Monday, June 22, 2009

Kokin Has B-a-a-a-a-d Hat-titude

Mercedes and Blu wearing hats by Kokin. (Photo by Daralyn Adams.)

ONLY in The Big A can A Boy from Buffalo start out to become an actor and end up a milliner. Not just any milliner – one with international renown.

Meet Kokin in case your paths haven’t crossed the last almost 26 years. He didn’t … er …pull it out of a hat; he comes by his trade honestly. His mother and grandmother were mad about hats. Besides, he was ISO a gig that would facilitate his getting to auditions without hassles from a boss. It’s Hard out Here for an Actor!

Tonight, Kokin is hosting a little do-gooder party at his boutique on the Upper East Side (3rd Avenue @79th Street). Ten percent of hat (and accessory) sales are going to the Make A Wish Foundation (, the outfit that plays fairy Godmother to children with life-threatening illnesses.

Who knew so many hats could fit into such a small space? There are cloches, caps, crushers, visors, berets, fedoras. In the display window is a replica of the number that Andie MacDowell wore in “Four Weddings and A Funeral.” Nearby is the audacious lampshade hat in hot pink with feathers galore. Ascot (where his hats have gone), here we come! And the hats have gone to the racetrack in Kentucky, the runways of good fine folks like Oscar De La Renta, Bill Blass, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Zac Posen and Catherine Malandrino. They have graced the pages of major mags and famous noggins. In other words, they’ve been around.

Feeling a bit neglected, a gentleman nearby who is squiring the Duke’s grand, Mercedes Ellington (pictured above with Kokin mannequin, wife and accomplished photog, Blu), laments the fact that there are no hats for men. Hmm … Yours Truly plucks a fedora from its rack and hands it over. Voila!, he’s transformed into Gordon Parks

When I manage to snag (a second time) Kokin from one of my media betters, I ask, of all the gin joints in all the towns … why Make A Wish Foundation? “I love children,” says the father to be (August). “It’s a great charity. It’s not a specific cause other than humanity … If you can make someone’s final days happy, that’s a good thing.”

Dare I say it? Why not: Hats off to Kokin!

The Kokin event was 18 June.

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