Massive Fuzzy Bucket Hats Are 2021’s Tiny Bags

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Welcome to Pattern Recognition: a column about fads for the trend-obsessed.

Like so many trends, this one starts with Rihanna. A few weeks ago the singer made headlines for a look she sported to go to the bookstore: feathered vintage jeans from Tom Ford’s reign at Gucci, and a massive, furry hat by London designer Benny Andallo. The proportions were on par with Marc Jacobs’s hat for his fall 2012 collection. That is to say: substantial.

Rihanna has worn Andallo’s hat, a pistachio green one from British milliner Emma Brewin back in early 2020, and, most recently, a zebra-print number from R13. But she’s not the only one on board. Hailey Bieber wore a yellow furry hat in March (along with a matching patent-leather suit), they appeared on the runway at Acne Studios’s fall 2021 show, on Dua Lipa at the airport, and on Gigi Hadid in the pages of Vogue. Last weekend, Brewin had a sample sale on Instagram and I watched as each sold in a matter of hours. “I feel like a mix between a chic old lady and Jamiroquai, with a splash of Pamela Anderson,” Vogue market editor Alexandra Gurvitch tells me of the experience of wearing one. “Which is kind of the line I am always trying to toe.” Millinery is generally reserved only for the adventurous fashion risk takers—it’s hard to be a wallflower when you have something on your head—but the fuzzy bucket hat takes it to new levels.

Rihanna’s are hardly the first of their kind. Both Gurvitch and Andallo say they connect the bucket to Jamiroquai, the ’90s british funk and acid-jazz band. The trend is broadly associated with the ’90s, furry Kangols and the bubblegum pink top hat Anderson wore to the 1999 VMAs. Then there were Jacobs’s 2012 hats which never really caught on off the runway. Eleven years later, though, is another story. Lavishly impractical and endlessly conversation starting, they’re to 2021 what tiny bags were to 2019.

The tiny bag trend—spurred by the quarter sized Le Chiquito from Jacquemus—was catnip for meme creators. “What do you fit in there?” and more broadly “why?” But nonetheless, they became a sensation, popping up on the streets, on the runway, and on the red carpet. Lizzo took a postage-stamp sized Valentino with her on the red carpet at the 2019 American Music Awards, then a few months later posted a video on Instagram of herself pulling out large items from her very small lilac Jacquemus. “Yall wanna know whats in my tiny bag bitch?” she wrote in the caption. Truly the epitome of playful fashion. The kind that always leaves you wanting to know a little bit more.

And that’s how I feel whenever I see someone—online or in person—with a pile of brightly colored fuzz on their head. It’s in line with many other viral trends out there, united by their surreality: psychedelic prints, the rise of mushrooms, blobs as decor, even the dizzying revival of Y2K’s good-taste-bad-taste silhouettes. Like the tiny bag, the real-world application of the furry hat is a bit more toned down. Anecdotally, I see some peach-fuzzy iteration on the street every weekend. Bella Hadid has long been a fan of this more mainstream translation (though Bella is hardly a beacon of attainable style). Regardless of size, I have a hard time imagining not smiling at the sight of one of Andallo or Brewin’s creations. That would be, to reference a character I imagine has inspired more than one fuzzy buckets, exceedingly Grinch-like. “I create for the everyday celebration,” Andallo told me over email.“I hope to bring some color, silly energy, and life to the mundane.” As we look towards reemergence, we can use all “silly energy” we can get.

In the theme of surrealist fashion, I have a few other predictions/dreams/musings for trends to come. What if…

Trompe l’oeil bags were the latest in surreal handbag trends? Gucci’s runway show makes a compelling case with the anatomically correct hearts walking down the runway. Not a bad idea for brides to be.

Jennifer Lawrence stepped out in a retro-inspired, charmingly printed house dress yesterday. That, combined with the fact that vintage Pucci is truly a hot-ticket item again, has me thinking that vintage Lilly Pulitzer should make a comeback. Take a look on Etsy for items from her original store The Lilly and get back to me. Would pair great with kerchiefs.