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Hats Off

Aretha Franklin garnered attention at the inauguration, and not only for her voice. One question was on the minds of millions: what was she wearing on her head?

Aretha Franklin sings during the inauguration ceremony.

Aretha Franklin might have garnered lots of attention singing “My Country This of Thee” at the inauguration, but it wasn’t only for her voice. One question was on the minds of millions – what was she wearing on her head? Turns out a collaboration between the artist and Detroit-based milliner Luke Song. According to Song, Franklin came in to his Detroit showroom last week looking for a special hat for the big day. “She’s our regular customer and comes to us often,” Song said. “She actually had three to choose from for that day, but went with her second choice. It probably looked better on camera.”


Franklin donned a heather gray wool piece that Song had hand-molded to give it some serious shape. The trim and ribbon were decorated with Swarovski crystals and would run in the regular collection for $179. For those who don’t get up to Detroit too often, Song wholesales under the label Mr. Song Millinery throughout New York, California and much of the South.


“We’re big in Southern states but being in Detroit is good for us,” Song said. “There are a lot of big stars that come through to this town – gospel singers, lots of big-name church people who want to wear big hats. Some big names come through Detroit.”

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