Creating a hat or a collection takes time, patience and creativity. I start with an idea. Something unique, that will unify the different hats if I’m making more than one. Once I have the theme, it’s time to research and see where inspiration takes me. Hours upon hours are spent reading and looking at images trying to create a story of who, what and where. This is the point of amassing information. Rough sketches of the individual hat or collection of hats begin to unfold and blocks need to be ordered.
Once I have a starting point for the hat or the collection, it’s time to delve into fabrics and colors. Trips to the finest fabric stores in New York City offer a dizzying array of luxurious fabrics. Samples are collected and brought back to the studio where they are matched to the different hat ideas in the collection. Trims are investigated, planned out and ordered. Each hat has to stand on its own, yet work collectively in the collection.
The millinery tools are assembled. Buckram, wire, felt, thread, pliers, gloves, rope, pins. The magic begins and the hat starts to unfold. Loads of patience help transform ideas into hats. A critical eye ensures the metamorphosis is on course. Tweaks are needed. Elements need to be added or removed, until the crescendo is reached and the collection is born.
My philosophy is that the hat is an extension of your personality. Seen but not really felt. As a milliner, I draw upon years of knowledge and training but even then inspiration takes time. Designs need to be conceived and reviewed. Fabrics selected and blocked. Trims created and added one at a time. It’s a process that shouldn’t be rushed.