Monday, April 27, 2009

Hats on Heads--Merlefest 2009

Yee-ha! I just spent a wonderful weekend attending the annual Merlefest Americana music festival in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Merlefest is a 4 day music event honoring Eddie Merle Watson, son of Doc Watson. They were folk/rockabilly/mountain/swing musicians back in the1960's. Doc is still alive and kickin' it in his 80's. Merle tragically died many years ago and the festival is, as I said, a tribute to him.

While most of the music at the festival is, at least, bluegrass inspired, there are lots of genres represented there. And there are over 6 stages all going at the same time, plus lots of pickers in smaller venues around the campus of Wilkesboro Comminity College. This year's headliner was Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt was there as well. Lots of big name bluegrass folks, like Sam Bush, John Cowan, Peter Rowan, Tony Rice, The Waybacks, The Grascals, The Duhks, Donna the Buffalo, and on and on, are also there.

That's me (above) with my muchly needed sun-hat. At the time this picture was made I had been baking in 80 degree temperatures for about 6 hours! I was wringing wet but having a blast listenting to some of my favorite performers!

The hat was embellished with a stylish 'wad' of hand-dyed sinamay and a couple of waving peacock feathers. The great thing about this hat is that is has a rolled edge, filled with foam, that makes the brim edge just heavy enough that the wind doesn't blow it off your head. It is my favorite casual hat and I've had it for several years. Actually I have two that I rotate.

The next few pictures are a testament to folks finally getting the message that we all need protection from the sun, and wearing a hat is the best way to do that. And while Merlefest is NOT, I repeat NOT, a fashion show, I was pleasantly surprised to see almost everyone with some sort of hat on their head. Granted they are not garden party hats, and most were down-right cas-u-al, really casual, but they were: hats.on.heads....

Kinda like the new ribbon hats I'm seeing out there. Like the one above.

Yes, almost all these pictures are made from behind. Hey, that's because I was sitting with everyone else and we were all facing the stages and the performers.

Lots of cowboy hats! Every color, every shape!!

A sea of hats at the Hillside Stage.
So if you aren't wearing a hat while out in the sun, let this be your official invitation to start. It will save your skin, and maybe your life. No melanoma, ladies....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hat Show in Chicago--Millinery Education Week

Calling all milliners! You are hereby invited to participate in an annual Hat Show at TLD Designs in Chicago. Put on your Thinking Caps (um, Hats) and create some beauties to exhibit. The show always takes place in October, as an introduction to TLD's Millinery Education Week...actually two weeks if you are counting. Here's the entry information .

There are entries from those just getting started and some from callused millinery fingers, but it is a great way to have a wide demographic in the Chicago area see your work. So don't be shy about entering. You might just win 'Best in Show'!

The list of classes to be taught at Millinery Education Week hasn't been posted yet, but you'll want to keep a watch at TLD's website or on my website for updates.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

International Millinery Forum Attendees' Hats

Geez, I can be slow about getting some things on this blog. I promised a few weeks ago that I'd post some pictures of some of the hats made in my classes at the International Millinery Forum this past January, in Australia. So, voila! Enjoy!

I taught two sessions of two different classes while there. They were--Retro Hats From Flat Felt Skirting and Fabric Frolic on a Buckram Base. The hat you see above, and the next 10 hats were made in those two sessions.

I learned the flat felt hatmaking technique from my mentor, Miss Styer Collenberger, many years ago. She was an amazing milliner from the hey-days of hat wearing. Anyway, I'll have to tell you more about her later. Great story....

Take note of the structure of these flat felt hats and the great designs these ladies came up with. I was soooo proud of them!
Howz about this camel colored felt with some great feathers as embellisment? Most of the hats you will see here were not embellished as we had a very full day of just getting the hats made, what with the instructions, the design, the execution, and the many, many choices to be made in each step. But I was very impressed with their final designs!

Wow! Can't you just see this with a fabulous 1940's suit? I don't think this one needed any embellishment. Very retro, very cool.

Love the beautiful simplicity of this design. With flat felt you can fashion hats unlike any you make with a traditional capeline or hood.

Beautiful lady, beautiful hat!

Sooooo retro! Love it!

This one makes me smile. Cool custom grey felt head hugger.

These hats were the bomb! The one on the left is very military inspired, especially since it was made in Army green, and the one on the right has self curlyques for that added umpf. I envision stacked heels, smart suits, neat gloves...all set off with 'the hat.' Yeahhhh.

Now this hat, and the one following, were made in the Fabric Frolic on a Buckram Base class. We used many different surface design techniques to cover one-of-a-kind buckram shapes the attendees designed themselves. Snazzy colors, sassy shapes, serious style.

Cocktails, anyone? Wear this little red beauty out on the town and everyone will be buying you a drink. I'm sure of it.
Congratulations to all the attendees of the International Millinery Forum.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Wilmington's Hat Wearing Events

It has been insanely busy the last couple of weeks as Wilmington was getting (and is getting) attired for the hat wearing events of the year for us. Those would be Azalea Festival Garden Party, Easter, and the Jr. League's Mint Julep Jubilee, a Kentucky Derby event including Best Hat Contest (!). I've been making and selling hats as fast as I can!

Above you see two local fashionistas (in my hats!) on their way to a Garden Party after-party. Yes, you heard me right. Wilmington can't get enough of wearing their hats (and partying!) on the big day, so after the big hoopla where everyone who's anyone attends, they break into many, many after-parties to keep the festivities going--yachts, bars, restaurants, private homes.

These particular fashionistas happen to be friends of mine-- designer Amanda deLeon (left) and 'Style Girl' Jess James (right). Jess is the local fashion guru, and is known as 'Style Girl' not only through her newspaper column in the Wilmington Star News, but through many other events she coordinates throughout the year like fashion shows and style swaps. She does some seriously great work in styling fashion shoots too. You can usually check out her latest in Focus on the Coast, another of our local publications. Amanda just had a fabulous introduction into Charleston (SC) Fashion Week as one of the 4 easy feat since the competition was fierce. But she was a roaring success! See this page for more info on Amanda and Charleston Fashion Week. Congratulations, Amanda!

The above picture is Crystal, one of the members of Wilmington's Junior League. She looked stunning in every hat she tried on! Seriously! My new hat model??

I hosted the League Girl's Night Out recently as they preened for their Mint Julep Jubilee held on May 2--Kentucky Derby Day!! It is going to be a beautiful display of great hats, pretty dresses (and ladies), seersuckered men, Southern buffet, oh, and a horse race to watch.

Try on those hats, girls! There's a style for everyone! I think they had a good time and I know most had never been to a milliner before. Well, we are few and far between. We talked about how to wear a hat properly, colors, embellishments, custom work and time lines for getting a custom hat made. Verrry important!!

I know there are many hat wearing events this Spring all over the country. If ever there is a time to wear a hat it would be to one of these events. But if you don't feel comfortable in hats as a rule you will feel much more comfortable with everyone else wearing one. Yes? But be prepared for some attention...especially from the men as they loooooove a woman in a hat. Don't believe me?? Try it and see!