January 20, 2011

Your chance to learn millinery with Charo Iglesias


If you happen to be in Madrid, or at a flying distance, you should not miss this opportunity to polish or kickstart your millinery skills at the atelier of Charo Iglesias. Charo is an “old school” milliner (meant as a GREAT compliment), her hats are made to haute couture standards, and she has a distinguished and faithful clientele.

You can see some of her work at her website: www.charoiglesias.com

These are the courses she will be giving:

11, 12 and 13 February 2011: FASCINATORS, BASES and TRIMMMINGS

24, 25, 26 and 27 February 2011: BLOCKING HATS IN STRAW AND FELT

2, 9, 16, 23, 30 March 2011: KNOWLEDGE AND MANIPULATION OF STRAW 1



This is a unique opportunity to learn from one of the best milliners around, and to do it at her own atelier. The only knowledge required is knowing how to sew by hand.

If you want details just let me know on the comments and I will email you the info I have (schedule, description of the course and prices).

July 25, 2009

Graham Smith and the Woolmark Company collection

These amazing pictures belong to the Woolmark Company collection at VADS.

My attention was immediately caught by the side tabs on the “helmets” to hold sunglasses in place and avoid having to squeeze the temples of the glasses inside the hat, isn’t it just great?!  The first picture in particular looks very compelling and could fool people as being a modern picture of retro style clothing.

I also find amazing the sculptural quality of the “bowl” hat that defies gravity, sitting on a chignon, and the wonderful quality of the clothes in the way they are cut and assembled.

All three hats were made by legend milliner Graham Smith. You can learn more about him if you follow this link.

The International Wool Secretariat, now The Woolmark Company, was established in 1937 to undertake research and the global promotion of wool. To that end, they built up a large library of promotional photographs and accompanying press releases which they generously donated to the London College of Fashion in the 1980’s when they relocated and were short of space.

Credit for the pictures:  © London College of Fashion/The Woolmark Company

Top:  Coat in white brushed wool. Hat in white kid. Manufacturer: Dumas & Maury, 1965. Designer Clive (Evans).
Helmet: Graham Smith, Sunglasses: Oliver Goldsmith

Middle: Coat in white wool with curving seams. Hat in white straw. 1966.
Fabric Manufacturer: Moreau
Designer: Clive (Evans)
Model: Ann Milling
Hat: Graham Smith

Bottom: Tunic suit in ivory whipcord. 1965.
Designer: Clive (Evans)
Hat: Graham Smith, Sunglasses: Oliver Goldsmith

Be sure to explore the VADS website, it’s full of jewels. A search under the heading “hat” will deliver you hours of fun.

March 1, 2009

DECORATE YOUR HEAD! Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones

With our tickets bought since December, and an invitation to both the Milliners lunch and the Private View of the exhibition (opening party), we decided to go ahead with the trip and not cancel despite of our recent loss.

We had a great time and it was a wonderful privilege to have been invited.

During the Milliners lunch The Hat Magazine took a picture of all the attending milliners, so be on the lookout for that on the next issue. After the lunch we had the opportunity to take a sneak preview at the exhibition and found it even more wonderful than expected.

The exhibition is divided into sections: Inspiration, the Salon and the Client, all around a center section called Creation, that reproduces a millinery workroom (with hat blocks, a conformateur and loads of other stuff, including all the trash -bits of ribbon, straw, thread- that we all tend to accumulate on the floor).

The “private view” party had an attendance of around 800 people and was top notch. The service was spectacular, they kept on refilling our champagne glasses, served oysters, lobster, raw tuna, and many other delicacies that I don’t remember. There were two sweets corners with the most out of this world sweets: macarons, raspberry mini-tartlets, mini brownies, little pots with I don’t know what… well, heavenly. As you an see in the pictures the waiters had a lovely red V&A mini-hat.

Concerning etiquette, the invitation said “decorate your head”. I made a green version of my bird hat for the occasion, and Nina made herself a high comb, reminiscent of the Spanish combs worn with mantillas by knitting raffia and making raffia flowers that she later dyed.

To my surprise NOT everyone was wearing a hat (how can that be?!!!). There were famous people, but I’m not good at that, so I cannot tell you if I saw them… only later I learnt that Manolo Blahnik -hatless- was there, along with some other heavy weights (check the V&A website and check every little bit it: http://www.vam.ac.uk/microsites/hats-anthology/ , there is a video of the opening with interviews).

To see all my pictures follow this link: V&A Hats- An Anthology by Stephen Jones (Set)

Check also these cool pictures from someone else who attended the opening: Hats- An Anthology by Stephen Jones – Opening Party at V&A London (Set)

December 4, 2008

Video of the III Hat Week exhibition – III Semana del Sombrero

Filed under: III Hat Week,Millinery trivia and events,Other Millinery people — Cristina de Prada @ 12:41 pm

Here is a video I’ve made with my photo camera, it will give you an idea of what the exhibition looked like.


And you can see more pictures if you follow this link.

