Creative expression in fashion can take many forms. For Maree Starkey, millinery was a natural progression after many years working in interior and couture bridal design. 

What sparked your interest in millinery?

After many years of Dressmaking and Interior Design I started making Bespoke Bridal and Evening wear. I decided to do a TAFE course to learn the Finer Couture Finishes and Pattern making. One of the Electives offered was Millinery which I did and Loved. I put it asideuntil 5 or 6 years ago when we were going to the Melbourne Cup with friends. Of course we all needed Hats to wear, and I haven't stopped

How would you describe your designs? 
I love the elegance of Hats, when my Clients try them on you can see the difference in their confidence. From large brims to a small cocktail hat, every piece finishes an outfit. I describe my style as 'modern with a touch of vintage' and am very inspired by the 40's and 50's when ladies didn't leave the house without a Hat. I try to use Vintage Materials whenever possible and am always on the lookout for anything that can be recycled.

What inspires you?
The colours from nature are a huge inspiration, the combinations and the intensity can be breathtaking.

What is your favourite material to work with?
Feathers are my favourite material to work with. A headpiece can be anything from one feather to hundreds. They are so light and comfortable for the Client to wear and as with most Millinery Materials, the possibilities are endless


How you go from an idea to a finished hat?
Sometimes I will start by gathering materials together to see what works, and other times I will start with an idea in my head and search for the materials to bring the idea to life. My one regret is that I can't sketch and therefore always struggle to get my ideas on paper. Luckily I have Clients who trust me when they want something for a special outfit.

What’s the most important tool in your studio?
My Steamer is the most important tool in my Studio, to help manipulate materials as well as a Poupee to see the effect on a Head.

What has been a challenge you have faced in millinery?
One challenge I have faced is getting my creations to the public. It takes time to build a following and marketing is a job all by it's self. I have had moderate success with my own Website and am looking forward to sharing on Hatporium. I think it will be an excellent platform for selling and promoting the wearing of Hats.

What are your other passions?
I still love Interior Design and Dressmaking but Millinery has taken over my passion, I call it ‘My Happy Place'.

Famous words to live by…
“Always spend your life doing something you love.”

» More from Dezignz by Maree


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