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Royal Hatter Treacy Brings Glamour to Russia Despite Pandemic

"Maestro Philip Treacy" opens Friday at St. Petersburg's Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art. Olga Maltseva / AFP

Designer Philip Treacy, a haute couture hatmaker to the British royals and American stars, presented his collection in St. Petersburg on Wednesday saying "we all need entertainment" during a pandemic.

The 53-year-old Irishman, who counts among his clients Queen Elizabeth II, the Duchess of Cambridge and Madonna, unveiled the collection at St. Petersburg's Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this autumn.

Speaking to reporters at Russia's largest private museum of contemporary art, Treacy said he had defied the pandemic to bring his collection to the country's second city because people needed a happy distraction and St. Petersburgers responded especially well to his creations.

"We all need entertainment at the moment…to distract us from what's actually happening worldwide," said Treacy, described by Vogue magazine as "perhaps the greatest living milliner."

Forty-six pieces of the designer's work feature in the "Maestro Philip Treacy" exhibition which opens on Friday and will run until March 21.

He said he was "very touched" by the warm reception the first exhibition of his works received in Russia's former imperial capital in 2015.

"Hats are about elegance and beauty," Treacy said, adding that residents of St. Petersburg "understand the power of the hat" because they live in one of the world's most beautiful cities.

"You live within elegance and beauty," he said.

Presenting the new exhibition, the Erarta museum said that "both Petersburg and the museum got under Philip Treacy's skin."

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