Pot Heads

Designer headdresses for AIDS benefit


This one doesn't bite heads.

Crowned "most beautiful"

Heatherette's entry

Easter bonnets on steroids or a miniature garden party for your head: The annual Tulips & Pansies fundraiser featured a bit of both this year, with 15 teams of New York designers and flower shops joining forces to construct gargantuan floral headdresses that were as endearingly oddball as they were innovative. Proceeds from the unusual event, held at South Street Seaport's Bridgewaters, went to Village Care, a not-for-profit organization that offers residential and mental-health services to people with AIDS.

We were asked to be a judge for the contest that evening and, admittedly, were a little apprehensive when we heard the words floral and headdress used together—anything flowery that sits on your hair conjures images of bad Blossom sunflower hats or Dynasty-era bridal disasters.

We had grossly underestimated the submissions. Betsey Johnson sent a model down the runway in one of her spring 2006 Western-inspired eyelet dresses and a giant cowboy hat made entirely of roses; the House of Bill Blass and Verde Flowers weaved blossoms and jewels into a beehive-like wig of human hair. Showroom XS partnered with Spruce for a Siouxsie Sioux-worthy creation pierced with a soil-filled rod that could be registered as a deadly weapon. Some entries moved beyond the confines of the chapeau: There was a praying mantis with extendable arms constructed from leaves and bamboo; a water molecule of carnations, worn by a bronzed muscle man with a hot-pink thong and stupendous, gravity-defying buttocks; a "tornado" of branches, blossoms, and debris that engulfed the entire body of a patient male model, who had supposedly worn the whole arrangement since 3 p.m. An empty box of McDonald's Chicken McNuggets perched precariously near his abdomen, threatening to take a dive for the runway floor any minute.

The award for "most beautiful" went to design group FORM and M&J Trimming's creation, a cluster of massive bud-covered globes surrounding the face of a masked model. FORM's Nuala Hussey painstakingly constructed the elaborate sculpture from 1,000 buds, which had to be pinned to the base one by one. It was so spectacular even other contestants thought it should win. Richie Rich—whose own Heatherette entry was a stunning turn-of-the-century eel trap strung with yellow buds and encircling the wearer's entire head—took a moment from gazing at his lovely visage in a handheld compact and declared the astounding FORM piece his favorite.


For images of all the headresses, go to the website of photographer Matt Peyton.

 
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