Everyone Wants Aretha's Hat

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 23, 2009 8:31 AM CST

(Newser) – Aretha Franklin’s inauguration hat has been mercilessly mocked by some, but lots of people want one of their very own. The Detroit millinery where Franklin has been a customer for 20 years has been flooded with calls for orders, the AP reports. But Aretha wannabes soon learn that the hand-molded $500 hat isn't for sale—it was custom-designed for her. Instead, customers can order a slightly different version for $179.

“They want the same hat, but they understand it's for the ‘Queen’ only. Ninety-nine percent said, ‘That's fine. I'll get the next best thing,’” said the store owner. “We always make hats for her for high-profile events, so for us, the inauguration really was no big deal.”

Aretha Franklin performs during the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.
Aretha Franklin performs during the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Aretha Franklin performs at the swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.
Aretha Franklin performs at the swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Luke Song, designer of the hat Aretha Franklin wore while singing My Country 'Tis of Thee during President Barack Obama's inauguration, shows a replica of the hat at Mr. Song Millinery in Detroit.
Luke Song, designer of the hat Aretha Franklin wore while singing "My Country 'Tis of Thee" during President Barack Obama's inauguration, shows a replica of the hat at Mr. Song Millinery in Detroit.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Ellen DeGeneres wears a hat similar to the one Aretha Franklin wore as she performed during the swearing-in ceremony at the inauguration for President Barack Obama.
Ellen DeGeneres wears a hat similar to the one Aretha Franklin wore as she performed during the swearing-in ceremony at the inauguration for President Barack Obama.   (AP Photo)
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Aretha Franklin sings "My Country 'Tis of Thee" during inaugural ceremonies for President Barack Obama.   (YouTube)
Ellen DeGeneres has some things to say about Aretha's hat.   (YouTube)

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We even have a lot of men calling to get it for their wives, mothers and grandmothers. - Luke Song, owner of Mr. Song Millinery

She walked through the shop and said 'I want that bow put on that hat.' She had the coat already, but she needed the hat to set it off. - Luke Song, on how Aretha combined two hats to complete her inauguration ensemble

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