(30 July, 2012) Londoners woke up this morning to find some of the capital’s most famous statues dressed in designer hats.

Trafalgar Square’s Admiral Lord Nelson is wearing a Union Jack hat adorned with a replica of the Olympic flame. The hat was designed by Sylvia Fletcher and made by Lock & Co, who made Nelson’s original bicorn hat. Established in 1676, Lock & Co is the oldest hatters in London.

An adjacent statue of Sir Henry Havelock is topped with a shiny, disc-shaped hat by milliner Philip Treacy. “He was a rather forbidding and fierce character and I really felt he could do with some cheering up, especially since he sits in Trafalgar Square, which in the build up to the Games has been the focus of pre-Olympic excitement,” said Treacy.

Nearby, King George IV and his horse are wearing matching gold creations by Stephen Jones. Jones said, “It has been an amazing journey. Philip and I were here last night watching Nelson’s hat go up. It was the most incredible experience.

“From a policeman’s helmet to Her Majesty the Queen’s floral fantasies, hats have come to symbolize Britain. It is fantastic that the Mayor’s office has enabled our most modern milliners to bring this legacy up-to-date with the most fantastical creations from our most daring milliners.”

HATWALK takes Londoners and visitors on a cultural tour of the city by bringing these illustrious but sometimes overlooked statues to life. Hats have been placed on 20 well-known statues across the city, from William Shakespeare to Winston Churchill.

The hats also celebrate London’s standing as a global capital of millinery. Hat making is a great British craft that has undergone resurgence in recent years, as British designers including Treacy and Jones dominate the world’s catwalks.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said, “You’ve got to take your hats off to London. The cutting edge style and imagination of London’s millinery talent is feted worldwide, and is setting the international catwalks alight.

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the heritage of British millinery and its contribution to our fair city than by dressing our most noble of statues, including our most heroic son, Nelson, in creations dreamt up by our leading visionaries.”

HATWALK was commissioned by the Mayor of London, in partnership with BT, Grazia magazine, the British Fashion Council and the London 2012 Festival. The hats will be in place for the next four days and will then be auctioned for charity.

For more information on HATWALK and the other amazing cultural events taking place this summer please visit www.molpresents/hatwalk