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March 19, 2013

Easter parade comes early for Troy Garden Club

By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Troy Garden Club members model hats created by milliner Luke Song. He brought 24 of his hats to the Troy Garden Club meeting March 13.
Milliner Luke Song examines a hat that Troy resident Elanore Stepanski has had for 60 years.
Linda Vittands models this fascinator hat.
 

Although wind gusted and flurries flew, the chilly weather didn’t dampen the sunny spring mood inspired by the millinery creations of Luke Song and flowers by floral designer Jody Costello of fleudetroit at the March meeting of the Troy Garden Club.

The featured theme of the March 13 meeting was “Bonnets and Bouquets.”

Hat-maker Luke Song did not disappoint. After all, he designed the hat that recording artist Aretha Franklin wore to President Barack Obama’s first inauguration.

Based in Southfield, Song took over the hat business his parents started in Detroit. He majored in biochemistry at Michigan State University before switching to fine arts. He studied at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City, then attended a school just outside of Paris.

“I fell into hats,” he said.

The trend in hats for spring is greens, yellows and oranges, he said.

The Kentucky Derby, the horse race traditionally held the first Saturday in May, is a great boon to his business, Song said. He expanded his parents’ business and paid off all his student loans in six months. His clients are of all ages, and the demographic is getting younger and younger. His hats vary widely in price, from $15 on clearance items, up to as much as $3,500.

Some of the 24 hats he brought to the Troy Garden Club meeting featured feathers manipulated to resemble flowers. Many hats were of the fascinator type, which is anything worn on the head using headbands or combs. The hats at the meeting ranged in price from $50 to $450.

“Anybody can wear anything,” Ella Gordon, Song’s associate, said as she described the hats the Garden Club members modeled. “You just have to have the right attitude.” 

Troy Garden Club member Cindy Cummings, who modeled a fascinator with a bold, dramatic design, said it felt very comfortable on her head.

Costello said Song sent her photos of the hats beforehand so she could create bouquets to fit them. “This was a really good time,” she said.

“I loved the bouquets,” Garden Club member and master gardener Michele Strojek said. Her favorite bouquet featured scented geranium leaves and purple anemones with dianthus. 

Troy Garden Club Vice President Margy Truza said seeing the array of hats was a “throwback” for her. “I always had a hat for Easter,” she said.

“People have fond memories of their mothers and grandmothers wearing hats,” Song said. “I think there’s a longing to do that again.”

The Troy Garden Club meets at noon the second Wednesday of each month, September through June, at the Big Beaver United Methodist Church, 3753 John R, south of Wattles. Register in advance at (248) 642-7277. There is a $7 guest fee that includes a light lunch.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Terry Oparka at toparka@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1054.