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!!

January 26, 2011

Versatile buttonhole shawl

Filed under: daily life,Sewing projects — Cristina de Prada @ 11:04 am

Hi there everyone,

Although this is not hat related I thought you might enjoy it. I made a beautiful (if I may say so myself) shawl as a christmas gift for my sister in law, and I posted a tutorial on the Burda Style website. Today it has hit 1000 views and because of that I’ve decided it deserves to be on my blog!

Kimono versatile cape

It is made using gorgeous kimono silk, and I suspect it looks particularly nice because my sister in law Helena is a pretty good model!


April 16, 2010

Trying on hats, that’s a party!

Filed under: daily life,Millinery trivia and events,Passejada 2010,Passejada amb Barret — Cristina de Prada @ 3:38 pm

Last Sunday, April 11 2010, we celebrated the VI Passejada amb barret (Hat stroll) in Barcelona, and that was an excuse for a couple of friends to stop by, try on some hats and decide which one they wanted to wear for the event (about which I will blog shortly).

Above you can see the lovely Helena (a wonderful storyteller, checkout the blog that she writes along with my brother José Manuel: http://escuchandoconlosojos.blogspot.com/), she’s in front of the harpsichord which is serving temporarily as an exhibition area for my hats (I knew it would come in handy one day… naaah!! just kidding!!! Sorry Peter!!).

My friend Eulalia also visited me to try on hats and they both had a great time, and had to try every single hat (some of them more than once!).

It was a pleasure for me to see others taking pleasure in my hats. Thank you Helena! Thank you Eulalia!

April 2, 2010

Traveling in style with my Samsonite Streamlite hatbox travel case and Loewe umbrella

Filed under: daily life,Millinery trivia and events,Samsonite vintage hatbox — Cristina de Prada @ 2:48 pm

Truth be told, the only traveling I’ve done with this wonderful vintage Samsonite Streamlite hatbox is the trip a couple of years ago from Cologne (Germany, where I bought it at an antique fair for a hefty 50 euros) to Barcelona where I live. But it’s such a beauty that I could not resist buying it, specially considering its mint condition -key included- (after buying this one I saw others cheaper, but they where all dirty or damaged). These come up frequently on eBay (US) and can be bought at a reasonable price.

The vintage style Loewe umbrella on the other hand was a gift, a couple of years ago, from my wonderful mom. The umbrella has a green leather handle and luscius fabric that is green on the inside and shocking pink on the outside, with the lettering LOEWE making a repeated circle pattern. I believe these umbrellas are still available, although from looking at their website I think the handles are now all brown, which is a pity.

Funny enough, after having bought the hat box I happened quite by chance upon the corresponding patents, one for the manufacturing process and one for the design.  The patent allows us to date the design to 1955 (that’s when the patents were filed, although they were granted in 1958). I’ve also found an old ad for the hatbox, dated 1955, already with the famouse catch phrase “… it’s strong enough to stand on!”.

If you check out the patents you might be surprised (as I was) that they are not under the name of Samsonite but Shwayder Bros. Jesse Shwayder founded the company in 1910 and Samsonite was a trademark (that was first used in 1941). The name of the company was not changed to Samsonite until 1966.

All pictures can be seen in more detail on Flickr if you follow this link.

March 28, 2010

Emilia and Philip with their new hats

Filed under: daily life,Millinery projects — Cristina de Prada @ 1:54 pm

My most grateful customers, here you can see Emilia and Philip wearing their new hats:

And here is the cloche of Emilia while on the block. It’s a 5 piece puzzle block, and all went dandy, including unblocking (a miracle how when you pull out the middle piece the whole thing collapses and you can take out one piece at a time) until I folded the bottom edge in, and it buckled!!  there was too much felt!! It was supposed to fold in nicely but it didn’t and I had a hart time shrinking the felt so that it stayed flat… I’m thinking of modifying the block shaving off the extra wood, so that the next time it will work properly.

December 2, 2009

My hats at GRATACÓS

Filed under: daily life,Millinery projects,Millinery trivia and events,My hats at GRATACOS — Cristina de Prada @ 11:51 pm

If you happen to be in Barcelona and get a chance you should visit GRATACÓS (Paseo de Gracia 110), the best fabric and accessories shop in Barcelona where you will be able to try on and buy the hats from my mini-collection, PAJAROS (Birds). My friend Nina Pawlowsky and I share a window and a large table display inside (shown on the picture). The hats with a cut design on the left are Nina’s designs, the bird hats on the right are my babies.

