AN INTERVIEW WITH MILLINER EMILY LONDON
We were delighted to meet with London-based milliner Emily Baxendale from Emily-London to talk about the craftsmanship of her elegant hats. Emily produces two seasonal ready-to-wear collections each year, and provides a couture service for clients looking for the next level in bespoke, offering stylish solutions for every occasion throughout the British summer season as well as for weddings.
Emily blends functionality and femininity with her classic hats, cocktail hats, hair accessories and bridal pieces, demonstrating how couture craftsmanship and attention to detail can combine to produce that perfectly tailored finish.
All her designs, from intricate hair accessories with beautiful hand-made flowers and antique crystals to dramatic veils, eye-catching pillboxes and statement picture hats boast a stand out level of uncompromising quality for clients looking for an on-trend, exquisite head-piece.
Emily says, “Hats are at the height of fashion, adding and oomph of femininity and pizzazz. This season we are certainly seeing a resurgence in large picture hats with classic brims, but the smaller cocktail hats remain popular every season largely due to the facet that they are so easy to wear. Also floral headpieces and stunning halos in a wide spectrum of summer colours are increasingly popular for brides and bridesmaids.”
What or who first inspired you to become a Milliner? Whilst I was at university I had a small photographic job for a couture milliner. I was so struck with the hats I saw, each a work of art. I fell in love with hats and headpieces in general and was so inspired by the skill and craftsmanship behind them.
Qualified or self taught? Qualified. I studied millinery at the London College of Fashion, but it was during my 2-year apprenticeship with the Queen's milliner Rachel Trevor-Morgan where I then developed my learning and benefitted so much from hands-on experience at the highest level and as part of a very small team. I then stayed on to work for Rachel and my passion for millinery was fully nurtured and sealed.
Do you have a muse, or source of inspiration? I can be inspired by anything and everything, but I am often drawn to my love of the British Countryside, the clean lines of modern architecture, and the 1930's as a beautiful era for millinery in general.
Who would you most like to see wearing one of your hats? Christy Turlington and/or Charlize Theron. In history the person I would most like to have designed a hat for is Grace Kelly.
Can you describe some of the processes you use? Blocking: Hand-blocking is the most integral part of couture model millinery. We have wooden shapes, 'blocks', and we then stretch and set our fabrics over them using steam and pins. It was this process in the 18th & 19th centuries when the poisonous mercury vapours would be released from the felts, that caused some milliners to go mad and the expression 'mad as a hatter' was coined.
Hand-Dyeing: Part of model millinery is that we can dye our materials to bespoke shades to work with our clients' outfits. This often entails many hours of adding a few grains of dye at a time to create just the right blend of colour. Different materials take the colour differently so whilst one of my favourite parts of millinery, it can sometimes be the most challenging.
Flower-Making: We make our flowers by hand, each petal individually cut and the edges hand-rolled. To shape the petals we heat up eggs irons and press the petals one by one to create their domed shape.
Can you describe the Emily-London experience? Unique, special, enjoyable and tailored personally to each and every client.
Describe an Emily-London client. She is looking for something special and particular to her. She enjoys looking good and blends fashion trends with a strong sense of her own style. She is also open to new ideas and appreciates the quality of a piece and the craftsmanship that goes in to it. She is looking for a unique piece that is perfect for the occasion and perfect for her.
Words of advice for finding the perfect hat? Hats are the ultimate accessory - when worn they will attract more attention than any other accessory. As such, don't think of them as an afterthought to your outfit. Plan them with your outfit and take time to decide on how you want the hat to make you feel. Hats can both subtly finish and spectacularly make your look - enjoy the process of finding the perfect piece and don't be afraid to try a wide variety of styles.
Emily-London designs are spirited, original, yet above all elegant and wearable. With a client list including Pippa Middleton, Jodie Kidd, as well as stylists and even Her Majesty The Queen, you know you're in good hands - we highly recommend Emily-London the next time you're looking for an extraordinary millinery creation of beauty. Just look at this fabulous bespoke Emily-London hat crafted for our very own Liesl for Ladies Day at Royal Ascot this year:
For more information on Emily-London or to arrange a Virtual Hat Consultation, please contact: www.emily-london.com firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: + 44 (0) 208 947 0706