. So of course everybody is going to be annoyed.”
The model of the year award went to 17-year-old Kaia Gerber, following in the footsteps of her mother, former supermodel Cindy Crawford.
“It’s such an honor,” said the young American, on the verge of tears. “I have just a small role in making a creative vision come to life but I’m so beyond grateful to be a part of it.”
Among the other awards, Italian fashion house Gucci was named brand of the year and Italian Pierpaolo Piccioli, artistic director of Valentino, won the best designer award.