Irish Milliner, Ana Victoria Mulcahy discovered millinery as a perfect fit to express her instinctive creativity she enjoyed since her childhood. Once she made her first hat to attend a wedding “word of mouth “accolades followed and her millinery business evolved to what it is today.
What do you love most about Millinery?
I am a very creative person and I love the idea that with my hands I can create something that will make a person look good and feel good and beautiful. Hats are the expression of one's individual style and the pinnacle of elegance. I believe any outfit can be improved by a hat. I also love the fact that I am part of very important moments in the life of my customers as my hats are worn at weddings, christenings, parties, events and I see that as a big responsibility and an honour.
How did you come into Millinery?
Since I was a little girl I’ve been fascinated with fashion, elegant clothes, beautiful dresses, classic vintage style and specially with hats. I made my first hat when I was 11 years old from an old piece of silk fabric that I transformed into a turban shaped headpiece, which I wore to a school picnic. I designed and made hats as a pastime during my school and university years and since I came to Europe I have completed several tailoring and traditional millinery courses and trainings and I have made hats for family and friends… but it wasn’t until after I attended a friend’s wedding that I started my own business as a milliner.
For the wedding I handcrafted a beautiful pink oversized saucer hat decorated with flowers and I got so many compliments and enquiries about where I bought my hat that I couldn’t believe! I was overwhelmed by such wonderful feedback and a number of people enquired if I would be willing to design and make hats for them. Over the following months thanks to “Word of mouth” and social media more enquiries and orders followed…
How you would describe your designs?
My hats and headpieces are comtemporary designs, unique and one of a kind, finished to a high standard.
What is your ideal customer?
I love the customer that gives me freedom and allows me to be creative as much as I love the customer that tells me exactly what would she/he like for me to create with my hands from nothing. In Ireland, people love hats. Irish people wear hats to many different events, such as weddings, races, ladies day, christenings, fashion events, etc. and also on a daily basis.
What inspires you?
Literally… everything around me, specially beauty and elegance. I love beautiful things… A colour, an animal, a shape, an outfit , a hair style, a flower, pearls and beads, a fabric, a painting...old golden age-era Hollywood films, opera, history, literature, nature in general!
Explain the significance of your brand identity?
Defining the brand identity behind my millinery label is something very important for me. My logo is the heart of my branding assets and it represents me, my personality and the essence of my business. So when I had to choose a logo, the first thing that came to my mind was a bee!! I totally identify myself with bees… I love bees and I always did!!
The Bee is the symbol of activity, work, diligence, and good order and I am always busy, doing things and I am obsessed with order and organizing things! Because of the nature and amount of bee’s work, ancient legends believed that bees never sleep or sleep very little...like me!!
The Beehive is like a small kingdom with the queen bee as the ruler… They are very artistic creating patterns used in their nests and they have a strong sense of family and community! They are extremely social!! So much like me!
They also remind me to enjoy the beauty of nature and appreciate little things around. Basically, I am like a little bee… and bees like me! I have never been stung by a bee and there will always be bees wherever I go...they follow me!
My name is Victoria and ”V” is one of my many nicknames...and it sounds like “bee”.
What has been the largest challenge you have faced in millinery?
In 2018 ive got an order from a customer who wanted a particular shape and size. None of my blocks were suitable to achive this and I had no time to order new blocks so i managed to alter the blocks I had (crown and brim) using expanding foam, insulation boards, wire, cardboard, glue and a lot of tape thanks to skills learned from Ian Bennett in one of the Hat Academy courses. It was such a rewarding feeling. Since then, Ive done the same thing many many times!
If you could invite any milliner to tea who would it be?
I know she is no longer with us in this world, but I would have loved to have tea with Caroline Reboux… An incredible milliner and a successful business woman when fashion was mainly a man's world. I admire her designs and the way she adapted millinery to modern times. She designed many of the shapes we still use today! Such a fantastic pioneer of our trade. I would love to ask her so many questions about shape structures, materials, process and techniques… She designed incredible pieces!
What is your favourite material to work with?
I love to work with all sort of materials… but buckram, felt and leather are always a pleasure to work with. They are my favorite ones! I love the endless posibilities of design that they give me and their versatility.
What’s your best millinery tip?
When the shape of one of my blocks needs to be altered, I cover it with cling film and I apply in layers a thick mix of fine saw dust and glue. Before it hardens I model the mix to the required shape and once it has hardened i sand it for a smooth finish. A life saviour!
Words to live by…
Never is too late to follow your dreams and to do what you like and never stop learning and training.
And also I like a positivity quote I've read long ago… I have everything I need to get anything I want!
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