Si pasas por Barcelona te propongo visitar GRATACÓS (Paseo de Gracia 110, esquina Diagonal), la mejor tienda de telas y accesorios de Barcelona, dónde podrás ver y comprar los sombreros de mi mini-colección, PÁJAROS. Mi amiga Nina Pawlowsky y yo compartimos un maravilloso escaparate y una zona interior de exposición. Los sombreros “troquelados” a la izquierda son diseños de Nina, los sombreros de pájaros a la derecha son míos. Ya sabes que pedir a los Reyes Magos!

June 21, 2009

Learning hat making with Nina Pawlowsky

Filed under: daily life,Millinery courses,Millinery trivia and events — Cristina de Prada @ 1:43 pm

Last week was the last class of the millinery course that my friend Nina Pawlowsky was giving at Escola Massana in Barcelona. There was a celebration dinner and I was invited because I was a substitute teacher for one class (and some of the students are followers of this blog!). I had a great time, and it was fun to be there with these wonderful ladies, all of us with our hats on, of course.

On the picture above you can see Nina (the one holding the flowers) and her students (one holding a 2 piece cork block made in class). They were very very happy with the course, very sad it was over, and I must say they were very good students to work with.

The Massana School, one of the centers where Nina gives classes, is a center of art and design belonging to the Town Hall of the City of Barcelona. It is placed in a beautiful historical building on the Gothic quarter (Hospital de la Santa Creu) and was founded in 1929 thanks to Agusti Massana’s legacy, a well known patissier and philanthropist. Unfortunately their website is available only in Catalan language, which is something I find absurd at many, many levels, but I’m not going to bore you with my rantings about that.

The 2009-2010 course will be even more interesting because instead of being just one course lasting two semesters it’s going to be divided in two different courses, both lasting 60 hours, one about hatmaking in general (starting mid-October) and the other one about fascinators and turbans (starting beginning of March). Nina is a very experienced milliner and speaks perfect English so if anyone reading this blog is interested in joining these courses and needs help inscribing just let me know. Inscription is from 2 to 10 September and from 18 to 28 January.

October 31, 2008


Filed under: daily life — Cristina de Prada @ 12:10 am

Cover of my Mom's book

This off topic posting is here because I want to show my full support to my mother, Loli de Prada, who has been sued by my two uncles (with one of my cousins as the lawyer). First you will find the Spanish text, followed by the English text, if you so wish to read it.

Este escrito (no relacionado con sombreros) está aquí porque quiero mostrarle todo mi apoyo a mi madre, Loli de Prada, a quien mis dos tíos -hermanos de mi padre- (con una de mis primas como abogado) pusieron una demanda judicial.

Pusieron esta demanda porque escribió un precioso y dulce libro llamado Joaquín y Loli. Un encuentro de cine. Un libro acerca de mi padre y de la época en que eran novios a finales de los años cincuenta.

Mañana, 31 de Octubre 2008 es el día del juicio.

Por si acaso estos que se hacen llamar “familia” tienen dudas acerca de lo que yo (y mis hermanos) pensamos acerca de toda esta historia, quiero decir aquí que APOYAMOS COMPLETAMENTE A MI MADRE. Ella ha escrito un MARAVILLOSO LIBRO acerca de una época muy especial de su vida. Es un libro precioso, lleno de cálidas memorias y fotos muy bonitas de la época en que está centrado y algunas fotos de la infancia de mi padre y de mi madre.

Parecería que algo que mi madre menciona en el libro, o quizás la simple idea de que haya escrito un libro cabreó a la “familia”, y en lugar de comportarse como gente NORMAL, y llamar o visitarla para expresar su desacuerdo (lo que habría sido una novedad, ya que desde el funeral de mi padre hace 17 años no se han dignado a visitarla una sola vez), en lugar de hacer eso decidieron ponerle una demanda judicial, a ella y al editor de este maravilloso libro.

Aparentemente (por lo que puedo deducir), la idea era (y es) hacer daño a mi madre y obviamente a todos aquellos cercanos a ella (sus hijos y amigos). Como no pudieron encontrar ninguna otra base para la demanda, la demandaron basado en unas fotos en las que ellos (mis tíos) aparecen (junto con mi padre) cuando eran niños, diciendo que el uso de esas fotos viola su derecho a la propia imagen. Asimismo dicen y repiten que mi madre ha escrito el libro con el único propósito de hacerles daño. OBVIAMENTE, NO LO HAN LEIDO, ya que el libro va de mi padre y de mi madre, de su vida de novios y de nada más.

