Because we don’t ever want to be accused of not tackling the big issues here at Double Denim Days, we thought it was high time we all sat down, made ourselves a refreshing glass of Tang, and had a nice wee chat about… hats. Kylie’s hats.
It was the 1980s and any tween girl in Australian worth her spray bottle of glitter hair gel was obsessed with Charlene (aka Kylie Minogue). So it was really great for us that Kylie stuck around long after Charlene (and Scott) moved to Brisbane following the wedding-of-the-decade.
Kylie's breakthrough onto the music charts was at breakneck speed. The poor love was bundled onto a plane every other day to keep up with the demand for more more more Kylie.
There she was, jetting off to London to hang out with the Stock Aitken Waterman lads to lay down some vocals and some funky funky beats on what would become money making cassingles we all shelled out our (or our big sisters) pocket money on. Whizzing over to Japan where the Japantweens (an original turn of phrase, thank-you very much) were going crazy for our Kyles. And back to Oz to appear on Hey Hey It's Saturday with Wilbur Wilde wearing a Bullwinkle costume in the background. Like you do.
I imagine that with all this jet-setting around Kylie's wardrobe would have been left in the hands of a somewhat overwhelmed, but highly competent stylist. I imagine this stylist's name would be Rhonda. And I imagine that Rhonda really really loved hats. This is all hearsay of course, but the proof is in our Top 10 (+ 1) of Kylie's Hats...
#10. The Military Beret | Street Fighter (1994)
I've not seen Kylie in action in Street Fighter, but from a quick squizz at some reviews I've learnt that it's supposed to be pretty bad. Like really really bad. Like Michael Jackson bad. And that's pretty bad.
Many of those reviews commented on Kylie's acting prowess, or rather the lack thereof, but come on... that shouldn't come as a grand surprise to anyone. I hereby enter into evidence Exhibit A and Exhibit B.
So it's lucky our Kyles knows how to rock a beret and wield a toy gun, or Street Fighter might be completely devoid of any redeeming features. Poor Rhonda, I imagine she didn't get much of a say on this number.
#9. The Sunday Drive Straw Hat | The Kylie Collection (1988)
The Kylie Collection was essentially her debut album re-released along with a few new SAW-produced extended 12" remixes of the singles - because you can never have too many 12" remixes.
There was the usual vinyl and cassette formats, as well as a VHS release with music videos of the singles. There was also a special magazine issued that featured many more snaps from the cover photo shoot, starring a rather lovely hat that appears to be some sort of straw Sunday driving hat.
Rhonda was working well with the natural tones of the pyjama (?) outfit here. I imagine Rhonda was very flexible like that. Good on you, Rhonda.
#8. The Red Races Day Hat | Got To Be Certain (1988)
Man I loved this song! By the time it came out even the most hardcore of Kylie fans were getting a bit sick of I Should Be So Lucky.. lucky..lucky..lucky and were fanging for some new KM tunes and a new music video too. Our prayers were answered with Got To Be Certain.
I imagine someone screwed up Kylie's schedule and double booked her for filming the music video and an afternoon at the races.
It was always going to be a tight turnaround, but I imagine Rhonda was totally up to the task and this hot dark orange number is the result of her styling and multi-tasking prowess. Good on you, Rhonda.
#7. The Wide Brim Country Hat | It's No Secret (1988)
Another music video, another chance for Rhonda to shine.
I imagine Rhonda taking a call from the director of Kylie's country town setting music video for It's No Secret.
Director: "Hi Rhonda. Are you experienced with natural tones?" Rhonda: "Pfft. Am I ever!?"
And what a lovely natural wide brim hat she did find. Beautiful as an accessory in Kylie's hand, and beautiful atop her mane of tousled curly locks. It's an all-rounder.
I imagine Rhonda retying that decorative bow over and over and over again, getting it juuuust right. Oh good on you, Rhonda.
