I recently challenged myself to enter a millinery competition. This isn't something I've done before and I really had no idea what to expect, but was excited to work to someone else's brief and keen to see what the vastly experienced judges would make of my work.
The competition was run by world renowned hatters James Lock & Co. Established in 1676, James Lock & Co. Ltd. is the oldest hat shop in the world and their hats regularly adorn the heads of various members of the royal family.
To design one ladies hat for the Lock & Co casual collection. The hat should be a ‘non-occasion’ piece that can be worn off-duty; lazy weekend brunches, gallery-hopping or cocktails with friends.
Here's my entry: 'Fan-tastic' cap.
When I think of a 'casual' hat, the cap springs to mind. My starting point was the
traditional 'baseball' cap, it's easy to wear and suits a variety of face shapes,
however it is not particularly smart, nor is it very feminine. I was keen to see if I
could design something more tailored that would lend itself to smarter occasions.
I took inspiration from military caps with their tailoring and clean lines and paired
this with a more feminine trim, something bold and stylish but not too fussy.
I think this piece is a true 'dress-up/dress-down' item. It would look great with jeans,
boots and a winter jacket for a stroll in the country but would work equally well
paired with a smart tailored coat for a cold winter morning commute. The elegant
simplicity of the design also lends itself to evening wear, it would complement a
dressy pair of trousers, and killer heels for an evening out with friends.
I'm thrilled to say that my design was chosen as one of nine for the final of the competion. This meant I was given the opportunity to visit the famous Lock & Co shop in London on 26th March, to attend the final of the comptiotion and the launch of London Hat Week.
I had a great time, it was lovely to meet so many fellow hat lovers. The other finalists included milliners from as far a field as Japan and Kansas City, a truly international affair! Whilst I didn't win this time, it was a real honour to be short-lited for the final and I'm thrilled to say Lock & Co have invited back to complete a weeks internship with them later in the year - I can't wait to see inside their workroom!
Here are a few pictures from the evening...
Me, alongside the other 8 finalists and the chairman of Lock & Co, Nigel Lock Macdonald
The winning hat by Joanna Zara
A few of the wonderful hats on display in the Lock & Co shop
Some of the famous Lock & Co hat boxes
Not something you often see these days - a collection of hat pins
At the London Hat Week launch party