Less is More

Well, what can I say, it’s been a while since I’ve been inspired to post anything and please, allow for unprofessional photography (!). Life circumstances forced a move and then covid hit so it’s been a little quiet on the millinery front, but things are proceeding nicely now. A new studio in Wotton-under-Edge, some lovely customers and new blocks. I’m really enjoying the ‘less is more’ approach – the design is the most time consuming thing and making is the pleasure of seeing it come to life. Not all of them come out well but I am wholly pleased with the simplicity and drama of this one. I’ve used a boot weight leather (a homage to Elsa Schiaperalli) which I left blocking for several days to harden and lightly attached it to this sharp little fur felt beret.

Spring spring

Dyed silk twill base with silk velvet flowers and silk satin foliage and a dyed & wired net, dramatic but light!  One way to bring the two contrasting colours of an outfit together……  (oh, and an excuse to try out my new electric flower-making tools!)
grn-hat

CAPS!

Hi, I recently had a customer in who had a suit he had had made 40yrs previously which he could no longer fit into.  He asked me if I could make him a hat out of it as he could not bear to part with it and the tweed was in excellent condition.  He was a really nice chap and so I made up two sample patterns and having agreed them, made these two!  I was pleased with the wearable results and more than happy to give the suit a further story.  Also it tied in very well with a new sideline I am working on which is unisex blocked felt and flat-pattern caps – wearable and practical and, hopefully, stylish.  New blocks arrived from Boon & Lane recently and I am already working on some ideas – the finishing and treatment of blocked felt caps is quite a change from the millinery!

Caps

2018

H, I’ve been quiet for a while as I’m no expert at IT (I’d rather make hats and talk to people!) but I feel a post or two is very overdue!  In 2018 I turned 50yrs and after 30 yrs in millinery decided to have a little break and review my options which led me to starting a degree course in philosophy of all things!  While this is a great thing for me , I realised that I really miss exploring my creativity and making hats so I’m reinvigorating my business again.  Here is one picture of a hat I made for a customer with a Dries Van Noten outfit, I was really pleased with the balance…

It took a long time to make and paint those flowers but the texture and colouring was really worth the effort.

More experimenting with dyes and textures to come soon…..

 

DVN

Stephen Jones

What a wonderful experience it was to meet my millinery hero Stephen Jones last week.  I went to a talk at the Dirty Martini cocktail bar in Monument, London as part of the London Hat Week.  The talk was an informal chat between Hilary Alexander (former fashion editor of The Daily Telegraph, amongst other things), and Stephen Jones.

When I first became interested in hats, in the early 1990’s, I became aware of Stephen and his talent.  He was always, in my eyes, the witty milliner.  He had a great skill in technical millinery, but his imagination and artistry is what made his work resonate with me.  I aspired to his abilities and have made many copies of his hats, not to sell, but to see if I was able.  He has had an amazing career hatting royalty, celebrities and being the milliner of choice for many designers on the catwalks.  He now runs the millinery workrooms at Dior, and has remained my favourite milliner to date.  He has inspired many and undoubtedly introduced trends and contributed to the popularity of millinery over recent times.

He was chatty and witty during the talk and managed to get a few hats onto Hilary, making her smile, and was delightfully modest.  He told us he used to drive a white van to earn a living whilst making hats in the evenings, and I related to his stories about the desire for a life in millinery whilst dealing with the practicalities of paying the bills!

I managed to meet him afterwards and said he was one of my main inspirations, and partially responsible for getting me involved in millinery for which I thanked (and at times, didn’t) thank him!  He was charming and held my hands, and I was able to present him with a small gift of a cross-stitch which I had made for him.  It was such a thrill to hear him talk, and also to realise what a thoroughly nice man he was.  Here he is….

Stephen-Jones-and-me!