#6. The Cowgirl Hat | Never Too Late (1989)
I imagine Rhonda went ape-shiitake mushrooms when she got the styling brief... no more natural tones! I bet she started with the cowgirl hat and built the remaining looks around it. Good on you, Rhonda.
#5. The Flapper Beaded Skullcap | Never Too Late (1989)
Never Too Late was the gift that just kept giving, and Rhonda got to shine like she'd never shone before. Technically not a hat per se, a scullcap is still a form of head-wear and it looks adorable on Kylie along with her complete 1920s flapper-girl ensemble.
Kylie and her regular backing dancer crew got to ham it up in fancy dress that saw them also don funky '70s hippy gear and ultra glamorous evening wear - along with these cowgirl and 1920s styles. No hats for those threads though - Rhonda knew not to overdo the hat situation. That shows restraint. A cool head for hats. Instinct. Good on you, Rhonda.
#4. The Floppy Flower Bucket Hat | Hand On Your Heart (1989)
Put your hand on your heart and tell me, is my hat smooth, smooth woah-ooh-woah-oo-oah...
The music video for Hand On Your Heart has no hats in it. I repeat NO HATS. And trusty Rhonda was having none of that bull-shiitake mushroom crap. I imagine she stormed the Mushroom Records office and demanded the single cover be adorned with the magical hat creation of her choosing. Good on you, Rhonda. You tell 'em!
#3. The Floppy Blue Fun Hat | All I Wanna Do Is Make You Mine (1988)
All I Wanna Do Is Make You Mine is the boppy little B-side to the uber-duet smash hit that was Especially For You by Kylie and her at-the-time beau Jason Donovan.
We all know the story, Kylie & Jason wed on Neighbours, got together in real life, gave the kids what they wanted in the form of a duet & yadda yadda yadda... they ended up breaking up. Again, no hat in the music video.
I don't want to insinuate a connection here, but at least Rhonda did her best by making sure Kylie & Jason were decked out with some super happy fun hats for the B-side cover.
It's no surprise the UK mags went nuts for that photo shoot... hats are always a hit. I imagine Rhonda had a smug smurk on her face when they hit the magazine stands.
Good on you, Rhonda. You deserve all of the smug smirks.
#2. The Glittery Gold Floppy Hat | Enjoy Yourself (1989)
I imagine Rhonda finalising her styling for this album cover shoot and running up to top of the nearest hill, throwing her arms into the air and singing 'the hills are alive with the sight of my ha-ats!' Love your work, Rhonda!
#1. The Kylie-Goes-Topless Hat | Kylie (1988)
If having Kylie's #2 album in the #2 spot was serendipitous, having her debut album Kylie in the top spot is just the right amount of poetic.
I imagine Rhonda sitting down at her desk the night before the photo shoot, downing a glass of card-on-ay and looking at pictures of Kylie for inspiration. A little mini-Rhonda dressed in natural tones sits upon her left shoulder, whispering 'you love the hats, Rhonda... think of the hats, Rhonda!'; and another little mini-Rhonda dressed in a red pant suit sits atop her other shoulder, whispering 'but look at that haaair, Rhonda! Think of the HAIR!'
And then it strikes her. Like lightening. Like a bolt out of the blue. She grabs the nearest hat & takes to it with her favourite pair of dressmakers scissors.
She's like a mad scientist and she's about to make history. Rhonda knows all of the rules of the almighty hat, and she knows how to break them in all of the right ways. A topless hat. Who would've thunk it? Rhonda, that's who. And bloody good on her too. Good on you, Rhonda.
For services to pop music and tween-centric styling, we salute Kylie Minogue and Rhonda - a fine team indeed.
+ 1. The Classic Polka, Fur, Ribbons & Bees Hat | Smash Hits NZ 1989 Annual
This is what happens when Kylie travels to New Zealand without Rhonda due to budget cuts.
And that's all I have to say about that.