Capitalizing on numerous queries from her Chinese customers about hat do’s and don’ts, American milliner Elisabeth Koch offers a course called “Hatiquette” to corporate clients and finishing schools like Institute Sarita in Beijing for 10,000 renminbi, or $1,612.
“Hats are not a traditional Chinese thing to wear,” Koch said. “I’ve seen a lot of people wear felt hats in the summer. I’ve seen people wear hats backward. People have no clue sometimes.”
Sara Jane Ho, founder of Institute Sarita, offers Koch’s class as part of her 10-day hostess and debutante courses (80,000 renminbi, or $12,870) after she noticed Chinese women wearing wide- brimmed hats indoors at gala dinners.
“Brimmed hats should be taken off after sunset and upon going indoors,” Ho said. “After gauging interest with my hostess and debutante students, realized they had a great interest in toying with hats, but great confusion over what circumstances in
I which to wear them.” For eight years, Koch has handcrafted hats for China’s rich and famous. Recently, business has spiked with increased interest in equestrianism and the launch of polo clubs and the global parties surrounding horse racing, such as the Royal Ascot or the Melbourne Cup, which some of her clients attend.
“At the Royal Ascot,” she said, “you’ll definitely not get in if your hat is not suitable.”