Saturday, 14 August 2010 works

I love a bit of millinery.

I think a gorgeous hat or fascinator can totally finish a well composed outfit. My love of all things hatty stems from my time working in London, when I first got to learn how to block a hat as part of my training for a job. Millinery is indeed as much of an art form as anything else I have tackled during my professional training, and as such a different discipline compels me to work in a radically different way. I find that drawing, which would normally be my design starting point, is not much use except to work out the most basic shapes and idea's and that all the design process is totally led ny the materials themselves. It also requires very strong hands, and a willingness to take it all apart and start again .

I don't get to make hats from scratch anymore as blocking  is such an expensive process. It requires the correct brim and crown block in the correct head size for each hat. For an insight into the hat making process this is an beautiful little film about one of the top milliners Stephen Jones workshop...

Millinery in Action: making a hat at Stephen Jones

I have recently been making quite a few fascinators for weddings and of course...Ascot.

Carol Harrison comissioned me to make her a hat for her to wear at the Royal Enclosure at Ascot. Wow, did I jump at the chane to do that! To be allowed into the Royal Enclosure the hat or fascinator must be considered substantial. She had a cute fuscia dress that she wanted to wear so that led our colour choice. The structure was made out of pleated crin, and was a crazy material to get to grips with, but loads of fun to play with. Then dyed pink peacock feathes were applied to the top surface and finally a diamante starburst applied to the centre for a bit of bling.

The following commission from Carol was for a wedding. As always my design process is initially led by the client, and Carol had a gorgeous sexy D&G emerald dress and some Alexander McQueen shoes that were bling-as! What else would have gone with this outfit but a Chrissie Nicholson-Wild fascinator?

 I was given free reign from there and decided to combine our green with some more of our favourite : the peacock feather. I couldn't colour match the green to a base or ribbon so had to go for a different colour. I chose a royal blue, which didn't compete with either of the other materials, and then added in some flashes of purple to liven it up. A sexy purple veil and some beading add the finishing touches. Great fun!

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