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!)

Explanation for Honoyo Imai's hats

Here she is in front of her hats, and she is wearing a smaller version of her couture hat:

Honoyo Imai in front of her hats

Here is a closer view of her hats:

Honoyo Imai's hats

Second prize was for Mary Franck, from the UK. I’m happy I pushed her to wear her hat, she was not wearing it when she arrived, and when I asked she told me it was in her mom’s bag and she was not really planning on wearing it!

Mary Franck in front of her hats

Here you can see her blocked hat and her knitted/pattern hat:

Mary Franck's hats

Third prize and popular vote was for Harvy Santos from London (originally from the Philippines), although strangely enough whoever printed the bios to go on the exhibit wrote FRANCE in big letters!

Harvy Santos in front of his hats

And here is a closer look at two of his hats:

Two of the hats by Harvy Santos

Here is Beth Simpson in front of her hats. She won the industry prize that consists of a week of work experience at the Whiteley Hat Company in Luton.

Beth Simpson

Here’s a view of her hats:

Beth Simpson's hats

Next is Kate Betts. You can see her here wearing her stamped sailor hat, the same as her competition pattern entry.

Kate Betts in front of her hats

This is the couture hat from Kate Betts:

Couture hat from Kate Betts

And last, but not least, my humble self. Here is how my hats were exhibited. Apparently some lady removed the pin that held my swallows hat in place and swiftly took it away to try it on in front of a mirror, when she was stopped and the hat recovered she did not understand what all the fuss was about, she just wanted to try it on!! (well, at least she did like the hat, but if a hat is pinned in place it usually means you cannot just go and take it!):



A side view of my hats:

My hats

The afternoon ended with the announcement of the winners, which was done by Nigel Denford (from The Hat Magazine) after a short speech in French by judge Marie-Claire Barban:

Marie-Claire Barban, Nigel and Carole Denford

Finally a picture of all the finalists after the prize giving, sipping some champagne:

Finalists sipping some champagne

And to end, here is a picture of myself, Cristina de Prada, with the winner, Honoyo Imai:

Cristina and Honoyo


  1. Wow, it is always great to read your informative and fascinating posts! (Your link on Etsy MOE brought me here – didn’t know you were (sort of) there.

    Again, it is wonderful how You bring us so much important (and friendly) millinery information. Love your swallow hat and loved what you did last year too!

    Thank You for sharing!

    Comment by Juliane Gorman — July 11, 2012 @ 9:42 am

  2. OH Cristina, a mi también me encantan tus sombreros de pájaros y este de golondrinas se merecía ganar, pero bueno otra vez será…
    Esa señora no pudo resistirse, el deseo de probarse unos de tus sombreros era algo contra lo que no podía luchar.
    Es estupenda toda la información que siempre nos aportas. Que haría yo sin ella…
    Mil gracias ¡¡¡

    Comment by Carmen — July 11, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

  3. I have been there, I love Kukis hats they were a lot of hard work from envision to true realization. It was a privilege attending Premiere Classe with her.

    Comment by joaco — July 12, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

  4. I can see why the lady wanted to try on your Swallows hat! It is wonderful! Congratulations on your lovely designs!

    Comment by Jean — July 13, 2012 @ 3:25 am

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