Is it true that beauty returns us to our origins, perhaps beauty allows us to forget the impurities of our past, as it heals and motivates what we truly desire from within. I’ve found that beauty is in everything, especially with sight and hearing. It has the qualities of pleasing shapes, form, color, and harmony. It evokes aesthetic pleasure and can only be experienced if we take the time to embrace such a moment.
Beauty is seen in the simplest surroundings, appreciative conversations, and through the eye of the beholder. The afternoon of May 12, 2014, my life changed, (fashionably speaking) being crowned with a 1956 pillbox hat originally worn by Rich’s grandmother, Justina Andrade. This event was in many ways my rebirth, a beacon of inspiration as I literally felt her beauty overcome me in more ways than one. Having her grandson, a man that resembles many of her attributes crown me gave such a sense of respect. Millinery has become a way I observe the beauty in women of an era gone by, embracing how they would carry themselves with grand elegance, their stylish garments, in addition to their shared facial expressions.
I‘ve admired the beauty of millinery for many years now, yet always wondered how such a complementing accessory is created until I meant Wayne Wichern, hat maker of Wayne Wichern Millinery. Previously, a florist by trade and professional dancer of six years, who soon would find his métier in millinery while employed at several Seattle theater companies. Specializing in women’s blocked fashion hats, Wayne boasts a full collection of 500 to 600 dating back to the 1930s and 40s. I had the privilege to experience his collection in addition to the production of a millinery design. While observing each step of the process with great detail, I felt an overwhelming inner joy which in return evoked the emotion of “awe” and “wonder.”
Typically in today’s society, we don’t appreciate many of the garments we wear or the things we own, they are merely just materialistic purchases of impulse. As someone that is quite the sentimentalist of forgotten memories, I’ve found the beauty in developing an art of seeing. Focused artist and designers call this “visual elements of art” — lines, shape, form, color, pattern, and texture—in their surroundings. Wayne shares this beauty indiscriminately with each design he sketches, handcrafts and showcases in the publics eye. From embellishments, netting, ribbons, feathers and flowers garnished on cloche, riding , evening and cocktail hats there is no end to beauty with viewing Wayne Wichern Millinery.
Floral Millinery Design c/o Wayne Wichern Millinery
Peter Pan Collar Dress c/o Bitter Root Vintage (similar here & here)
Vintage 1950s Gold Framed Black Leather Purse, Etsy Boutique
MAC ‘Chili’ Matte Lipstick
ALDO Uloaviel Pumps, only at DSW
In the not too distant past, dressing for an elegant evening required millinery precision. Is the notion outdated in contemporary style circles, or is it taking center stage once again? “Fashion changes, style remains,” said Yves Saint Laurent. Fashion today is influenced by style favorites from yesterday.
Fascinators vary widely in size and design, but generally they have a small base and affix to the hair with hidden clips or headbands instead of fitting over the head as traditional hats do. Most notably, they regularly incorporate plumage, literal or figurative.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the first known use of the term was in 1750, to describe a lightweight woman’s head scarf, often of crochet or lace. I personally find ‘The Epitome of Glamour’ is the best way to define such a millinery style. Karen Dewaele, Boutique Owner of Miss Poppy Wear provides just that with her wide range of bespoke fascinators which are all hand stitched and custom created in a full range of colors, fabrics and accents.
A visually stunning gold brocade fascinator with delicate white polka-a-dot lace trim and three miniature white roses shines over Karen’s boutique of vintage-inspired garments, such as this eye-catching Gold Rush wiggle dress. Standing in the foreground of the Doe Memorial Library, a 1910 Beaux-Arts landmark which consist of barrel-vaulted ceilings, hand-painted murals and lavish Art Deco elevators, seemed a match made in heaven for such a duo of gold and glamour.
To complement such an ensemble I’ve chosen accouterments which are traditional yet carry a sense of elegance, from a tear-drop pearl bridal-inspired earrings and cuff, to the shimmer of a rhinestone embellished pump finished with the touch of a soft white Fox Fur Stole.
Come this May I’ll be modeling yet another rush of glamour featuring a fascinator and dress from Miss Poppy Wear, while on location in Hawaii at Honolulu’s Moana Surfrider hotel. Stay tuned to view a sneak peek coming in the weeks ahead.
Gold Rush Wiggle Dress & Fascinator c/o Miss Poppy Wear
Mother of Pearl Tear Drop Earrings (similar here & here)
Mac ‘Chili’ Matte Lipstick
Thalia Sodi Natalia Mesh Pointed-Toe Pumps, only at Macy’s
Luxury designed millinery might be the only fashion accessory that provides an elegance that no other can exude. With a fondness for vintage style and tradition, I find the couture millinery by Melanie J Designs to embody techniques passed down from those of tailored dearest.
Millinery is the one accessory that can easily set you apart, demonstrating the presence of femininity with each piece being just as appealing as the next. For such a bespoke design I played with connecting-the-dots in a polka-dot patterned peplum wiggle dress which in return complemented Melanie’s bespoke ornate millinery design. Choosing a classic yet feminine silhouette, I found it to catch the eye of many as I can only imagine who might pause during New York Fashion Week this September as I’ve chosen to garnish my crown for such a high-end fashion affair.
From a hand-crafted wired edge, finished in sinamay anchored by a crochet center with dyed and trimmed pheasant feathers accented by a stiffen bow displaying the overall vision of glamour. Cascading upward, a number of pom poms catch the sparkle of sunlight and connects the dots to such an elegant piece of millinery.
As a child Melanie would watch her Nana design and create works of art through the traditional techniques of millinery. Observing this sense of pride and craftsmanship has now transpired into each piece Melanie creates for her private label. In life, we don’t know how the dots of our past will play out, however for Melanie she has been gifted with the keen eye to capture the beauty in each person she encounters.
‘Ornate Opulence’ Millinery c/o Melanie J Designs
Stop Staring ‘Faith’ Peplum Dress (similar here)
Regina ‘Classic’ Bespoke Handbag c/o Beau Satchelle
Vintage Accessories (similar styles sold on Etsy)
Marble Lip Gloss in ‘Eartha’ c/o Ultra-Vixen Cosmetics