Nowadays, fashion has changed dramatically and, over the centuries, many of the little accessories have slowly faded, such as gloves, scarves, jewellery, not to mention hats too. I have quite a few hats myself and I feel this is still an important part of a full ensemble, in the same way as we would complete the look with the bag and shoes.
We now tend to see these wonderful fashion accessories, especially the beautifully ornamental hats, on special occasions such as weddings and race meetings where many women take full advantage of these rare opportunities to really dress up. These events are perfect for the ladies to show off their hats so elegantly, but often I ask myself, what about the men, as it seems men no longer wear hats as they used to, except on these very special occasions.
Oh, let me tell you, I am more of a hoarder with hats than with shoes, especially the Fedora style hat in many different colours and shades. In winter you may get the chance to wear a burgundy or teal shade to contrast your dark outfit whereas, during the summer, it’s more likely to be a straw hat with lots of different coloured ribbons to choose from. Doesn’t this sound exciting, when you get to plan and organise your outfit? Or is it only me who gets really excited at the thought of preparing my outfit a day or so before…?
So, when I received an email from the fabulous PR, Nicky Malone, asking me if I would like to work on a project with Camilla Rose Millinery, what could I say? I was in pure heaven, especially as I have always wanted to create my own bespoke hat. I have supported Camilla Rose Millinery on several occasions, wearing something from her collection on my trips and often wondered about the idea of a hat which would fit in with a more unisex range where there’s nothing specifically male or female – the perfect opportunity to create something for both genders.
One lovely sunny morning, Camilla invited me over to her wonderful studio where she has on display all of her vast collection of hats. It’s so fascinating to see how she has managed to use her vision and create these wonderful hand-made headpieces. After a long conversation discussing a bespoke hat for my up and coming summer trip, I briefly explained to Camilla my inspiration for a Twenties-style piece such as ‘Brideshead Revisited’ which had always appealed to me. Camilla handed out a few fabric swatches, such as silk and satin, with kinds of cotton for the ribbon to add to the straw fedora. And suddenly I thought what a fantastic idea it would be to have lots of different coloured ribbons that can simply be detached from the hat and replaced with another, enabling you to perfectly co-ordinate every outfit and creating the impression that you have actually brought a selection of hats with you, rather than just a selection of ribbons. Of course, the more hats, the better.
Want to know more about Camilla? Camilla Rose is a millinery company founded by designer Camilla Currey in 2013. Camilla graduated in Textile Design for Fashion from Leeds University in 2004 and went on to work for the internationally renowned interior designer, Alidad, where she continued to develop her knowledge and love of textiles and design. Camilla designs and makes her hats from her Studio in South-West London. I get to discover more of her work and how spectacular she is, creating each hat that has its own unique vibrant character that fits your personality perfectly.
So, over a cup of tea, I get to ask her questions about Camilla Rose Millinery and how this remarkable business has evolved since 2013.
How long ago did you found your company and what inspired you to become a milliner?
Camilla Rose was started entirely by a very happy accident! Having studied textile design at university, I worked for many years in the interior design industry and I realised I missed the hands-on creative side of things. I decided to do an evening course in millinery, I thought it would be fun to make a few hats for myself to wear for friends up and coming weddings.
Having seen my hats, people began to ask if I would make a hat for them and, therefore, what started as a hobby very quickly became a business. Camilla Rose was officially launched in August 2013 but I have now been working full time on it for about a year.
Why is Camilla Rose Millinery so unique? Do you have a specific trademark about your business?
I think my occasional-wear hats and headpieces are easily identifiable as a Camilla Rose piece due to their structural and architectural properties. They are usually very simple and made in only one or two colours but the shapes and forms I create are my trademark style. My fedora ranges are classic but with a twist, due to my use of interesting trims in order to make my hats more special and different from something you could purchase on the high street.
Which is the most popular range of hat and why?
The Volute headpiece from my SS17 collection has been by far the most popular piece. I think it’s because, even though it appears quite simple on first sight, once on a head it transforms and becomes so much more. It looks different and striking from all angles and works well with so many different dress styles – I even made one for a bride this year. Due to the success of this piece, it will remain in my collection from season to season and will be available in more colours.
What is it like to create a hat from an idea through to conception and how long does it take?
When I start designing a hat, the initial stages are usually visualised in my head. I will have seen something – a plant or a part of a building which will trigger a shape to start forming in my mind. The next step is to sketch the idea down and then start playing with materials, colours, and textures in order to develop this initial visualisation. Some hats happen very quickly, ideas come to life in a few short hours of experimentation whereas others can take weeks of testing and developing and making and remaking the hat multiple times to get it just right!
What is your favourite period of the year for millinery style?
It difficult to pick a particular era, I love hats from the early 1900s, but throughout history, there have been some incredible hats made! I think that hats have become much more popular in the last decade with much younger people now wanting to wear them, which makes me very happy! I’d love people to wear hats daily as we used to!
What are your career goals as a milliner?
I would like to focus on what I am currently doing and continue to build my brand and reputation. I’d also like to design some further collections in addition to my current ranges.
What do you like most about being a milliner?
Being lucky enough to do what I love (almost!) every day, creating something with my hands is when I am most content. My favourite moment is always when I see my customer try on the finished hat. Their smile is always amazing and I always feel so thrilled that I played a small part in making them feel so fantastic.
Is there any special person you would like to see wearing something from one of your collections?
I couldn’t name one particular person. There are so many gorgeous and incredible people out there that I want to see wearing Camilla Rose!
I have so enjoyed my bespoke consultation with Camilla and I can’t thank you enough for creating this, a perfect hat I could ever dream of. I hope you get an opportunity to create your own wonderful headpiece and hat with Camilla soon. You can find more information about Camilla Rose Millinery on her own Website, Instagram or Contact.
Hats off to you Camilla Rose Millinery.
Photos by Diana Martin Photography