{take me away № 20 | millinery studios around the world}


The hat is not for the street: it will never be democratized. But there are certain houses that one cannot enter without a hat. And one must always wear a hat when lunching with people whom one does not know well. One appears to one’s best advantage.

—Coco Chanel


Above: David & Victoria Beckham [in a hat by Philip Treacy], at the wedding of Prince William & Catherine Middleton, Friday 29 April 2011, at Westminster Abbey

Today, travel & fashion collide, as we catch a breathtaking glimpse of the beautiful world of hats, exploring some of the new and best millinery studios around the world, discovering a little of their history, and concluding with a few tips for wearing and preserving these impossibly chic fashion accessories.

Above: Diana, Princess of Wales, wears tartan by Caroline Charles and a beret to the Braemar Games, September 1981

And as we take a look at the fine art of millinery, it is wonderful to reflect on the tradition of hat-wearing—one that began many, many years ago . . .


The term ‘milliner’ dates far back, back to the 16th century in Italy. At the time, the term referred to those who were a supplier of ‘fancy’ goods, including items such as gloves, straw hats, accessories, and such, which Milan had built such a reputation for producing. It was in the 1770’s that the ‘milliner’ term as we know it today came into place, and designers began to design and make hats under this term. Though the term technically began in Italy, the more decorative aspects were noted in France for the most part, alongside England — as the English were the originators and developers of many extraordinary styles of hats.


It was in the mid-1800’s, that millinery works established themselves along the same level of quality and skill as haute couture. Beautiful hats were designed specifically for each individual, and were worn to emphasize and reflect one’s personality, style and characteristics. Beyond such, in the late Edwardian period, hats became quite a status symbol. Throughout the years, hats maintained their popularity, until the 1960’s, when the popularity faded.

Refreshingly so, more recently, hats have been brought into the modern world with a fresh take. Once again, they are celebrated and reflect the wearer’s style and personality; and some argue, are more of a fun completion to an outfit than ever before.

Above: scenes from the film, Pretty Woman, (1990), with Julia Roberts & Richard Gere

01 | Jaycow Millinery in Hong Kong, China

The sole milliner in Hong Kong, Jaycow has certainly made her mark in the world of hats. Armed with passion and creativity, [as she was previously as stylist], and training from the London College of Fashion as well as royal millinery from Rose Cory, she has the ability to create unique and outstanding pieces. “Hats are my passion…and the more glamorous and ostentatious they are, the more interesting it is to look at the person wearing them. My hands enable me to create very detailed and flamboyant pieces for my clients, creating just the right impact they are looking for…” Jaycow has been bringing headwear awareness to the population of Hong Kong, through stage performances and such. We see reflections of beauty and culture through her endless lovely creations.

Above: The Earl Spencer’s daughters, [Princess Diana’s nieces], Lady Amelia, Lady Eliza and Lady Kitty, at the wedding of Prince William & Catherine Middleton; Lady Kitty wears a gown designed by Victoria Beckham, who was also in attendance.

02 | Anya Caliendo in New York, U.S.A
Russian born Anya Caliendro was originally inspired by a family member’s book, detailing beautiful black and white photographs of the royal Russian family. It was this initial fascination that led Anya, years later, to Parson’s School of Design in New York, where she pursued fashion courses; after which time, she then travelled to the UK, where she was taught fine millinery skills by the famous Rose Cory. With great skills and vision, Anya headed back to New York to open her own millinery boutique. She has since designed a number of collections, and has created hats for well-known designers such as: Donna Karan, Jason Wu, John Galliano, and more.
Above: left, Princess Diana in twisted strands of pearls and a pink outfit by Catherine Walker & matching pink felt hat by John Boyd, Sicily 1985; right, during a 1983 visit to Canada

03 | Maison Michel in Paris, France

Fine and beautiful headgear has been the mission of Maison Michel, Paris, since 1936. Creating hats for some of the most prestigious studios, Maison Michel is recognized for its vast capacity to explore wonderful shapes and exquisite materials. The person behind it all, Laetitia Crahay, head of accessories and jewellery at CHANEL and also the Artistic Director of the Maison Michel, has been designing extraordinary ready-to-wear hats and other hair accessories since 2006. More recently, the intriguing pieces from this inspiring company have been seen worn on fashion’s elite, such as Elena Perminova and Anouck Lepere, as well as atop the heads of lovely models on the runways [i.e. Chanel’s cruise collection].

