Monday, January 30, 2012

International Millinery Forum 2012--part 1

So WHERE do I begin?!  Seriously, WHERE!  So many things to tell you about the most amazing millinery event anywhere in the world.

First of all, there were 15 millinery instructors from all over the world, teaching 200 millinery students from all over the world.  Then mix in the fact that it was held Down Under, in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia;  add so much creative electricity that you could shock yourself, and what you'd end up with is just a glimpse of what being at the International Millinery Forum 2012 was all about.  Yes...I'm gushing.

I'll start at the beginning.  I traveled to Australia on January 10 and arrived on January 12...crossing the International Dateline.  Trust me it is a loooooong flight, and I had to get all the way across the USA before I began the 15 hour flight to Sydney!  I arrived in the morning, got to my hotel in Potts Point (Sydney) and this was the view out my hotel window.  I did not want to leave.

While still at the airport I ran into Chicago milliner Eia Radosavljevic, a fellow IMF instructor, who had just flown into Sydney on another flight.  We decided to get together the next day and go to one of my 'must do' things while in Sydney--a ferry ride across the Sydney harbor to Manly Beach, MY favorite beach in Sydney.  We hooked up at Circular Quay and yakked all the way to Manly, past the Sydney Heads.  Once we arrived this is one of the locals we met on our walk along the beach!  Lovely, isn't s/he? AND there was a partner to this one too!

Beautiful afterdark silhouette of my view of Sydney harbor.

Anyway, that was Friday.  On Saturday I arrived at Sydney airport for the flight to Wagga Wagga.  And what a millinery reunion there was at the gate!  Tutors (instructors) at the gate were:  Eia, Irish milliner Lina Stein, Sydney milliners Rosie Boylan, Neil Grigg and Jane Stoddart,  Queensland fibre artist Carol Wilkes, and myself...all headed to IMF  I'm sure we scared the other people on our flight, which was a very small plane! Lots of hatboxes!

After landing, everyone dispersed to their hotels and hosting families, to get ready for the tutor meet and greet that evening.  Lots of reunions, including mine with my millinery instructor from many years ago, Waltraud Reiner of Torb & Reiner, from Melbourne. Here's the list of millinery tutors for the week:

Kerrie Stanley (Melbourne)
Carol Wilkes (Queensland)
Rosie Boylan (Sydney)
Lina Stein (Ireland)
Eia Radosavljevic (USA)
Neil Grigg (Sydney)
Jane Stoddart (Sydney)
Waltraud Reiner (Melbourne)
Serena Lindeman (Melbourne)
Jasmin Zorlu (USA)
Louise McDonald (Sydney)
Pam Martin (Wagga Wagga)
Eugenie Van Oirschot (Netherlands)
Carol Maher (Sydney)
and Moi (USA)

The next day was the Trade Expo with millinery suppliers from all over Australia.  I couldn't wait to get to Mimi Millinery, from Queensland.  Harold has incredible vintage millinery materials you just can't find anymore.  Here are a few pictures of that frantic but fun experience.

That's Harold in the center writing orders as fast as he can!

Hatters Millinery Supply from Sydney.

Hatblocks galore!  All of these sold within minutes of the doors opening.  Doug does a fabulous job creating all kinds of shapes--brims, crowns, fascinators.

Three very tired (and spent!) millinery tutors: (L to R) Eia, Lina, Serena.

That night was the official opening of the International Millinery Form, with a Mayoral Reception.  All the tutors rode in vintage cars to the reception and were met by all the delegates and the Lord Mayor in full regalia.

Waiting to load up in these fantastic cars for our tour of Wagga and arrival at the Wagga Civic Center.

My carmate, Jasmin Zorlu in a smashing vintage black straw hat!

Eia in her chariot! 

The USA contingent--me, Eia, Jasmin, on our way to the opening cocktail party.

(L to R)  Carol Maher, Eugenie Van Oirschot, Serena Lindeman.

The amazing Mr. Neil Grigg!!

Arrival!  Waltraud, me and Jasmin.

The Lord Mayor and Eugenie.

Neil in the foreground, with Waltraud and the Mayor in the background.

After the official opening all the tutors were featured in a hat fashion show, emceed by fashion guru Susie Ehlerman.

A few shots from behind the scenes with models and some of the tutors.

Rosie and one of the hats she made for Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge.  Crystal tophat extraordinaire!

Serena and her model.  Great line and color.

Waltraud and one of her sensational jinsin pieces, what she's famous for!

Neil with Kree in a gorgeous hot pink number.  Beautiful!  Kree is the daughter of the family I stayed with in Wagga.

Carol's feather fantasies!  Huge and fabulous!

Hats by the amazingly talented Eugenie.  I have loved her work for years.  She's a past recipient of Hat Designer of the Year that The Hat Magazine sponsors each year.  I am always in awe of her.

My two hats--All Decked Out and Flights of Fancy.  I'll talk about them later.

And for the grand finale of the evening, the Riverina Millinery Association hosted the opening of their exhibit of wonderful hats.  We were all blown away by the diversity of the styles.

I'll be posting at least one more post about the Forum which will include info about my classes and the grand gala.

Photos by Eia, Jasmin and myself.


  1. Jan,
    Thanks for sharing! This is great inspiration! I love all the colors and the structural elements! Eugenia's silk's are amazing...Love, Love, Love!!!!

  2. Yes, the word 'inspiration' almost doesn't cover it. So many incredible hats by tutors and delegates that it was overwhelming. Save your pennies for IMF 2014!

  3. Jan, It was fun reading through your blog memories of the forum. Lovely to see the shots of the cocktail party and remember what a great week we had. It was a treat to meet you and I hope we can again next forum. xx Serena

  4. So cool, Jan! I can see why you adore Eugenia's designs. So much talent!! I'm excited to see your latest creations after all this inspiration :) xo

  5. I love looking back at the pictures too, Serena. Great memories!

    And yes, Jess, INSPIRATION coming at me from all angles! I'm working the Spring/Summer hats as fast as I can now that I'm back home. Showing soon!

  6. I love your post! Thanks so much for gushing and sharing. Was wonderful to see you. I'm going to make some posts too! xoxo

  7. Hey, Jasmin! Thanks! Can't wait to see more of your blog posts. Have been enjoying the ones you've written so far.

  8. OK - I am absolutely positively going to be there in Wagga in 2014... looks like too much fun.

  9. You will NOT be disappointed, that I guarantee! It really is magical to be there with so many like-minded people. Hope to see you in '14!