Milliner extraordinaire Louis Mariette, creator of the world’s most expensive hat, has accepted the role of Official Milliner for the 2011 Investec Derby Festival. 


Self-taught Mariette will create a one-off bespoke headpiece that will be worn by the Official Face of the Festival, Erin O’Connor, on Investec Ladies Day at the world famous horseracing festival, which takes place on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th June at Epsom Downs Racecourse. 

Inspired by the colours and textures found in the wildlife of Louis’ homeland, Africa, combined with the bright lights of London; Louis creates truly original eclectic pieces.  It is this unique style that has proved popular amongst celebrities, with everyone from Lady Gaga and Rihanna to Jerry Hall and Kate Moss showcasing his designs.  In 2009, Louis was an influential member of the judging panel on cult British television show, Britain’s Next Top Model. 

As the first event of the summer social calendar, the Investec Derby Festival sets the standard for the season.  With the stakes high on and off the course, it is the glorious fashion that steals the limelight, especially on Ladies’ Day where an array of colours and styles are on display.  With top hats in the Queen’s Stand to the carnival scene on the hill – the Investec Derby Festival really is the ultimate spectacle. 

Inspiration for Erin’s headpiece will be taken from the kaleidoscopic colourings of the Lilac Breasted Roller bird (native to Africa), which will also influence O’Connor’s Derby dress, a creation by up and coming fashion designer Felicity Brown – capturing the bold and eclectic nature of the Derby

Louis commented: “What more could a milliner ask for? It's show time!  This is the chance for decadent and fun individuals to express their personal style and panache. This is the Investec Derby…may the joie du vivre commence."

Tickets for the Investec Derby Festival are now on sale. To be part of Britain’s biggest day out and the most famous flat race in the world call 0844 579 3004 or visit

To read an interview with Louis click here



What to read next on Eclipse Magazine