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  • Christine A. Moore

The Original Mardi Gras

When you think of Mardi Gras you think of New Orleans and Bourbon Street right? Would it surprise you to know that Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama is the oldest annual carnival celebration in the United States? It started in this beautiful city in 1703, a full fifteen years before Mardi Gras started in New Orleans.

For those lucky enough to live in Mobile where they refer to Mardi Gras as Carnival the events run the entire month of February. During the month Mobile hosts a wonderful parade with elaborate floats that loop through the city and a host of events leading up to Fat Tuesday. There are virtually no commercial advertising during the Mobile parade - how refreshing! There are many Mari Gras events and masked balls where men wear white tie and tails and women wear full length gowns!

Mardi Gras season has also become entwined with the social debutant season. A time when some families present young ladies to society through time honored traditions of attending teas, balls, benefits and fundraisers for community arts and favorite projects.

You guessed it – this is where our hats come in! The look for the Mobile Mardi Gras ball circuit is an understated elegant southern belle look. Beautifully structured hats but not large like so many derby hats we do. The colors that sell well are lots of pinks, neutrals and pastels.Hats for teas and garden events are structured medium sized hats with beautiful silk trims and hand-made flowers.

Photographer : Alicia Hansen. Model : Brittany Proia

I have been collaborating with and selling to CK Collection in Fairhope, Alabama since 2008. Visit their site here, to learn more about their store. Since then we have built a great special order business. CK is the type of store I love to work with. They understand our product, how to fit a woman for a hat, and how to collaborate with a customer to ensure they are getting the right hat for their look and their event. When a customer comes into their store and finds a style of hat they love but would like it in a different color, the sales person will call us and talk us through the changes. They will even send a photo of the dress so we can more accurately match the colors. We hand dye all our straw so this process ensures a closer match. Even though our hats come with a draw string we will also block the hat to the customers exact head size. We have even scaled down designs to a proportion for a specific customer’s features, for example; making the brim an inch shorter or even wider. This is a level of service and attention to detail that comes when a collaboration between designer and store works well for the customer. Try going into a large department store and ask the salesperson to call the designer to do any of this! With so many online sales and our busy schedules this type of service is becoming rarer. We encourage a collaboration with our stores and customers and provide what we call a concierge service. In the end it is a win-win for all three! More about collaboration in upcoming blogs!

We currently have a great selection of hats at CK, so if you are in Fairhope Alabama stop and meet their staff and do some shopping! I am confident you will find the right hat for your event.

Photo Courtesy of CK Collection, 320 Fairhope Ave, Fairhope, AL 36532

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