PACKABLES COME ON STRONG
A NEW TRAVEL STAPLE HAS EMERGED: HATS.

Byline: Karen Parr

NEW YORK — Whether they travel to St. Tropez or Tupelo, packable hats are becoming indispensable accessories.
Unlike their utilitarian — and frequently unattractive — predecessors, packable hats are exhibiting a high degree of savvy this spring, with designers offering pieces ranging from easy cloth crushers to wide-brimmed, delicate straw picture hats.
“Just because someone’s traveling doesn’t mean they should look like Gilligan when they get there,” said Steven Kokin, designer for Kokin here.
He uses such materials as linens and cloth ribbons sewn in concentric circles, in a palette that includes a lot of neutrals — black, navy, bone, white and chocolate — with occasional color accents. Wholesale prices are from $28 to $85.
At Eric Javits here, marketing director Barbra Musial said the response at retail to the company’s packable hats has been “stellar.”
For spring, Javits has expanded on the classification with different size brims, textures like two-tone braids, hand-painting and water repellency. Javits hats wholesale from $58 to $125.
For spring, Claudia Rapisarda of the eponymous hat line here has packable materials ranging from doupioni silk, cotton pique, taffeta and denim to raffia straw and soft three-tone paglina straw, wholesaling from $47 to $78. For the paglina hats, she offers matching beach bags, handbags and backpacks.
Designer Jennifer Circelli, at Drozak Studio here, said her ultrafeminine hats made of sinamay, a lightweight straw, is a good sun blocker, but one can still see through the brim.
She hand-dyes her hats, and added trims such as chiffon bows, flowers and tortoise beads for spring. Wholesale prices range from $25 to $38.
At Orli, here at Drozak Studio, unique straws are used for the firm’s packables. These come in many colors — natural, black, brown, taupe, navy, pale blue and peach. In addition, Orli is doing straw hats with a woven pattern that looks like crocheted yarn.
Santa Monica, Calif.-based Louise Green, said she usually does hats in packable straw for people going on vacation.
For this spring, she has introduced a glamorous cut-and-sewn hat of almost transparent cotton scrim and also in nearly transparent silk.
Wholesale prices are $45 to $62.
David Cohen, designer of the eponymous line represented at Showroom Seven here, has taken the packable idea to a new marketing level.
For spring, he has introduced “The Hat Pac,” a clear, cylindrical carrier that encases a packable crusher. Cohen’s reversible crushers are made of twill and doupioni silk and wholesale for $21 to $28.
“This hat can be worn year-round, it’s water repellent, it’s modern,” Cohen said. “People are so busy, they don’t have time to fuss — especially when traveling.”