There’s no bigger social occasion in Boston that calls for a hat than Party in the Park, the annual luncheon to benefit the Emerald Necklace Conservancy where superlatives are the standard.
Whose hat is highest? Most dramatic? Most feathered?
“It has an incredible sense of vibrancy,” said co-chair Lynn Dale, who has helped organize PIP since it began 13 years ago. “Even when we’ve had such terrible weather, they trot out their hats. They’re hardy souls.”
PIP is expected to draw 775 guests to Pinebank in Jamaica Plain this year. It was modeled after the Central Park Conservancy Luncheon in New York where over-the-top is the order of the day. But local milliner Marie Galvin, who fashions hats for both events out of her South End studio, said her Boston clients have “started to amp it up.”
“We’re almost on par with the New York party,” she said.
For Galvin, PIP marks the end of her busiest season, which generally starts at Easter and runs at a steady clip through the Kentucky Derby. Though she wouldn’t estimate how many hats she has made this year, her challenge is to design every client a better hat than the year before.
“This season I’ve a lot more requests from mature ladies for the fascinator. It’s so much easier and it’s very kiss-friendly,” she said. “The wide-brimmed will make you look like Amal Clooney, but it’s antisocial in a way.”
Dale recommended a straw cloche or headband trimmed in tulle and ribbon for conservative partygoers, but recalled bolder members of the PIP sisterhood who dared a peacock-feather chapeau shaped like a mohawk.
“It’s so fun, and afterward you walk around the city and see all the women with hat hair,” she said. “It’s like a secret handshake.”
Jill Radsken can be reached at email@example.com.