(Long Island, N.Y.) Milliners and hat lovers enjoyed an evening of champagne and edible treats while attending the National Arts Club 2nd Annual Bonnet Bash.
During the event I had a chance to chat with Laura Ashton, President of The Milliners Guild. “We’re a group of fifty independent milliners who are trying to promote handmade hats,” revealed Laura.
Inspired by Cole Porter’s song, “Night and Day” Milliners Guild members were each asked to create two fabulous hats: one for day wear and one for evening wear.
The interpretation of the challenge was presented to thirty participants in a wide range of aesthetics. The result was an enchanting and exciting visual and wearable feast for all that viewed this much publicized event.
The opening party took place on March 11, 2013 at 6 p.m. at the National Arts Club located at 15 Gramercy Park South in the Marquis Gallery.
The exhibition was open to the public and continued through the middle of March.
At the event I had the pleasure of interviewing four well-known milliners. Below is a brief profile on each:
Barbara J. Volker
From runway to everyday, Barbara J. Volker Millinery creates couture craftsmanship to contemporary styling in hats that appeal to a broad spectrum of elegant sophisticates to cutting-edge artists and performers.
Establishing careers in French cultural affairs and publishing, the designer studied at Parsons School of Design where she discovered millinery to be the perfect medium combining her passions for fashion and art.
Barbara J. Volker Millinery’s imaginative hats draw inspiration from the textures of nature, city streetscapes, iconic forms and archetypes since 1992. Her diverse signature styles include classic cloches, romantic wide brims, jaunty fedoras and toppers, chic pillboxes, practical packables and extravagant headpieces. Each design is hand-blocked and hand-finished by the designer.
The vision of Barbara J. Volker is to design hats for the mind and heart as well as the head in a timeless collection that offers beauty, verve and fantasy for the many occasions in today’s career-minded women.
“Put a hat on your head and a smile on your face and your world will be a wonderful place.”
“The beauty of my unique pieces lies not only in the use of the finest quality materials, but in my ability to approach hats as modern whimsical accessories, as well as sculptural works of art,” reveals hat designer Guy Carsone. Guy’s creations are hand crafted cocktail and bridal headpieces.
Ellen Christine Millinery
Ellen Christine Millinery is located in the trendy neighborhood Chelsea, New York. Ellen Christine Millinery functions as a showcase for new creations and hat designs in progress.
Continuously Ellen works with editors and stylists. Each week she adds new pieces to her collections.
Ellen has designed custom couture pieces for the Kentucky Derby and horse races from Dubai to Ascot. Brides and their mothers come to her showroom for specialty pieces that exist only in their imaginations.
Ellen and her staff adore working with archival ingredients and quite frequently collaborate with designers for their clients. Many customers bring their tired hats and Ellen will refresh them creating a whole idea and design.
Ellen Christine Millinery designs five collections every year and have a rotating group of seasonal hats available for sale at all times in her inviting Chelsea boutique. Ellen also welcomes wholesale inquiries.
To learn more about Ellen Christine Millinery please visit www.ellenchristine.com.
McCants Originale LLC
Michael McCants graduated from Glassboro State College and the Fashion Institute of Technology before embarking in a career of hat designing. Michael decided to create couture custom one-of-a-kind designs and launched McCants Originale in 1982. He quickly became known for his dramatic silhouettes, luxurious fabrics and original craftsmanship.
After a client commissioned him to design her wedding ensemble the vision and passion for designing bridal headpieces inspired Michael to pursue millinery. Subsequently Michael has become one of the most sought-after milliners in the country.
Today, McCants Originale offers a luxury line of bridal headdresses and veils. Staying true to the tradition of old-world craftsmanship, each headdress is made by hand and no two are alike. Michael incorporates the finest fabrics and materials into each design, including Swarovski crystals, cultured pearls and semi-precious stones.
For more information please visit www.mccantsoriginale.com.
The Milliners Guild, Inc is an organization of small millinery business owners and milliners who specialize in the design, production and promotion of handmade headwear.
The group is committed to increasing the public profile of millinery as well as the public’s awareness and interest in millinery products.
The Guild is dedicated to working together to maintain and expand resources in order to ensure a steady flow of raw materials. Through a collective website, special events and educational seminars the guild will provide consistent communication about this thriving and contemporary industry to the public, press and students of the craft.