July 8, 2012

Hat Designer of the Year 2012. Part 3: Paris final


Finally, what a lot of you have been waiting for, the report and pictures of the final that took place on July 2nd 2012. As you can see there was a country theme going on with bales of hay (echoing the theme for the exhibits outside of the hall). I must say that last year the setup was better, but perhaps this year there have been more people daring to look at the hats because they were more accessible.

General view of the exhibit

There was a banner in French describing the competition and explaining the theme, which was “LUCK” but in the banner it had been rebaptized as “GET LUCKY”, not quite the same as you will agree.

Me, in front of the banner

The winner of this years competition has been Honoyo Imai, a japanese milliner. Her hats were inspired by “Omikuji”, Japanese fortunes written on pieces of paper that are bought at shrines and tied on branches of nearby trees.

(click “more” to see the rest of this post!)


July 7, 2012

Hat Designer of the Year 2012. Part 2: My hats

Did you already see my sketches? Well, these are the hats I was asked to make for the semifinal of the Hat Designer of the Year competition 2012 and that have been exhibited for the final at Première Classe in Paris:

Cristina de Prada's hats for the Hat Designer of the Year 2012 competition

Do you want to know how I made them?… Then keep on reading!


The theme for this competition was LUCK, and this hat is a positive twist on a bad luck omen, a broken mirror that traditionally means 7 years of bad luck has turned into 7 years of HAT luck, and that is very good luck indeed. Initially I wasn’t thinking of writing words with the glass shards but every time I looked at the glass shards (made of plexiglass) my brain saw letters, so in the end I decided to write HAT LUCK on the hat!

Plexiglass mirror pieces spelling HATThe plexiglas has a protective film that I kept until the very last minute, and that allowed me to write notes to know which piece was which!

(click on “more” to see the rest of the entry)


July 4, 2012

Hat Designer of the Year 2012. Part 1: My entry -the sketches-

Box in which my hats travelled for the competition

Last Monday was the final of the Hat Designer of the Year, a millinery competition organized by The Hat Magazine, and I was lucky to be one of the 6 finalists with three of my hats being exhibited at the Première Classe fashion trade show in Paris (30th June-3rd July 2012).

I want to give you a full report, but first I must start with a spoiler: I did not win any of the prizes… still, being there at the final, one of the lucky 6 (out of more than 60 initial entries) it was a big satisfaction.

This competition takes place every year, and those milliners who want to participate have to design 6 hats based on the theme that the organizers have set and send the corresponding sketches. Last year the theme was La Dolce Vita, and this year it was, simply, LUCK. A tricky theme! The judge was Marie-Claire Barban of the company Cheri Bibi.

There must be two model hats, to be made to a couture level; two ready-to-wear hats which could be produced in a factory; and two hats made from a flat pattern (cut-and-sewn or knitted).

Of all the entries, the judge (Marie-Claire Barban) selected 14 designers who moved on to the semi finals. These 14 designers where instructed to make specific designs (one of each category) and to send them over to the Hat Magazine. Based on the hats made six finalists where selected to have their work exhibited at Première Classe where the final took place.

I will begin by showing you the three designs out of the six that I did not have to create for the competition. The couture hat was to be a three dimensional horn of plenty in dyed pinokpok abaca (a very fine grade of sinamay) with vintage fruits pouring out of its mouth. The ready-to-wear design was a chenille braid tubular hat, simbolizing a wishing well. The flat pattern hat was a whimsical fortune cookie with an embroidered message saying “YOU’LL WEAR A HAT”.

Box in which my hats travelled for the competition

And next the designs I had to create for the semifinal, and that got me into the final.  The couture design is a chignon cover of double starbright braid in black, with broken pieces of plexiglas mirror that spell the words HAT LUCK, bringing 7 years HAT luck to the wearer, of course. The ready to wear design is a melusine fur felt in grey with fur felt swallows on either side. In france, swallows bring abundance and good luck. Finally the dice cap, made in wool with hand sewn dots in leather, refers to the luck needed in games of chance.

Sketches of the hats I had to make for the final

Strange enough, the first sketch “7 years of hat luck” was stolen from the exhibition during a lapse in surveilance, I hope whoever has it at least enjoys it and treats it well (I would like to have it back, please!)… but it boggles the mind how people have no problem taking what’s not theirs!

This is it from now. Two more posts coming, one with the actual hats I made, and some construction details, and another one with pictures of the exhibition in Paris and all the participating milliners and their hats.

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