The humble and talented country milliner, Lisa Schaefer has gone in leaps and bounds since deciding to dedicate herself full time to her craft and all of her hard work seems to have paid off. Lisa was the incredibly creative Milliner behind this year's Crown Oaks Day FOTF winning outfit. Here we chat with Lisa about the very special piece and how her millinery business continues to evolve.
Your hat was part of the outfit which took out the coveted FOTF prize on Crown Oaks Day this year. How did you respond when you heard the news?
To be honest I was shocked and surprised to have my hat as part of the win for FOTF on Crown Oaks Day as I know that the fashions are always so hotly contested and that the outfits are so spectacular. I was so thrilled and excited , and so happy for Emily Hunter . It was particularly exciting because The outfit all came together at the last minute , she purchased the hat from me first, then had her mother make the dress two days before Melbourne Cup and managed to find the perfect accessories the day before.
Can you tell us about the piece? Does it hold any special meaning or was it inspired by anything in particular?
This hat was created over about a 6 week period . It was inspired by my love of lace and the desire to create a piece that represented a spring wonderland. I hand dyed and stiffened layers of lace and hand wired the piece so it would hold its shape . The piece is made from guipure lace , silk and leather.
Tell us a little about your millinery label.
The label Lisa Schaefer Millinery came into being about 5 years ago after many years of creating millinery pieces as a hobby whilst working as a Registered Nurse. Once I decided to take the plunge and do millinery full time my business just grew and grew , it has been an amazing journey ! I originally worked from my home studio on our farm on the outskirts of Grenfell NSW. Recently I expanded the business and have relocated to a shop front known as "Raffia & Co " 58 Main St Grenfell NSW 2810. The doors opened at Raffia & Co this spring and I have been overwhelmed with the response of race goers far and wide who come to me for bespoke millinery. The boutique is a one stop shop for women attending the races with ready made millinery, bespoke millinery, beautiful accessories such as gloves, jewellry, clutches and a dressmaker who can make race wear outfits to measure and to match my millinery. My workroom is upstairs where I am busy creating bespoke millinery, millinery for the shop and running millinery classes.
How did you first get into Millinery?
I have always loved hats even as a little girl, I originally trained at TAFE and have trained with Master Milliners from Sydney, Ireland and Melbourne since to learn advanced millinery techniques. I am constantly learning .
In a sentence tell us how you would describe your designs.
My designs often use lace as this my speciality , or are hand-sculpted straw designs with an organic feel . I love the millinery to have a natural hand sculpted feel, and I also love to play with different textures.
What is your idea customer?
The ideal customer usually has her dress before she orders her hat , but not always , it is always gratifying when a customer falls in love with ready made hat and gets a dress made to compliment the hat as Emily Hunter did when she won FOTF at Melbourne Cup and The FOTF on Crown Oaks Day .
What inspires you most?
I am inspired by fabrics, lace in particular, textures and the challenge to create a piece that looks simple and organic but in reality is complex . I love sleek lines and not too much fuss. I like the fabric or detailing to do all the talking .
Do you have any advice for milliners wanting to make show stopping pieces for their FOTF customers?
I don't feel qualified to give advice to other milliners , but I think personally if you are striving to make a millinery piece that will win FOTF ,bigger is not always better, good design is critical and simple pieces can be particularly striking.
What do you think this might mean for your millinery going forward into 2016?
I already have quite a few bespoke orders since my hat was part of Emily's National Crown Oaks FOTF outfit ,and many of my ready made pieces have just flown out the door of Raffia & Co this spring, so I am really hoping this amazing win will boost my business to new heights and inspire me to make some more original designs with lace headpieces remaining my speciality and mainstay.
» Discover more from Lisa Schaefer
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