Whether it's a baseball cap or a straw boater, a cloche or a four-foot-wide church bonnet, Southerners love the blast of self-expressionand the shadeof a great hat. Our friend Leigh Magar designs ravishing ones for Magar Hatworks in Charleston.
We first met Leigh and her architect husband, Johnny Tucker, at a crab boil on the banks of a creek south of the city. The two of them appeared to have stepped out of a 1930s film. Her hat, a spray of feathers, was perched rakishly over an immaculate bob; he wore a three-piece suit and a leopard-print fedora. And then Leigh pulled from her handbag a red polka-dot apron, tied it on over her vintage dress, and proceeded to pick apart and devour the crabs on the table with a gusto unmatched by any of the good ol' boys in their camouflage caps.
At any party, Leigh and Johnny are always the first to hit the oyster-shucking table and the last dancing on the porch, even when the candelabra above has begun to drip wax on everyone's heads. When she shows her hat collections, she turns that into a party, too. People come to the garden of her studio to drink tea (and quite a lot of wine), eat pimento-cheese sandwiches and watch models circulate among the fig and mulberry trees wearing Magar Hatworks's latest trilbies, fedoras and cocktail hats.