February 24, 2013

The making of my "cache-chignon" hat with a green bow

Filed under: Cache-chignon,Hat Designer of the Year competition 2011,Millinery projects — Cristina de Prada @ 9:54 pm


I want to share some of the details of the making of my chignonette (cache-chignon) hat with a green bow (it’s about time, I’ve had this blog entry half written for more than a year).  I’ve made several versions of this hat and I really love it. I’ve never been much of a fan of 60’s headwear, but since I did my research for the Hat Designer of the Year 2011 competition whose theme was La Dolce Vita (Federico Fellini’s 1960 film), I’ve grown to enjoy ,respect and be inspired by the hats of that era.

By the way, if you feel an irresistible urge to own one of these, and you are in Los Angeles, you can buy one at The Millinery Guild boutique!

This picture is of the first cache-chignon hat I made, for the Hat Designer of the Year competition.

Chignon cover

A similar one (no veil) made it to the press (La Vanguardia), when I wore it to a 50’s themed party at the Fashion Museum of Barcelona. In the picture I’m chatting away with my dear friend and colleague Nina Pawlowsky:


I did a lot of research for the competition, because it was such a specific theme. Research is something I enjoy doing because it forces me to plunge deep as I try to understand why fashion develops a certain way at a certain time. Here are some of the images I collected during my research:

InspiracionConcursoHats(sorry for the repeated image!)

click on “more” to see the rest… (more…)

September 14, 2011

My report: The final of the Hat Designer of the Year 2011

Filed under: Hat Designer of the Year competition 2011,Millinery trivia and events — Cristina de Prada @ 10:05 pm

The competition Hat Designer of the Year is organized by The Hat Magazine. Every year they decide on a theme and invite professional milliners to participate. On 2010 the theme was Steampunk, and this year it was La Dolce Vita. The participating milliners have to design a collection of 6 hats (2 haute couture, 2 blocked, 2 pattern) and send sketches to the magazine. From those sketches the judges select a few that have to actually make 3 hats from their collection. From the finished hats, 6 designers (or 9 this year) are selected to go to the final.

All finalists except for Kerrie Ann Meaton-Baker (from Australia) came to Paris for the final that took place at Premiere-Classe. The hats that made it to the final were all very nicely  displayed at the center of the trade show, and after the prizes were announced there was champagne for everyone.

Here are some pictures of the event. On the top left corner I’m with Felix Weber and Dirk Seegmüller trying to shamelessly steal away their 2nd prize medal (it did not work, unfortunately). Under that picture on the left is Nigel Denford of The Hat Magazine with the representative of the Florence based hat company Marzi, awarding the industry prize to Emmy Jaarsma (who also won the 1st prize and popular vote), and to its right is judge Elvis Pompilio. Underneath that a group picture and on the right there’s a general view of the exhibition, a pictue of my hat and a picture of myself with judge Elvis Pompilio. Finally a lovely picture of the Denfords: Nigel, Alice and Carole.


On the group picture above you can see, standing: Beth Simpson, Ani Stafford-Townsend, NamQ Park, Emmy Jaarsma, Dirk-Jan Korstchot, Jill Simpson, Les Incroyables (Felix Weber, Dirk Seegmüller) and Cristina de Prada. Seating: Elvis Pompilio and Carole Denford from the Hat Magazine.

These are the hats of the winner, Dutch milliner from The Hague, Emmy Jaarsma:

Emmy Jaarsma

The hats of my friends from Germany, Felix and Dirk, Les Incroyables, who won a shared 2nd prize:


The hats of Kerrie Ann Meaton-Baker from Australia:


And the hats of the rest of the finalists:


All in all it was a lovely experience and I’m really happy I got to be in the final and meet all these lovely people!

Oh, I almost forgot to include the sketch for the hat that got to the final! Here it is:

June 26, 2011

Going to the final of the Hat Designer of the Year 2011 competition: The leather bubble cap

Here is the bubble cap:

Collage bubble hat blog

Here is the sketch:


This cap design just came to my mind after seeing lots of beautiful 60’s hats on books and magazines. With all my designs for the competition I wanted to do something new, completely original, and not a copy of something I had seen. The truth is I have never liked 60’s hats. In my mind that era was the swan’s song of hats, with hats being slaves to the crazy hair-do’s of the time. But while researching to make the hats for the competition I came across many extravagant and fun designs that made me change my mind. Perhaps it has also to do with the fact that the 60’s are inspiring today’s fashion more and more and I’m on that wavelength too.

