Join us on May 12!

About the Event
The most original benefit you'll ever attend!

Hats Off! is a fundraiser for Creative Arts Workshop that celebrates headwear of all descriptions, from the casual cap to the fanciful fascinator. We invite you to get into the spirit of the evening by wearing something — anything! — on your head.

Wear a hat... bid on a hat!

Create something outrageous, dust off a forgotten fedora or come bare-headed. Once you arrive, convince another partygoer to 'buy' the hat off your head in our Roaming Auction. Then go shop for another — c'mon, it's for a good cause! (Proceeds benefit CAW.)

Enjoy the show!

Bid in our Runway Auction of millinery masterpieces by artists and designers. No ordinary hats here — think sculpture perched on a head. Spot something you can't live without? Bid high, and take it home!

Food and Drink Provided By Sponsors

With Support From Sponsors
The Roaming Auction
What is a Roaming Auction?

It's a completely original fundraising concept... and a great party! As you make your way around the ballroom, make offers for fellow partygoers' hats — and encourage them to bid on yours. (Auction proceeds benefit CAW.) Once you've struck a deal, grab a Roaming Auctioneer who will collect your donation, and the hat is yours!

Now that you've bought a hat, you can keep it... or try to sell it again. Did you pay $20? See if you can get $30 for it this time! Keep those toppers moving for a spirited evening of hat-trading. It's a good time, and a very good cause.

Make Your Hat a Must-Buy!

Get creative. If your headwear is an incredible piece of sculpture, you'd better believe someone will want it for his or her office credenza. Look for ideas in our headwear inspiration section and get making!

Sweeten the deal. So what if you're only wearing an old Yankees cap? If it includes a pair of tickets to a game, it'll be snapped up faster than you can say 'A-Rod.' Or tuck a daisy in the band of a fedora, and toss in a gift certificate to your favorite florist or garden center. Heck, wrap your head in a towel and offer up a certificate for spa treatments. The possibilities are endless!

Be persuasive. You know yours is the most fabulous knitted beanie ever — now sell it, baby! Even if you convince someone to give only ten bucks for it... that's ten more dollars to support CAW.

Participation is Optional

No problem! If your headwear is a family heirloom, your magnum opus, or just your favorite hat ever, you are under no obligation to auction it off. You look smashing, dahling!

The Runway Auction
What is a Roaming Auction?

The highlight of New Haven's fashion season? Most definitely! The Runway Auction features a juried selection of fabulous headwear, created by artists, designers, students and other hat-obsessed creatives. Check out the latest submissions on Flickr — and advocate for your favorites in the comments!

Don't forget... it's for a good cause! When you see something you love, please bid high and often. All proceeds support Creative Arts Workshop's community programming.

Participation is Optional

It ain't a runway without a few supermodels! Bringing just the right touch of sass and class to our runway are some of Connecticut's finest drag queens and male models. Come prepared to give it up for drag queens Sconcia Flames, Sylvia Heart, Aubrey St John La'Femme, Alina Dior La'Femme and Marita Bonita, plus male models Josh Michael and Adam Rapczynski!

Headwear Inspiration
Hat Couture

Philip Treacy A true master of millinery, Mr. Treacy has made such a contribution to English fashion, he was awarded an OBE! (Perhaps you noticed his work at a recent royal wedding?) Check out the gallery section of his website... and prepare for your jaw to drop.

Judy Bentinck Ms. Bentinck was a costume designer for the BBC, RSC and others before moving to focus exclusively on millinery. Looking for ideas to dress up a hat you already own? Start here!

Stephen Jones Mr. Jones is considered one of the most radical milliners of the 20th and 21st centuries, creating hats for the runways of John Galliano, Vivienne Westwood and countless others. (And another OBE! What can we say... the Queen loves her hats!)

Image Collections

Design Swan: Unusual Hats Show Hats of all sorts, from couture to just plain crazy! Visit this blog post to be inspired by headpieces made of... just about everything.

Hats: An Anthology Check out the online gallery for an exhibition of hats curated by Stephen Jones. The show opened at London's V&A in 2009 and is on view at the Bard Graduate Center in Manhattan through April 15.

Fiercer Than You This fashion blog collects imagery from all over the web -- including loads of couture millinery from runway shows, fashion magazines and more.

Make It Yourself

My Beautiful Paper Hat To celebrate their 2009 exhibition, Hats: An Anthology, the V&A invited people to share their own paper headwear creations on Flickr! With paper headgear ranging from simple to elaborate, this Flickr group is a must-see.

Paper Hat Sculptures Get inspired by the amazing creations of moses (no capitalization, no last name) who makes hats from nothing but paper bags! The PDF includes helpful tips for creating your own paper bag hats.

Recycled Office Paper Top Hat Just want to keep it simple? Follow this tutorial to make a pleated, one-size-fits-all top hat using simple origami techniques and recycled paper from the office!

Just Buy a Hat

Del Monico Hatter Since 1908, Del Monico Hatter (47 Elm Street, New Haven) has been New Haven's top stop for dashing, darling or debonair headwear! Look for styles from many fine brands, including Kangol, Tilley, Borsalino, Hoquy Beret, and Stetson.

Fashionista Prefer your hats a little more quirky? Fashionista Vintage & Variety (93 Whitney Avenue, New Haven) is sure to have something to catch your fancy. (But we've called dibs on the Andy Warhol wig!)

Directions and Parking

The Ballroom at

LoRicco Tower
216 Crown Street
Third Floor
New Haven, CT 06510



From 1-95: Take exit 47 to merge onto CT-34. Take exit 1 off CT-34 toward Downtown New Haven. At the end of the ramp, make a slight right onto N Frontage Road. At the first light, make a right on Church Street. At the second light, make a left on Crown Street. LoRicco Tower will be on your left, halfway up the block.

From 1-91: As 1-91 ends, keep right to continue on CT-34. Take exit 1 off CT-34 toward Downtown New Haven. At the end of the ramp, make a slight right onto N Frontage Road. At the first light, make a right on Church Street. At the second light, make a left on Crown Street. LoRicco Tower will be on your left, halfway up the block.


Event parking is available for a flat rate of $8 at the Crown Street Garage and the Temple Street Garage. (Note that you will need a parking voucher to pay the flat rate at the Temple Street Garage. Vouchers will be available at the event.)

Crown Street Garage: Enter on Crown Street, between Temple and College. The garage entrance will be on your right.

Temple Street Garage: Enter on George Street, between Temple and Church. The garage entrance will be on your left.