November 27, 2008

III Hat Week – III Semana del Sombrero

Filed under: III Hat Week,Millinery trivia and events,Other Millinery people — Cristina de Prada @ 11:50 pm

I’ve had an amazing time in Madrid, and I’ve made many wonderful new friends. Main among those are the splendid and magnificent Charo Iglesias and her daughter Henar (also a very talented milliner), as well as Clara Gortázar who makes beautiful hats and is great at organizing. Charo Iglesias is the driving force behind the “Asociación de Sombrereros” (Hatters Association) and also behind the Hat week.

Here is a picture of the exhibition (a big applause to Nina Pawlowsky for her wonderful idea of the chairs, and the fun way in which they are positioned):

We were featured on national television (Tele5), you can see it if you follow this link (by the way, I don’t know for how long this link will be good).

You can check out pictures of the hats on this link.

More on this amazing initiative (that ends tomorrow, 28th November 2008) in future posts!

November 13, 2008

III Hat Week – III Semana del Sombrero – Madrid (Spain)

Filed under: daily life,Millinery trivia and events,Other Millinery people — Cristina de Prada @ 10:35 pm

Invitation to III Hatters Week in Madrid

I want to invite you all to the “III Semana del Sombrero” (“III Hat Week”) that will take place in Madrid (Spain).

It’s organized by the “Asociación de Sombrereros” (Spanish Hatters Association) and will take place from the 24th to the 28th of November 2008.

It’s a collective exhibition of hats made by the members of the Association (three of my hats will also be there!).

The title of the exhibition, “Sentar la Cabeza”,  is inspired by one of Goya’s works, an engraving called “Ya tienen asiento” (“They’ve already got a seat). You can see the engraving in question if you follow this link to the Wesleyan University.

The themes of the exhibition are:

  • “Trade and techniques: straw, felt, flowers and feathers.”
  • “The customer: The art of wearing a hat, protocol.”

This is the agenda:

  • Tuesday 25 at 19:00 Opening.
  • Wednesday 26: Lecture “Hats in 20th century painting: a glance from art, economy and society”.
  • Thursday 27: Styling at the dressing table: Which hat is most flattering for you?
  • Friday 28: Roundtable discussion “Hatters from yesterday and today”, with the participation of Manuel A. de Souza, Charo Arguña, Charo Iglesias, Nina Pawlowsky and Charo Cortázar.

I hope you will stop by and visit the exhibition!

October 17, 2008

Interesting video about Maison Michel in Paris and other delightful stuff

Filed under: Millinery trivia and events,Other Millinery people — Cristina de Prada @ 11:58 am

I would like to share with you some wonderful web finds I’ve come across lately.

First of all, not to miss, is this LuxeTV short feature (click here) about the famous Parisian Maison Michel.  The following information about Maison Michel comes from the website “Enterprises du Patrimoine Vivant”, a website that lists artisan enterprises from France:

In the 19th century, women didn’t go out with their heads uncovered. Yet will there be a place for hats in the 21st century? The answer is yes – but in other forms. While broad-brimmed hats may remain reserved for the races and the Grand Prix, weddings and ceremonies, caps, toques, turbans, cloches, berets, baseball caps and eyeshades are all to be seen parading the catwalks. And walking the streets.

Founded in 1936 by Auguste Michel, the House was set to become the appointed purveyor to the great fashion brands with the arrival, in 1968, of two experienced milliners, Pierre and Claudine Debard.

In 1975, Pierre Debard had the idea of having those marvellous straw-sewing machines, the Weissmans, repaired to make a new generation of sewing machines, and offering new designs in stitched straw to the great fashion houses. Pierre Cardin was the first to adopt them. Dior, Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent would follow.

Kenzo and many others knew where to turn to ask the impossible : an extremely rare straw, a devilish drape, a mastery of satin, velvet, felt or leather. At Maison Michel, like nowhere else, we know how to finish a taupé or shear a boater for you.

The House has preserved over three thousand forms, sculpted in a soft wood, lime, which we use to produce the most beautiful – and often the most unexpected – hats. Our drawers are overflowing with an impressive stock of antique straws and felts. All the secrets of the trade are concentrated in the hands of a small cluster of specialist, complementary craftsmen: it is the chapelier (‘hatmaker’) who forms the hat, while the modiste (‘milliner’) sews, trims and finishes it. This unique expertise has been preserved by Chanel, since taking over Maison Michel in 1996.

A particular type of clientele appreciates the beautiful workshops of the Rue Sainte-Anne. They always come back, with wishes that require both dexterity and originality : cache-chignons, mink pillbox hats, pearl-beaded boaters, feather-trimmed capelines, felt cloches…

Chanel hat from 1935 made with exotic straw Also on the web site  Enterprises du Patrimoine Vivant there is a (different) short video about Maison Michel. Click here to go there (once there click on the play sign to see it). You can also click on “know-how” to see beautiful pictures of the hat making process, and on “products” to see pictures of finished hats. If you feel curious, browse through the web site in search of other milliners and you will find little jewels like a link to the web site of Chéri Bibi milliners. There is a slide show of superb pictures on the main page, showing milliners at work, as well as details of machinery and materials, and it doesn’t stop there, browse through their web page and find the “guided tour” video (and don’t forget to click to see the other videos, like straw sewing machine, caps making and hat moulding, as well as their links page).

