Five Things You Didn’t Know About Fine Millinery


Chloe Moo of Darwin

Hats Off

While hat making describes the manufacturing of headwear and hats, millinery is the process of designing and manufacturing hats. These hats are then sold in a specialized millinery shop. A person who designs, makes or trims hats is called a milliner.

Just For Her

While the term represents a clientele of women, men and children, the modern term has evolved to describe a hatmaker who designs and caters to a primarily female clientele. According to The Mode in Hats and Headdress: A Historical Survey with 198 Plates by R. Turner Wilcox, the term gained steam as early as the fifteenth century, when the use of fine felt, fabric and straw were employed in the making of 'Millayne bonnets'. The word 'Milliner' is believed to be a derivative of this age-old term.

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Mention “hats” and an image of a crown and brim might come to mind, but feathers were introduced in the art of millinery as early as the second half of the fifteenth century, to adorn European headgear. The traditional look consists of a single feather, steadied upright and held in place by a jewelled medallion. The most popular feathers came from ostriches and peacocks, widely regarded as rare and elegant Oriental birds, and commonly indicated status.

The Hat of Love



The Chapeau d’Amour was unveiled in a heavily glamorous setting at the Christie’s Gallery in London, as models played up to the unveiling with a flute-playing and flower-throwing routine. Alicia Witt arrives at the scene with the dazzling diamond studded fascinator, glistening in platinum fabric and amethyst. The Chapeau d’Amour, or The Love Hat, was famously crafted by acclaimed couture designer Louis Mariette and is valued at approximately US$2.7 million. Unfortunately, the famous fascinator is not currently for sale.

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Fascinating Fascinator



Princess Beatrice of York, a guest at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, became a media sensation when she arrived in a fascinator that was widely regarded to be unusual looking. The intense publicity garnered from the fascinator, designed by Irish milliner Philip Treacy allowed Princess Beatrice to auction the piece on eBay. The fascinator sold for a record €99,000 with all proceeds donated to charity. 

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