The British have made something of a sport over who can have the best fancy headgear, so it should come as no surprise that milliners have joined in the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Grazia Daily and the Mayor of London have teamed up to adorn twenty-one of London’s most iconic statues with couture hats for one week. Hatwalk is part of the Mayor’s Festival of Surprises, so organizers had to sneak out and place the hats in the middle of the night to keep it a secret until the last minute.
These hats may seem silly, but the event was planned with scientific rigor. After the designs were completed, each hat was placed atop an exact replica of its intended statue head and tested in a MIRA wind tunnel (the kind they use to improve car aerodynamics). Structural engineers evaluated the results and tweaked the designs to make sure they would stay put even in the most averse London weather. Some of the city’s taller statues also posed challenges—Lord Nelson stands at a towering 5.5 meters! Organizers had to block off Trafalgar Square and procure one of only two cranes tall enough to do the job. Check online for a map of all the hats; however, some may be hard to find. William Shakespeare’s bunny hat has already been stolen.