Para resumir. Estamos DOLIDOS, ASQUEADOS Y DISGUSTADOS con toda esta historia y con el comportamiento de nuestra “familia”. Estamos asqueados de que puedan ser tan crueles, insensibles y sin corazón. Asqueados de que no se den cuenta de lo mucho que ya hemos sufrido al perder a nuestro padre (y mi madre, a su marido). Joaquín de Prada fue un GRAN HOMBRE, trabajador, respetado en su profesión, marido amante y padre cariñoso. Perderlo tuvo un efecto devastador en nuestras vidas y es una pérdida de la que todavía nos estamos intentando recuperar.

Mi madre le quiso y todavía le quiere con todo su corazón. Mi padre, esté donde esté, la sigue queriendo.

Quiero mucho a mi madre y la respeto por haber logrado lo que parecía una tarea imposible, escribir un libro, y la admiro por hacerlo con tanto talento y buen gusto.

En lo que a mi concierne, todos aquellos involucrados en este pleito ya no son mi familia. Para mi han muerto y nunca les perdonaré el dolor que nos han causado, a mi Madre, a mis hermanos y a mi.

A aquellos que no tienen nada que ver con esto siento el haberos involucrado, pero esto era algo que había que decir, y esta es una manera como otra cualquiera de decirlo, ya que se que esas personas de vez en cuando visitan mi blog.


Here follows the English text.

My Mom was sued over a perfectly sweet and beautiful book that she wrote. A book about my father and about the period when they were dating in the late fifties.

Tomorrow, 31st October 2008, is the day of the trial.

Just in case my so called “family” have doubts about what I (and my brothers) think about the whole thing, I want to say that WE FULLY SUPPORT OUR MOTHER. She wrote a WONDERFUL BOOK called Joaquín y Loli. Un encuentro de cine about a wonderful time in her life. It’s lovely and full of heart warming reminiscing and beautiful period pictures.

Somehow, something that my mother said in the book, or perhaps the simple idea of her writing a book, pissed off the “family”, and instead of behaving like NORMAL people and calling or visiting and expressing their views (well, that would have been a new thing, considering my dad died 17 years ago and since the funeral they have never paid her a visit ), instead, they decided to sue her and the unsuspecting Publisher of this wonderful book.

Apparently (as far as I can gather), the idea is was (is) to hurt my mother and obviously everyone else close to her (namely her sons and daughter and her friends). Since they couldn’t find any other base for their lawsuit, they sued based on the few pictures where they (my uncles) appear (next to my dad) as children, saying that violates their rights. In addition, they say and repeat again and again that my Mother wrote that book with the only purpose of hurting them. OBVIOUSLY, THEY HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK. This book is about my Father and my Mother, their lives as boyfriend and girlfriend, and nothing else.

So, to summarize. We are HURT, APPALLED AND DISGUSTED at this whole business and at my family’s behaviour. We are appalled that they can be so callous and so heartless. Appalled that they don’t realize how much we’ve already suffered from losing our dad (and my mom, her husband). He was a GREAT man, hardworking, respected on his profession, loving husband and caring father. Losing my dad had a devastating effect on our lives, and it’s a loss from which we’re still recovering.

My Mother loved  and still loves my dad with all her heart, Father, wherever he might be, is still loving her.

I love my mother and respect her for accomplishing what seemed like an impossible task, writing a book, and I admire her for doing it with such talent and good taste.

As far as I’m concerned those involved in this lawsuit are no longer my family, they are dead to me, and I will never forgive the pain they have inflicted upon my Mother, my brothers and me.

Sorry to impose this upon you all, but this had to be said, and this is as good a way to say it as any other, because I know they occasionally drop by my blog.

May 4, 2008

Mimi for the Virtual Kentucky Derby day

Filed under: daily life,Millinery trivia and events — Cristina de Prada @ 4:10 pm

Mimi wearing a Fred Bare hat

Jill, sorry for the delay, but you know how wild these mannequin heads are. Here I was, spending the weekend with visiting family while Mimi took a plane and off she went to the Derby. Just arrived today, she has given me a picture for your Virtual Kentucky Derby day posting!

She is wearing a Fred Bare hat that I bought in Paris in the late eighties (one could call it vintage, but then you would also have to call ME vintage… so let’s leave it at that).

Thank you Jill for your wonderful ideas, I love your virtual hat days!

March 25, 2008

Virtual Easter Parade

Filed under: daily life — Cristina de Prada @ 12:51 am

Here's me, virtually parading with Jill ;-)

Well… I didn’t do anything special this Sunday, but I wish I had been with Jill and all hat lovers on a real Easter Parade. No such luck, but here’s a picture of me with a ribbon embroidered veiled hat for the Virtual Easter Parade. 

 For those curious, I used veil from my vintage stash, and I embroidered the flowers with Mokuba ribbon on top of the veil, to help it stay in place.

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