The milliner Philip Treacy’s €9,300 blue hat. Photos: Marc O’Sullivan

Hailed as one of the world’s most influential designers of hats, Philip Treacy flew into Dublin to help out an old college friend raise money for Saint Joseph’s, Shankill, a centre dedicated to dementia care.

Fashion designer Deborah Veale studied with Philip at NCAD in the mid-1980s and her dad, Ken, is living with dementia. Deborah came up with the idea of fundraising through fashion and when she and former top model turned PR consultant, Mari O’Leary, picked up the phone and asked Philip to take part, he agreed to come . . . and brought 16 amazing hats for last night’s sell-out Lexus Irish Fashion Collective at TCD.

Philip opened the 10-designer, 14-model show. His Rapid Protyping 3D printed headpiece (below left) is totally futuristic and a far cry from those early days 40 years ago when Philip made his first hats from feathers in Co Galway.

“It’s interesting to work with new technology, it’s like ‘Star Trek’. You feed all the information into the computer, perfect the shape, and a laser hits a vat of liquid and it starts to appear out of thin air,” he explained.

His €9,300 blue hat has featured in a campaign for Royal Ascot 2016 where new style rules decree that sheer is out and hats must be at least four inches wide.

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