A couple of weeks ago, I went to my friends Marie-Claire and Thomas' wedding in Denmark, and it was SO romantic! I was crying my eyes out the whole day, and then I got really drunk.
My good friend Therese, who had been bestowed the duty of being Maid Of Honour, in turn bestowed me the trust to make her something fabulous that she could wear on her head. She sent me pictures of her outfit, her colour scheme, and a packet full of silk flowers, beads, sequins and other goodies, so I went to the drawing board straight away.
Therese had told me that there would also be a little bird in the packet (with a specific sentimental value to bride and MoH), so my initial idea was to make a little top hat, pierced by a leaf-gold-plated branch (no less), on which this bird would be perched. This looked something like this:
(Well, she did give me free hands, and told me to go the whole way, so I thought: You want it, you got it!)
But then the packet arrived, and the bird was tiny, and the flowers were really beautiful, so my ideas started to go more classic, simple, sculptural, fascinator kind of hat. Also, sitting up there with the bride (who looked absolutely stunning), I didn't want her to take any visual attention away from her either.
At first I started experimenting with steaming various felt and fabrics into shape, but after visiting Millinery Warehouse in Pimlico, (a charming little shop, well worth a visit), I discovered the material sinamay. It's like a very coarse canvas weaved from a natural fibre that apparently only grows in the Philipines. I knew of it before, but always thought that it had a quite naff Marks & Spencer's / Royal Ascot / Fancy Dress sort of quality to it. However, discovering all the different colours and kinds, I bought some to have a go with. After all, some off Stephen Jones' and Philip Treacy's best work is in sinamay. It was challenging, but great fun, and I will definitely work with it again. So I made the basic shape; short of a proper hat block, I used a plaster cast of my own head:
I trimmed it in gold silk bias binding, and then added the silk flowers and leaves. And last, but not least, the little bird!
Therese looked so beautiful wearing it, and the hat was a success with all the grannies and aunties who all wanted to speak to the createur, who got more and more drunk on pink champagne as the day progressed...