Milliner LUKE SONG has been forced to create knock-off versions of the hat he made for Aretha Franklin to wear to PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA's inauguration - because so many people want one.
The Michigan hatmaker made the headwear especially for Franklin and promised her he'd never make another like it.
But when America saw the soul legend wearing the grey hat with a Swarovski rhinestone-bordered bow, as she sang My Country, 'Tis of Thee on Tuesday (20Jan09), it became a hot item and Song was inundated with orders.
The Mr. Song Millinery boss says, "We even have a lot of men calling to get it for their wives, mothers and grandmothers."
Song refused to charge Franklin for the hat, but admits it would cost over $500 (GBP357) to the public, and there's no way he could recreate it out of respect for Franklin, a longtime customer of his family's business.
Instead, Song is crafting a cheaper look-a-like hat with a ribbon bow.
He tells U.S. TV show The Insider, "They want the same hat, but they understand it's for the queen only. Ninety-nine per cent said, 'That's fine. I'll get the next best thing.'"