Entertainment & Arts

London 2012: Lord Nelson gets makeover for Olympics

Lord Nelson's statue
Image caption Lord Nelson stands proud in Trafalgar Square, with his new hat
King George IV
Image caption King George IV's new headwear was designed by Stephen Jones
Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill statues in Bond Street
Image caption Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill have also been given makeovers
1st Duke of Wellington
Image caption A statue of the 1st Duke of Wellington is decorated in the City of London
Major General Sir Henry Havelock
Image caption A mirrored effect was used on British General Sir Henry Havelock's hat

If you head down to Trafalgar Square, you will see something of a surprise, as Lord Nelson's statue has been given a makeover.

London's iconic statues, including Sir Winston Churchill's, have been adorned with hats created by top designers.

Hatwalk was commissioned as part of the London 2012 Festival by the Mayor of London and features a design by celebrity milliner Philip Treacy OBE.

Lord Nelson's hat was winched 169ft in the air and put on his head by a crane.

The new hat, complete with Olympic torch, was designed by the oldest hatters in London, Lock & Co.

Image caption Designer Philip Treacy spent 18 months working on "Hatwalk"

They were established in 1676 and are famous for making Nelson's original bicorn hat.

Philip Treacy, best known for his catwalk collaborations with Alexander McQueen, has crowned the British General Sir Henry Havelock.

Princess Beatrice wore one of his hats to the Royal Wedding last year and later it was sold for £81,000 at a charity auction .

His creations have been used in all of the Harry Potter films and other fans of his work include singer Lady Gaga and Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker.

Fierce character

Of his challenge working with Sir Henry's statue, Treacy said he was "a rather forbidding and fierce character".

He added: "I really felt he could do with some cheering up, especially since he sits in Trafalgar Square, which in the build up to the Games has been the focus of pre-Olympic excitement.

"I thought he needed a hat that placed him at the heart of the celebrations rather than on the outside, looking on, sternly."

Also in Trafalgar Square, Stephen Jones, famous for collaborating with fashion houses Versace and Jean Paul Gaultier has given King George IV a golden-domed hat, "inspired by the Brighton Pavilion".

"Britain has long been credited as being the centre of the modern millinery world," Jones said.

"And these hats are the work of our most celebrated and inspired creators," he added.

Among the 20 statues, for which hats have been made, are William Shakespeare and Winston Churchill on Bond Street.

Former millinery favourite of the Princess of Wales, John Boyd is responsible for fashioning a new headpiece for Franklin D. Roosevelt on Bond Street.

And William Chambers' a Red Red Rose headpiece was created for Robert Burns on Victoria Embankment.

All the hats will be auctioned off to raise money for the Mayor's Fund.

"You've got to take your hats off to London," Mayor Boris Johnson said.

"The cutting edge style and imagination of London's millinery talent is feted worldwide and is setting the international catwalks alight.

"I can't think of a better way to celebrate the heritage of British millinery and its contribution than by dressing our most noble of statues."

Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, which also took part in the project, said the project sums up British fashion as "innovative, fun and creative".

Hatwalk is part of "Surprises", which sees pop-up performances spring up at locations across London throughout the summer like no other.

Other surprises include Sacrilege - a life-sized inflatable replica of Stonehenge by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller .

Hatwalk will be on display until August 2.

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