Tuesday, November 19, 2013

“I think tomorrow is a say-something-hat day”, Isabella Blow 

Okay, so I've written a post on Isabella (infamous hat wearer and advocate) before, when the announcement came in about the impending exhibition in her honour at Somerset House, London this summer.   In fact, I think perhaps every second paragraph of my final year fashion thesis also mentioned her name ISABELLA BLOW, ISABELLA BLOW, ISABELLA BLOW, ISABELLA BLOW!  

Well, the exhibition opens tomorrow!

And preview news, pictures, films and essays are starting to roll in to coincide with this.

Consider this your guide to all things Isabella on this most special of headwear occasions....

SOMERSET HOUSE Exhibition details

I SMELL A HAT Isabella Blow and Creative Ménage a trois

THE GUARDIAN  Five reasons to visit Isabella Blow's fashion retrospective

SHOW STUDIO Isabella Blow Fashion Galor - Hats

VOGUE Isabella Blow

ID-MAGAZINE Daphne Guinesses Guide to the Isabella Blow Exhibition (Guiness is the style icon that acquired Blow's entire wardrobe after her untimely death)

Happy trawling!   More on this to come....

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Hats of Crown Oaks Day 2013

We're going to start this with a confessional. We've previously not been big fans of the races. We know, this isn't what you'd expect from a millinery blog, you can't bite the hand that feeds right? Maybe we're just a bit scarred from the carnage experienced at Flinders St station on previous race days, when the post-race zombie apocalypse has descended, dirty, drunk and shoeless in varying states of deshabille...

We're also just not into flashing (ours or others) fake-tan covered breasticles, spewing all our hard-earned into the faceless gambling machine (ok, just some of it!), am part of no wealthy racehorse syndicate, have no desire to be "spotted", and also don't have enough friends in high places to get into the celebrity playground of "The Birdcage", AND *awaits the tornado of disagreement* the fashion, well its not really us, it's a bit nice, a bit polished, a bit safe. Oh my, get the tissues now...!

BUT, but, all that negativity, gross stereotyping and pre-conceptions aside we had an awesome day at Crown Oaks yesterday. We were kindly slipped a free pass into the millinery award area, supplied with free booze and canapés all afternoon, got up close and personal with some celebs and saw the beautiful hats in the flesh. It's amazing how a few free privileges can change your viewpoint, just imagine what would happen if we ever did score that elusive Birdcage invite??? Maybe it's not that we don't like the races, we just don't like doing it wrong, after all we're huge fans of a big fashionable dress-up!

Our reason for being there of course was all about the hats, to research the trends and spy on those at the top of their game in the millinery award.  The standard in the millinery award we have to say was fantastic, there were 81 milliner entrants in this years prize all of whom were invited to participate by the VRC, which is phenomenal.

It's interesting to see what gets through and what doesn't, humour and wit definitely don't seem to be popular with the judges here, a couple of great entries (or so I thought) not having the required amount of "race-day etiquette" we guess. The lesson here is to keep it beautiful ladies and gents... and not too funny!

That said it was really heartening to see that the two winning entries were breaking the mould a little, and forgoing the use of traditional materials and techniques, allowing new levels of intricacy and detail to emerge. Aniss with her stunning laser cut designs, and Taboo Millinery with her papier mache and coral take on a 50s classic drop-brimmed hat.

Millinery needs a new voice, it's difficult to stand out in a practice where so many things have been done before, where the avant garde trailblazers of Jones, Treacy, Atkinson and the like have shocked and awed with their daring, inventive and mad creations, and that anything "new" seems always to have had a similar predecessor. Even then, the madness and innovation of these milliners is rarely seen on the racetrack where the theme is predominantly safe with a few sprays of flowers and feathers.

This new voice seems to be emerging with modern techniques and materials, many of which have been on display this Spring Carnival; the 3D printing and perspex of Danica Erard, the beautiful and intricate laser cutting of Millinery Award winner Aniss Studio, and the growing use of thermoplastics on display will also surely bring with it a new era of creativity to the millinery world. This is not the death knell to traditional millinery techniques though, far from it, its about expanding upon them to evolve into a future millinery era.

Who are these new trailblazers in Australian millinery? Stand outs for us at the moment are last years Millinery Award winner Lynnette Lim and her label Love Lotus Millinery, Aniss Studio - this year's winner, Danica Erard, Tammy Yeo a Kangan graduate with superbly intricate designs, Hatmaker Jonathan Howard, and also Ann Shoebridge has quirky and very wearable pieces. And we know there are others we have missed! (Edit - Lisa Tan and Natalie Bikicki are two that should have made that list)

So yes, we enjoyed the races, we get it a bit more now. But wrangling almost front row seats to the FOFT final and the millinery award, and the continuous supply free drinks helped us along with that decision a bit!

