PUT A LID ON IT: In the latest installment of the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s collaboration with the W Hotels, Gigi Burris has whipped up three Panama hats.
With a new hotel in Panama City, the company has turned to the New York designer to create a few toppers inspired by her travels. Made of naturally woven straw, the hats come in “The Canal,” a flat-brimmed fedora trimmed with a papaya-colored cotton grosgrain ribbon; “The Quera,” a wide flat brimmed hat with a heart-shaped crown, and “The Mangrove,” a safari-style short brim style with a crème-colored grosgrain ribbon and a peacock feather. Victoria’s Secret model Jasmine Tookes was among the first to sport one a few weeks back and she showed it off to her Instagram followers. Shoppers who don’t plan to fly to Panama City any time soon, can find the three styles online via the W Store. Retails prices range from $395 to $495.
The newly minted Duchess of Sussex has helped to fuel the trend by being photographed in one at various events this summer. At Wimbledon last month, she carried her Madewell version in the Royal Box with the Duchess of Cambridge. Even North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently got on in on the trend during a recent visit to a fish-pickling factory. Photographed laughing and standing akimbo, the leader sported a Panama hat, a short-sleeved Henley and gray pants.
In fact, world leaders have long had an affinity for the lightweight straw accessory. In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt helped to jump-start sales of Panama hats, by wearing one to check out Panama Canal construction. That same year, King Edward VII pared one with a linen suit at Goodwood. But the hat’s name is a little misleading. At the turn of the 20th century, half the population of Ecuador was part of the supply chain providing Panama hats for men in Europe and the U.S. That country along with Colombia made the lion’s share which were shipped through the Panama port. French merchants, who bought Panama hats in the village of Montecristi, Ecuador, are believed to have coined the name. Asked while wearing them in Paris, they reportedly responded, “Chapeaux de Panama.”