If ever there was a hat to make your mouth water it would be this delight by milliner Tiffany Arey. Inspired by the Parisian Bakery Laduree, this soft sinamay disk hat trimmed with delicate venetian lace and handmade Leather flowers is sure to tempt the tastebuds of any onlooker! Tiffany's interest in fashion and involvement in the horse world has largely influenced her natural progression towards millinery and she has created many award winning pieces since beginning her career.
Her sophisticated pieces exude timeless elegance and are often finished with leather and silk flowers handmade by Tiffany. She describes herself as largely self-taught however, her practice of skills and workmanship learnt have combined over the years to help develop her into a very talented milliner. Read on to find out more about milliner Tiffany Arey.
What do you love most about Millinery?
There are a many things I love about it! I'm drawn to hats in general because I think they can add so much to an outfit. The right hat, worn well, has the ability to elevate your style and certainly adds a dash of personality! When it comes to making millinery, the ability to transform two-dimensional materials into something wearable - and hopefully beautiful! - is both exciting and fulfilling.
How did you get into Millinery?
Like a few others in the Hat Academy community, I got my start making hats for myself. This was about five years ago when I was inspired to create a hat for the annual Ladies Day hat competition at the Devon Horse Show. There was a "Mad Hatter" theme and I came up with an idea to make a hat that included a teetering tower of miniature black and white hat boxes. It was a lot of fun to make and I was thrilled to end up with a first place ribbon for the most creative hat that day. While that hat was mostly a glorified craft project, the enjoyment I got from it - not to mention the positive feedback from others - inspired me to start reading and learning how to make hats "for real". I made a lot of hats for myself as part of the learning process and it wasn't long before people started asking me to make hats for them. In June of 2015 I took a deep breath... and officially launched a part-time millinery business and a website for selling my work. I still have a full-time corporate job as an internal communications specialist, but my nights and weekends are filled with "all things hat"!
In a sentence tell us how you would describe your designs.
I think most of my designs can be described as feminine and romantic in a nod to the past, but with a dash of modern thrown in!
What is your ideal customer?
It's always great when someone has a starting point for what they want, but who is easygoing and open to ideas and a little experimentation. Beyond that I love working with people who have an appreciation for all the time and effort that goes into making a handmade hat and who enjoys owning something that's one of a kind!
What inspires you?
There's really no one thing that inspires me...and I never know where inspiration may come from! Sometimes it may be a beautiful floral arrangement, or the interplay between shapes or colors that sparks an idea. And of course I get lots of ideas for new designs while working on multiple hats: something I'm using for one of them randomly lands next to another work in progress - and a new idea is born. Other times, the pattern, texture or interesting detail in a dress or accessory has me heading for my "ideas" notebook. And of course I love seeing the amazing things that other milliners create - that's a major form of inspiration in and of itself!
If you could invite any milliner to tea who would it be?
This is a tough one, but I am going to say Philip Treacy. I'm a huge fan of his creative mind and impeccable craftsmanship. I would love to talk to him about his career journey, where he get his inspiration, what his biggest challenges are and maybe even get him to reveal some of his construction techniques! And his Irish accent would be a plus, I find it very soothing to listen to haha. Does anyone know what kind of tea he prefers?
What is your favourite material to work with?
I really love using leather to make flowers; it gives every petal so much character and people are always surprised to see it being used for this purpose. But I'm also a sucker for tulle and veiling, so it was especially fun for me to create the "Salon Laduree" hat, which incorporated a fine tulle fabric and lambskin leather flowers in a delicious shade of mint green.
Whats your best millinery tip?
I keep a small and flexible artist's palette knife on hand to help release stubborn crowns and brims from my blocks.
If you had to make your last hat what would it be?
Creating a hat that's entirely made of hundreds of handmade flowers and/or flower petals has been on my list of projects to tackle someday. Considering the time and effort involved it may very well be the last hat I make!
Famous words to live by.