Here's to next year!!!

UPDATE: Since we wrote this post last year, we have been very busy launching our new online headwear retail outlet, The Eternal Headonist which is stocking some of the amazing milliners listed above. If you are looking for millinery for the races online, or in person check out www.theeternalheadonist.com or visit us at our pop-up at 220 Commercial Rd, Prahran from 27th Sept - 7th Nov 2014.

All pictures by The Eternal Headonist  more pictures of the day are on the Facebook page. 

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All the flowers around the lawns made it a really pretty venue  
I was so engrossed in hats that I forgot to place a bet this year... probably a good thing!
So many stories happening by the sidelines
We did actually see a horse! Here's Cup winner Damien Oliver 
Chloe from the Essential Hat wearing a gorgeous red flowered headpiece

Left is Amanda Dudley in her own design
The crowds watching the Oaks Day Fashions on the Field Final 

Lucinda Fitzmaurice wearing a striking Tammy Gill headpiece
One of my former classmates Penelope D'Alton with her model Blanche who reached the final of the millinery award. Congrats Pene!
Ashleigh with milliner Robin Rivett. Neons were all the rage this year and this neon yellow piece was so bright my camera couldn't quite handle it!  Take the brightness of this picture and multiply it by 10 and you get the brightness!
Brenda Wilson of the House of Windsor in QLD, looked absolutely stunning. She also put forward some really creative carnivale and vaudeville-esq millinery designs which I loved

Eventual Millinery Award winner Aniseh Fakhri (right) and model Reine wearing the winning piece (left). I've been a fan of Aniss's work for a while and it was so good seeing her getting the credit she deserves.
Close-up of the Studio Aniss winning piece
The beautiful Aniseh Fakhri, such a deserving winner
Model Zoe Felice and milliner Catherine Ellen
A Phillip Rhodes creation, this was a stunner, one of my favourites
Another one of my favourites, the circus and fairground inspired piece which was so fabulously detailed. I didn't catch the milliner of this piece, but I am assuming it is Brenda Wilson as she is standing next to the model. Please correct me if I'm wrong. 
Oaks Day FOFT field from above - exploding brights were certainly on trend!
Danica Erard in one of her ground breaking nylon 3D printed creations. You may recall seeing a similar piece on Rebecca Judd on Cup Day
This is Dora looking fabulous and wearing twin sister Connie Gountzies creation. I just love the bold use of colour here
Elyan Shotbolt looking every bit a movie star and wearing Vintage Design by Jo-Anne Rolf
Judy & Sabine wearing Brenda Wilson's quirky half top-hat designs
Brenda Wilson millinery, such a fun idea!

A bit of a blurry FOTF host Jeff Banks!  
The oh so glam Kristine Live wearing Richard Nylon
Behind the scenes action with Aniss Studio
Model Rhianna wearing a stunning 3D creation fashioned from albino peacock quills. I love a bit of albino peacock! 
Mr Richard Nylon looking his usual fabulous self
Sarah wearing an exceptionally well co-ordinated Rebecca Share headpiece
Oh I really loved this clever 3 dimensional rendition of Monet's waterlily pond. Exceptional work by  Gillian Andrew and modelled by Sarah Mansfield

Sarah Yates (left) wearing Max Alexander and Natalie Bikicki (right) wearing her own design. I have to say that Natalie's millinery range in Myer this year was one of my favourites 
Model wearing a Serena Lindeman design
The Millinery Award Final  
Amanda Dudley enjoying her prime location!
Supermodel Coco Rocha announcing the millinery winners
Second place Taboo Millinery. I though this whole outfit was really well co-ordinated and put together and did manage to sneak a bit of wit into the final
And the winner is Aniss Studio!

Coca Rocha up close!

Some mutual moustache admiration going off over here from Phillip Rhodes and Richard Nylon. Afterall it is Movember!  

Fashions on the field final
Yes. I was that close!!! The radiant Jennifer Hawkins during the Fashions on the Field final. Her crown headpiece full of real diamonds and worth an apparent $800,000... Gulp. I could almost have pocketed it! 
Angela Menz of On Track On Trend, looking exceptionally On Trend here. That cap was super-cute. 
Angela Menz with perefectly matched accessories
The footwear of the FOTF finalists. I'm actually quite unimpressed. Very bland if you ask me, definite room for improvement!

Whitney Port announcing the FOFT Final winner 
Poised and ready for the announcement
And the winner is... rather predictably Chloe Moo. She did look beautiful and I guess the story of the pieces really helped cement that win

The totally delightful Lynette Lim of Love Lotus Millinery and Bea, both wearing Love Lotus designs
On Track and On Trend, Angela Menz (left) and Lisa Tan (right)