{p.s.} view the spring/summer & fall/winter 2011 lookbooks


Above: modern romance from Twigs & Honey

04 | Stephen Jones in London, England

“Stephen Jones is the maker of the most beautiful hats in the world.” —so said Anna Piaggi, of Italian Vogue. Indeed. Since the launch in the early 1980’s, Stephen Jones headwear has certainly grown into one of the most respected and well-known millinery shops there ever were. The hats, adorned by Princess Diana to Mick Jagger, Dita Von Teese and Beyoncé, offer such a wonderful sense of drama, yet lightness of touch. They are said to transport the wearer into a whole other world, through their shape, their body, texture, color, and evidential feeling. Stephen Jones himself takes a large role within the fashion industry — by the way of sporting and fashion events, publications and more. Coming up in March of this year, together with Manolo Blahnik, Stephen will be the focus of ‘Bath in Fashion‘, a festival which will include an exhibition of hats, films and more. Situated in the iconic Covent Garden, in London, the Stephen Jones shop would certainly be fascinating to visit.


Above, Diana, Princess of Whales

05 | Ann Shoebridge in Ripponlea, Australia

Ann Shoebridge, based in Australia, created her very first collection of lovely hats back in 2003. With a background in contemporary art, the designer brings sculpture, colour and light to her collections. Though not in the millinery business for a long time, since her beginnings, she has created quite a large fanbase. Her pieces are worn by a number of stylish women, including Kate Waterhouse and model Jessica Hart [here, right], just to name a few. Ann’s work has been featured within several well-read publications including Vogue, Grazia, Harpers Bazaar, Cosmo Bride, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. A fascinating newcomer with great abilities and a blossoming talent.

Above: Catherine Middleton wears a Launceston Place hat by British milliner Gina Foster to the wedding of Zara Phillips , the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, to Mike Tindall, former England rugby player; the hat is from the designer’s Kensington W8 spring/summer collection; the hat originally comes in navy, but Kate requested a neutral straw coulis to match her cream embroidered Day Birger et Mikkelsen brocade coat; she also customised the hat with a large flower she had added to the sinamay bow on the underside of the hat’s brim
[another view of the hat here]

06 | Sally-Ann Provan in Edinburgh, Scotland

Sally-Ann Provan, a designer based in Edinburgh, Scotland, creates a wonderful range of modern millinery and accessories that are timeless and elegant. Her career in designing hats came after receiving an honours degree in jewelry. From there, Sally took part in white paper conservation and museum sculpture, before exploring her passion for hats and accessories with training in London. She has trained under the late Queen Mother’s milliner as well as The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Creating hats for a host of clients worldwide, she not only creates hats for individual wear, but for theatre companies, the opera, television, and more {such as the BBC, and the Robert de Niro film ‘The Good Shepherd“[trailer]}. In fact, more recently, Sally has shown for two seasons at London Fashion Week.

Above: cloche hats, right, a fashion editorial shot by Barry Lategan for Vogue UK, 1974; left, Twiggy;
[also, Angelina Jolie in ‘The Changeling’]

Simone D’Aillencourt by Henry Clarke, Vogue 1954


07 | Irene Bussemaker in Brabant, Netherlands

Dutch milliner, Irene Bussemaker, began her career in design long before she completed her training. Even before she graduated from The Academy of Art in 1993, she began apprenticing under Philip Treacy in London — one of the top milliners in the world. Since such time, her collections have caught the attention and respect of many, worldwide. Indeed, she has won first prize at the Atelier-Musée du Chapeay in France, and was also named “hat designer of the year” in Paris just a few years ago. Perhaps you will recognize her fingerprint in the fashion world, as some designs have been worn by the likes of Milla Jovovich, Freja Beha Erichsen, and the stunning Christina Hendricks. Additionally, her hats have been photographed by some of the greatest talents in the world — including the legendary Karl Lagerfeld.

