Mastering a perfect finish is essential for Milliner, Kelly Hill even when she allows the artist within to sculpture and reconfigure the straws, crinoline and feathers. Marketing under her Label "Kelly Louise Designs” she works from her studio in Cairns, North Queensland with her headwear in demand locally and beyond.
What do you love most about Millinery?
I love the sculptural aspect of millinery. It's wonderful to be able to build amazing wearable art and it's even better seeing your clients confidently wearing it. Nothing finishes an outfit like the right hat.
How did you get into Millinery?
My younger sister had an English friend who was married in Australia. The dress code was formal and required a hat and gloves. As I had been sewing and making clothes from a very young age my sister insisted that I create her hat. I was reluctant at first but once I got started I was hooked and almost 9 years later I am still making hats!
How you would describe your designs?
My millinery is a mix of classic styling and clean modern lines which is immaculately put together.
What is your ideal customer?
It is someone who knows exactly what they don't like, then places their absolute trust in me to create them something fabulous! Some of my favourite hats have been the ones where the client sent me the dress and gave me creative licence without any restrictions.
What inspires you?
Anything and everything, flowers are probably number one but I also find myself drawn to patterns or beautiful fabrics. I end up taking screen shots of all kinds of bits and pieces so that I only have to scroll through my photos for some inspiration.
If you could invite any milliner to tea who would it be?
That is an incredibly hard question! Philip Treacy comes to mind first for his amazing pieces. I absolutely love his attention to detail and pieces that are delicate or beautifully finished. There is a lot of skill required to make a piece look effortlessly put together so I would love to sit down with Reny Kestrel or Felicity Northeast.
What is your favourite material to work with?
At the moment it is feathers, they are so versatile, can be worn all year round and can be anything from a trim to the whole headpiece. I particularly love making flowers from them and am constantly looking at new ways to manipulate them. Most of my hats include feathers in the design.
Whats your best millinery tip?
Keep it simple - Less is more! If there is too much going on the eye doesn't know where to stop.
What has been the largest challenge you face in millinery?
The biggest challenge has been getting my price-point right and then reaching the right clients. As a regional milliner I do not get the chance to attend as many major race-meets as I would like which makes networking and getting my work front and centre a little tough. To overcome this I have made sure I have my work on key websites and will be looking to take part in future millinery competitions.
Famous words to live by?
"Be yourself; everyone is already taken." Oscar Wilde
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