What do you love most about millinery?
For me millinery is about invoking a reaction from the wearer. I always tell my clients even if it's for a good laugh try on a hat because you never know what doors it will open. Just by wearing my creations I have had so many meaningful conversations and interactions with people. Hats are magic that way.
How did you get into millinery?
My grandmother raised me on musicals while my mom worked three jobs. We always talked about the wonderful hats and outfits the ladies wore and said one day we would have an amazing hat collection. Before my kids were born I had a small collection I later parted with. One day I found a hat I just had to have but my husband couldn't justify the purchase and suggested I make one myself. I think he regrets sometimes the monster he created because after that day I became obsessed with learning how to make hats and traditional millinery skills.
In a sentence tell us how you would describe your designs.
All my hats I try to put a little bit of my own quirkiness. My elaborate crazy pieces I don't have to hide it as much as totally embrace it. When it comes to a sophisticated piece there's always still something about the design that's just odd in a beautiful way.
What is your ideal customer?
I love a customer who just wants to go crazy with it. Some of my best clients are the ones where we have lots of conversations that just keep feeding the idea of there hat. We're both willing to play with how the materials work and let things just fall into place in the chaos of our ideas.
What inspires you?
That ones hard because the oddest things inspire me. It could be my favourite movie Labyrinth, a song on the radio, or a fabric that just catches my eye. If I had one thing it would have to be movies before the crazy special effects. The time they would put into the sets and costumes. There's always something in old movies that catches my eye that can send me sketching.
If you could invite any milliner to tea who would it be?
Oooh that's a tough one. I'd be torn between Phillip Treacy and Piers Atkinson... can I have tea with both? Phillip I feel I could learn so much from as he has always created the most jaw dropping hats. At the same time Piers is my style of design and quirkiness...I feel like we'd pass the tea and go straight to champagne.
What is your favourite material to work with?
Right now it would be sinamay. Probably because it's spring and it's the go to material right now. I love the way it feels when I'm creating a free form piece. It just creates so many unique opportunities with hats once your brave enough to just play. It allows any accident to become magic. I had some great hats this season because of some accidents with sinamay.
Whats your best millinery tip?
I still feel very much like a baby in the millinery field so I don't know how much I could offer except don't be afraid to ask. I've met so many great milliners that are amazing cheerleaders and are willing to help you out if you just ask. I don't think I would be where I am without there support and advice when I get stuck in a millinery dilemma.
If you had to make your last hat what would it be?
Well I know it would definitely be over the top. I've used playing cards a lot since I started and I would probably make something insane and cocoon like with them. I love the way I can make cards swoop around a clients head so why not the whole body. Of course it would be out of a top hat with a steaming tea pot and lots of glitter.
Famous words to live by.