Audrey Hepburn photographed by Howell Conant


08 | Federica Moretti Handmade in Milan, Italy

Perhaps one of the youngest of well-known milliners, Federica Moretti, at just twenty-eight years old, has already accomplished much. She attended the Design Institute of Milan, and since, has used her knowledge and unique sense and flair to create a wide array of designs. Indeed, wonderful collaborations, with great names such as: Just Cavalli, Borsalino, Mila Schon, Byblos, Moschino, and a number of others, as well as features in publications such as : Vogue Italia, Elle Korea, WWD, and many more. From mesmerizing, sculptural-like creations to more ready-to-wear pieces, Federica Moretti’s creations are consistently lovely.

Above: Princess Beatrice, the oldest daughter of Prince Andrew & Sarah, Duchess of York, and also the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, in the Philip Treacy creation that created quite an astonishing stir; the infamous hat would later sell for £81,100 (approximately $130,400) to an anonymous bidder, and would even become an internet meme [more about memes here, and more images here, here & here]


{fashion hats | when to wear}

* during luncheons & garden parties
* at weddings & religious services
* during indoor performances
* when the national anthem is being played
* when visiting someone’s home

Above: Grace Kelly arriving in Monaco, April 15, 1956

{fashion hats | when to remove}

* when blocking others’ view at an event
* while at work (indoors)
* when wearing an evening gown (with a dinner dress is fine)

Above: creations from Rachel Trevor-Morgan millinery

{sports-style hats | when to remove}

* while attending indoor performances (i.e. plays)
* when visiting someone’s home
* while attending a religious service (i.e. church)
* while at work (indoors)
* in restaurants, coffee shops & such
* when the national anthem is being played/flag parade
* in public building such as city hall, library, school, etc.
* while being introduced to another person

{an additional note} : anything placed on a woman’s hatband must be on the right side
(left for men’s hats)

Above: Natalia Vodianova from Rizzoli’s Valentino: Themes and Variations by Pamela Golbin


* pick your hat up underneath, by both the front and back brim to maintain the shape and set of the brim
* rest your hat on a hat stand or block when it is not being worn (avoid flat surfaces)


* hats should be dusted off with a soft-bristled brush, as stiff brushes will often tear felt & such
* use a dark coloured brush for dark hats & a light colored brush for light coloured hats
* a dampened towel with a slight nap can also be used to dust hats off, rubbing swiftly, clockwise
* for tougher marks, use a soft, small-pored sponge (ie. a makeup sponge)
* use an art eraser to also remove tough spots (be sure to use a constant, clockwise motion)
* if you are unable to remove stains, seek a professional’s assistance
* for straw hats, brush with a plain whisk broom (if wet, simply wipe dry with a cloth)
* never use a hair dryer to dry out a hat, as it may cause further damage
* if your hat is quite wet from rain, turn out the sweatband, and provide a platform for the hat to dry on

Above: Givenchy short-sleeved dress, photography by Henry Clarke, 1955

Additional links you might also enjoy : a lovely hat box traveling case, circa 1950s | join the headwear association — promoting hats & headwear around the world | Queen Elizabeth II : celebrating 60 years of hats | for learning the trade : Rose Cory | finely crafted hat blocks [a necessity] | & lastly, discover which hat suits your face shape best



{notes from the editor:
a few fun things}

for interest, a few famous hat wearers:

* isabella blow : one // two // three // four // five
* lady gaga : one // two // three // four // five
* anna dello russo : one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight
* sarah jessica parker : one // two // three
* kate moss : one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight
* more audrey hepburn : one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight

* more kate middleton : one // two // three // four // five // six // seven

phillip treacyand because it is reported that he designed 36 hats for the royal wedding, you may wish to read more about one of the world’s greatest milliners : here

{p.s.} sophie, countess of wessex also looked lovely

FURTHER READING | countdown to the royal wedding : tiaras // the royal wedding : with this kiss

—roséline xo

[concept & words by sarah klassen; editing, image compilation  ]

{images & additional credits : top image, photography by henry clarke // the beckhams // princess diana in tartan : here & here // carriage // pretty woman : here, here & here // the earl spencer’s daughters, image & details from here // princess diana in pink, jayne fincher / getty images, via here, details via here // twigs & honey via green wedding shoes // diana collage : here & here // kate collage : here, here & here; details from the mail online // vogue uk, here & here // twiggy // princess beatrice // grace kelly // henry clarke & here // top image, anna dello russo pairs a philip treacy with a hot pink balenciaga coat : here, here & here}