Shaking Off the Rust

Recently I decided to create a small collection of felt hats for Fall and Winter. Although I sew daily, it’s been a while since I’ve designed and produced numerous pieces in a short time-frame. My goal was to complete 13-18 hats. Which required me to shake off some of the rust that had settled into my gears, and to push myself into action despite some mild squeals of protest.

To begin, I spent time looking through my wooden blocks, studying varied shapes and dimensions. I gathered some inspiration from photos and then blocked a few hats to see how this exercise might unfold.

Inspiration: Woman in Biba suits 1960’s

Inspiration: Woman in Biba suits 1960’s

Hats continued to build upon my work desk, and as I took a step back to evaluate the progress, an obvious and familiar style emerged. One that I recognized well. No matter the inspiration, or the intended direction, I saw evidence of my fingerprints on each shape before me. Proving once again that I can’t escape myself.

My directive was to keep the hats simple, thus making them wearable on a day to day basis. I kept colours neutral, despite my love of colour, and I made sure not to overly embellish them, because I wanted their shape to speak for itself.

One of the aspects of millinery that continues to be a struggle is that many women don’t feel at ease wearing a hat. Hats are often viewed as ‘too dressy,’ or that they make too much of a statement, or women believe they just don’t look good in hats. Hence my desire to keep to simple shapes.

I love it when a hat is both beautiful and functional. I want to speak to the modern woman, to provide her with something that is useful, and which enhances her sense of style without scaring her away.

Whether I achieved all of this with my current designs is still to be seen. I did manage to complete 15 pieces and feel very good about working through the process. I had moments where I fully embraced each step and others where I fought the tedious hours of hand-stitching. I stayed the course and am happy and ready to present my newest work.

I called the collection ‘Facile’, not because it was the easiest collection to create, but because I dream about women once again finding it easy to place a beautiful chapeau upon her lovely head.

I will be presenting many hats from this collection at East Village Hats in New York on October 19th, 2018.


Photography by Keith Haist

Photography by Keith Haist

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