The 2019 Academy Awards made for a banger night in men’s style, and Best Supporting Actor winner Mahershala Ali, in an eggshell mandarin-collar shirt and black suit with a black hat, was a standout. The black hat had a cuff and a dimple on the crown, leading us to wonder: Was it a beanie? Was it a karakul? Whatever it was, it was the perfect formal gesture that didn’t scream, “I AM WEARING A HAT, ON MY HEAD, AT THE AWARD SHOW.”
Milliner Gigi Burris, the brain behind the cap, decoded it for us. “The hat is called The Sharina,” she said, and is a style she’s been making for several seasons now, for both men and women. (Her brand launched men’s a little over a year ago.) She started with “a relaxed beanie style, more than a jinnah or karakul,” she said; the latter are typically made of fur. “We thought it was a cool way to have a cuff, like a beanie.”
So it’s safe to call it a formal beanie? “Oh, definitely,” she said. Ali’s stylist, Van Van Alonso—“a really rad chick,” says Burris—had called Burris and her team early last week and laid out their vision for the night; Burris quickly made one up in Ali’s size and sent it over on Wednesday. But your typical stretchy, ribbed wool dome this is not: Burris uses velour-finish felt, and creates the shape by hand-blocking the material over a wooden mold with steam and rope. Her male clients love its structured but relaxed shape, Burris says: musician Raphael Saadiq and visual artist Nari Ward both have Sharinas in their wardrobe. And if you’re looking to carry the style into the summer, Burris is releasing one in straw soon.