hats&horsesHats & Horses was born between London and Menorca in 2017 and held its first edition on the Balearic island in May 2018.
As it says… in the article published in La Vanguardia:
Clear and concise name to reflect what it is: a day at the races wearing the best clothes crowned with hats.
Away from the opportunism of jumping on the theming bandwagon, Hats & Horses has a specific purpose: to be our patriotic Ascot and promote the local culture by traveling to Menorca in spring, and not just in summer.
Its founder, Ariadna Vilalta,
lived in 2017 between London, Menorca and Madrid. It was in this perfect triangle that this adventure was woven, which will celebrate its 5th edition in Menorca in 2022, its 8th in total.
In Menorca the same tune always sounded: how to stretch out the summer season. A season that on the island usually starts with a calm and authentic force around the San Juan festivities.
It was on a trip to Ascot – the famous British horse race that mixes royalty, hats and celebrities, together with her partner David Bell, founder of the firm Pretty Ballerinas – when Ariadna began to connect ideas.
“The taste for elegance in good dress was the perfect ingredient to add to the tradition of horses and the culture of Menorcan racecourses”, explains Ariadna at the foot of the race.
From then on, her experience as a wedding planner, having a degree in Tourism and also in Marketing, her taste for the fusion of cultures and her stubbornness that “wearing a hat is not that complicated” shaped the event.
"They told me that it wouldn't work, that the English are the only ones who wear top hats and that Menorcans only dress up when they go to a wedding."
Against all odds, he is achieving what he set out to do.
Ariadna has the concept of tourism that she was taught in her career engraved on fire:
“make known the origin and identity of what is visited: the artisanal side, not only in hats, but also in footwear, cheese and all the local industry”.
Hats & Horses is held on a Saturday in May; a meeting point for the Menorcan jet set that, dressed in their best clothes, mixes with peninsulars, curious people from anywhere and the regulars of the races.
Locals who look surprised at the number of top hats and the constant selfies.
As backstage of this theme party, behind the white Balearic wall, the authenticity of the racecourse is hidden: the jockeys with those jackets that would be sales hits for the younger public, the van that broadcasts the races in a circular way, the autostat and everything the imaginary of the equine universe.
While Ariadna imagines a future of alliances that places Menorca on the international racing circuit, "as with the USA or Belgium, with whom the same form of trot is shared", the journalist who wrote these lines fantasizes about more meetings, parties and saraos with a certain aesthetic script.
Not only because they work, they are contagious and they are easy to establish, but because dressing in a different way than usual makes us imagine other ways of seeing ourselves.
Add creativity to our style.
And creativity will always make us freer.
(Francesca Tur, The Vanguard)
3rd February 2023
4th March 2023
25th March 2023
103 Vanbrugh Park London SE3 7AL, UK