At a time when small specialized ateliers are disappearing, Chanel under the guidance of Karl Lagerfeld, has taken over, to ensure their survival, seven fashion specialized ateliers from Paris, one of them being Maison Michel. Lagerfeld also organized a special show for these artisans called “The Métiers d’Art collection”. The other artisans take over by Chanel are Desrues (costume jeweller and button maker), Lesage (embroiderers), Lemarié (feather artisan), Massaro (boot making), Guillet (flower maker), and Goosens (silversmith).

Not to miss is also this LuxeTV short feature about Belgian milliner Fabienne Delvigne.  She makes hats for Belgian Royalty and talks about the profession and her beginnings.

Another interesting link is this snippet from a french documentary about hat making: click here to get there (they sell the full documentary about apprenticeships of artisan jobs… and I bought it, I will let you know about it when it arrives).

If all this has left you thirsty for more hats, now it’s the time to visit Jody’s wonderful blog about vintage fashion called Couture Allure, featuring now some fun comments and gorgeous hat pictures.

I hope you have also enjoyed the scanned pages from L’Officiel de la mode, showing Chanel hats from 1935.

June 18, 2008

Royal Ascot 2008 this week

Filed under: Millinery trivia and events,Other Millinery people — Cristina de Prada @ 11:13 pm

Royal Ascot 2008 Poster - Philip Treacy hatLast Tuesday (17th June) Royal Ascot 2008 began and it will be going on until Saturday 21st.

On the left you can see the Royal Ascot 2008 poster. That gorgeous hat was made by Philip Treacy for that campaign and I love the retro look.

I’ve been following the event on the BBC, and it’s been lots of fun to see all the nice hats and dresses.

If you are unable to watch Royal Ascot on TV, you can still enjoy it by googling for pictures and reading the Royal Ascot Media Guide. The best part of the Media guide starts on page 10 with the Royal Enclosure Dress Code.

Please know that in the unlikely event that you were allowed in the Royal Enclosure (you need sponsorship from a member who has attended at least four times) you would have to respect the following dress code:

For Ladies, only formal day dress with a hat or substantial fascinator will be acceptable. Off the shoulder, halter neck, spaghetti straps and dresses with a strap of less than one inch and /or mini skirts are considered unsuitable. Midriffs must be covered and trouser suits must be full length and of matching material and colour.

Gentlemen are required to wear either black or grey morning dress, including a waistcoat, with a top hat.

Isnt’ that just wonderful? I thought that kind of thing didn’t exist any more! It should be made compulsory for everyday life. Men in tails and women with hat. Every day. All the time.

The dress code for General Admission is more relaxed:

Ladies are required to dress in a manner appropriate to a smart occasion. Many wear hats although this is not compulsory. Gentlemen are required to wear a shirt and tie, preferably with a suit or jacket. Sports attire, jeans and shorts are strictly forbidden.

By the way… did you know that on Gold Cup day (19th) you can bet which colour hat The Queen is going to be wearing? Apparently the favorite colours at the moment are yellow, blue, and white… and someone is going to be very rich if the Queen shows up with a leopard skin colour hat (odds of 150 to one)… when you thought you had seen it all!

Apparently (see page 13) there will be a fashion show by Philip Treacy, and I hope I haven’t missed that one. Hopefully it will be tomorrow.

The Royal Ascot Media guide is full of interesting Ascot trivia, so it’s a recommended read!

Finally, rejoice looking at this visual guide from the Ascot website on what is acceptable and what not if you are going to be in the Royal Enclosure.

May 24, 2008

Nina’s Hat for Ship and Shore

Filed under: Hat for ship and shore,Millinery material,Other Millinery people — Cristina de Prada @ 4:31 pm

Image with her Hat for Ship and Shore Nina with her hat for ship and shore!

She couldn’t resist making one for herself, but…who can blame her?!

Made using vintage materials, she looks very handsome in it!

And she has lent me vintage material so I can make myself one with them:

Vintage millinery material

March 18, 2008

Remember that straw braid hat that I began?… Hats off to Nina!

Filed under: Other Millinery people — Cristina de Prada @ 12:03 am

Image of the finished hat by Nina PawlowskyRemember the day I helped Nina with a hat she was making for a theater play? It was for Oscar Wilde’s play “Lady Windermere’s Fan”, that opened on April 19th 2007 at the Catalan National Theater. I wrote about it here.

I did promise to show you a picture of the finished hat (designed and finished by Nina), and here it is.

By the way, Nina Pawlowsky won two awards for her work on this play. One is the “Adria Gual” award for costume design, given by the ADE (Scene Directors Association) during a ceremony in Madrid. The other one is the Butaca award for best wardrobe.

I say she’s the best and she really deserved those awards, and more!

Here are other shots of this hat:

Side viewSide view of the hatInside of hat, notice the horsehair used to fix the hat to the head.

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