Head De Courcey‘s Arcade. Ashton Lane. Glasgow. When Karen McQueen (19) and Joan Atkinson (24) decided to turn a personal hobby and obsession for hats into a business they were unaware that plans were afoot to open a hat shop in Glasgow.

That establishment has posed a threat to their small-scale enterprise. Head. which has been ably met by a fierce determination to keep their prices minimal and by a characteristically quirky flair for fashion which is winning them a growing reputation. Discerning chapeau hunters are increasingly crowding into their cramped space in De Courcey‘s Arcade.

When they opened the shop in June their stock consisted mainly of hats from London designers‘ Hat Attack. Jill Corbett and Siggy Millinery. These lines are now augmented by hats by local designers and Joan and Karen‘s own work. Although they have had no previous formal artistic or millinery training they are producing designs that are both wondrously imaginative and well-crafted.

Karen ruefully admits that many people admire the hats but lack the nerve to wear them; it would certainly take a sackful ofconfidence to stroll down the street in the

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“It’s awrap!”

With only sixteen shopping days left. The List‘s investigative reporters harness up their reindeer. hop on their sleighs and seek out some unusual and wayward establishments to compile a guide to imaginative Christmas presents.

shocking pink velour big—peaked cap. A sense of fun and flamboyance. coupled with an acute attention to the ever shifting trends of the club scene. is an endearing trait of their stock such as the leopard skin fake fur caps.

Alongside the adventurous items is a more demure. stylish array of felt boaters and trilbys but Karen explains that they try to veer away from more conventional headgear. ‘lfwe had sold hats aimed at an older clientele we‘d probably have had more immediate success.’ she explains. ‘but we’re trying to create a younger market. We choose what we like and we try to get different and unusual styles; were certainly not in competition with someone like Frasers.‘

Floppy velvet bucket hats are the customers‘ faves at the moment; black is perennially popular but Joan and Karen‘s designs are enlivened with eye-catching. colourful linings. Their own hats carry an all-important allure ofexclusivity. ‘Even ifa hat sells well.‘ she says. ‘we never repeat a style more than two or three times and we always vary each one. using different material and linings.’

The average price is around £20 with caps starting at around £8. "The most expensive hat we have just now is £32.‘ says Karen. ‘but from now on we‘re not going to sell anything over £3(l.‘ (Sara Villiers)

H cad offer 1 ( (.7? discount to students and can also arrange Hat Parties.

M any ofthe ranges in stock can be made to specification.


Daisy Chain Dowanside Lane. Glasgow. Once upon a time. in the days of poppies and pansies. there was the LOVE generation; languid youths who wore their hearts on their sleeves and blooms in their tousled locks and whose delicate idealism crumbled like petals in the winds ol'commercial temptation. Yesterdays‘s rebels are now parents and homeowners. They begat Laura Ashley and Liberty prints and have surrounded themselves with

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posy-printed furnishings which conjure vague associations with the frothy hippy days of yore. Their frilled settees and ruched curtains are complemented by tasteful displays ofdried flowers in accessorising pastel shades.

The appeal of dried flowers an erstwhile Victorian fad is now truly ubiquitous. The quintessence of preciousness. their charm rests in capturing a moment. preserving the beauty of the past. They are today's essential household icons; reassuringly evoking the spirit of nature to citydwellers fashionably captivated by the environment.

Enough ofthe hyperbole. All this is. ofcourse. merely to reassure you that dried flowers are the ‘in‘ thing. this year‘s Chrissie sensation. ‘Yer perfect pressie for everyone from houseproud auntie to trendy yuppie. (A nation stands enlightened and eagerly awaits further instruction.)

You may well contemplate a Blue Peteresque approach to the art of dried flower arranging but ifyou have neither the time. the inclination or the sticky-backed plastic to do-it-yoursclf. then fear not; there is a fecund abundance of outlets who have considerately prepared some earlier.

Daisy Chain. which nestles off the charity-shopped throng of Byres Road. is one such establishment; a dinky treasure-trove. brimming with quaint gift ideas. Bunches of blooms


The List 8— 31 December 1989 81