You may feel the need to remind me that the theme for the competition is La Dolce Vita (Federico Fellini’s film that premiered in Italy in February 1960), and that the hats there tended more towards 50’s looks that 60’s. Well, that is up for discussion since many hats from the film were pretty adventurous and outrageous, but not only that, the competition called for 50’s and 60’s inspired hats. So there you have it. That is why I came up with this design.

I like my hats to look as good on the inside as they do on the outside, so here you can see the lining of the cap made with a gorgeous vintage kimono silk (disclaimer: no kimonos were harmed in the making of this hat, the fabric comes from an unused  vintage bolt). I interfaced the silk with heavy iron on interfacing to get that structured look also on the inside.


The first step to making this hat was creating the pattern. It is a totally new design and I didn’t know anything like this, so I had to make it from scratch and my favorite method for that is making a plasticine model of the hat (modeling clay that does not harden) and from there make the pattern pieces. It’s not the first time I’ve done this and shared it with you, you can check it out here: flat pattern out of a 3D shape

[THERE IS MORE!! This is a long post with many pictures, click on the MORE button below to see it all]


June 24, 2011

Going to the final of the Hat Designer of the Year 2011: Day and night hat

This is my multipurpose design, the Giorno/Sera (Day/Night) hat. It’s a hat that works as a sun hat with a wide brim, but which can be used as an evening hat by removing the brim and attaching a veil.

Here is the sketch of the hat (and yes, I sketched that not having a clue how I was going to solve the issue of the removable brim and veil!!):


Two of my projects for the competition were made with sewn straw braid. The reason is that I love the possibilities of sewing “straw” braid by machine and the wonderful final look. It helps too that I recently took at course at the Hat Museum/Atelier of Chazelles-sur-Lyon that was a real eye opener in what concerns the use of a hat braid sewing machine, with top notch teacher and wonderful person Jean-Pierre Tritz. Here is a picture of us students with the much admired Jean-Pierre Tritz (he’s 4th from the left, I’m 2nd from the left). I cannot recommend highly enough this course and this teacher: he is THE MAN.


Here is the picture of the finished hat assembled as EVENING hat (the straw used is Starbright):


The front angle on the hat was made by sewing the braid closer together on that side. Little by little the right angle is achieved.

[Lots more pictures follow, just click on the “more” button on the left!]


June 23, 2011

Going to the final of the Hat Designer of the Year 2011 competition: sketches

My friend Montez (Susan Murphy) who writes the wonderful blog Chapeau du Jour sent me an email on March 12 telling me about the Hat Magazine competition themed “La Dolce Vita” to be judged by milliner Elvis Pompilio and encouraging me to participate (I have every issue of the Hat Magazine, but I had completely missed the article about the competition!).

In order to participate on the competition I had to draw 6 designs of hats and send them off to the Hat Magazine by the end of March, so I only had two weeks to work on them, but I embraced the project and managed to finish them in time.

My life would have been much easier if I had first made the hats and then sketched them, but there was no time so I draw the hats out of my imagination (which proved to be quite a challenge later on).

Here is the announcement at The Hat Magazine of the 12 milliners who moved on to Round 2:HatDesignerCompetitionAnouncement

I was lucky to be one of the 12 milliners that made it to the Round 2, and I was instructed to make 3 specific hats out of the 6 sketches. Everything moved really fast after that because of the many things going on in my life at that time (co-organizing Barcelona’s Hat Parade -Passejada amb Barret-, giving hat making lessons, a trip abroad) and I had to work really hard again to meet the deadline for the finished hats, but it sure was fun!

The second round was judged this past June 21st by Elvis Pompilio and Sylvie Pourrat and her team (from Premiere Classe). They selected 9 milliners who will be showing hats for the final judging on September 4 (one of my hats will be there!).

These are two of the the three sketches that were selected for me to turn into actual hats (the hat that will be exhibited in Paris will remain a secret for now!!):


These are the other three sketches (I am better at making hats than at sketches, I promise you).


This is all for now. Pictures and insight into the making of two of the hats soon!!

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