Saturday, October 12, 2013

Welcome 'Endora'

And last (but certainly not least) for this batch of our Fall / Winter 2014 collection comes 'Endora', a very special new mini style.

I can't tell you how excited I was when I found the crown block used to shape this hat for sale earlier this summer (for more on hat blocks and how they work, see this previous post). Over the years, I've seen lots of images of 1930s and 1940s hats made in a similar shape, when Elsa Schiaparelli's tiny top hats and other 'doll' hats were all the rage, and a handful of the actual vintage hats here and there, but the original hat blocks for those styles are very rare. So whenever I come across one, I snatch it up. And this one is so witchy, I couldn't resist!

Made with deliciously soft fur felt from our luxury felt supplier in a gorgeous deep navy blue, the 'Endora' is trimmed with a top-stitched matching felt band and chartreuse vintage silk veiling draped around the base of the hat. Three hand-cut ostrich feather pompoms complete the composition, one each in apple green, gold, and burgundy.

While it has a high-peaked crown, the headsize of the 'Endora' is only 19.5", so any size can wear it as a mini. Paired with a slightly domed round picture brim that beautifully frames the face.

One of the things I like best about this hat is how the brim looks different from every angle, so I've included lots of photos.

Available now in our Etsy shop. This is the only color combination for the 'Endora' in our catalog for this season, but the materials are available in other colors. If you might be interested in this shape in other colors or with different trim, just let us know, we're always happy to discuss custom orders.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Power of 'Pluff'

Next up: our newest mini, the 'Pluff' pillbox.

This ladies whimsy is made from deliciously soft fur felt with a huge ostrich feather pompom. The pillbox shape is mini- just 1.5" high and 4.5" across. Each feather strand is selected and placed within the trim individually by hand according to size, and to create the distinctive pop of color at the center, for maximum effect.

Lilac with purple and hot pink trim.

Black with black and white trim.


 Turquoise with light and dark turquoise trim.

All of these are available for sale now in our Etsy shop. Want a different color? Just ask, we're always happy to discuss custom orders.

The 'Deville' Wide Fedora

Looking for a wide, floppy fedora for fall? This is the one you need.

This soft ladies hat is made from lush fur felt from our luxury felt supplier, trimmed with a ribbon band and bow. The brim is very wide and tends to dip down flirtatiously over the eyes. Offers a huge amount of sun protection. Comes fitted with a ribbon sweatband.

This one in petrol (dark teal) with aqua trim.

And also in black with gunmetal gray trim.

Both color combinations are available for sale now in our Etsy shop. Thinking about a different color? Let us know, we're always happy to discuss a custom order.

Another New Style: 'Ilsa'

The 'Ilsa' ladies hat was inspired by a popular peaked-crown style from the 1930s and 1940s that we just had to try out.

Made in soft fur felt from our luxury felt supplier, and trimmed with luscious rayon velvet ribbon. The brim is wide enough in front to dip down over one eye, if you feel like a flirt, and to offer sun protection. The peak in the crown has a pork-pie style shape in the center.

Magenta with periwinkle trim.

And basic black.

The 'Ilsa' in both colors is available for sale now in our Etsy shop. Have another color in mind? Just let us know! We're always happy to do custom work.

Introducing the 'Jesse' Riding Hat

Another brand new shape for Fall / Winter 2013: The 'Jesse' riding hat.

This soft riding hat has a low crown paired with a curvaceous brim that dips down flirtatiously over the forehead. The overall shape is something between a top hat and a bowler, and the deep upside-down ' U-shape of the brim hugs the head as it perches slightly on top. Trimmed with three vintage engraved metal coins (transit, 'amusement' and good luck tokens), and two feathers. Comes with a ribbon sweatband.

Offered in two colors to start. This is chocolate brown with brown and white striped turkey feathers.

The second color is charcoal gray, with blue / green parrot feathers. Each feather in my collection is different, so the exact colors and patterns on them will vary, making each hat a unique item.

I've been buying feathers from an incredible aviary in Oregon that has rare and beautiful birds. The birds there have a really nice life, are housed in no-cruelty conditions, and all the feathers are harvested when the birds molt naturally (or when, sadly but inevitably, they die of old age or natural causes). The aviary has a special license to have these birds and sell their feathers. Because of the way they're collected, the feathers are in short supply and only available twice a year, very limited and special. Due to trade restrictions and to comply with US law, I'm able to sell these parrot feathers to customers within the US only (i.e. no international sales).  I'll be writing another blog post soon to profile the aviary soon with more information on their business.

The chocolate 'Jesse' is available now in our Etsy shop. If you would like to purchase the charcoal one, please contact us directly to arrange the order.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

New Colors for the 'Drake' Fedora

Those who have seen me out and about know that the 'Drake' is my favorite go-to everyday hat. Its balance of curvaceous lines and geometric trim always make me feel sharp when wearing one. I couldn't resist making several of them in a range of gorgeous colors from our new luxury felt supplier.

Butternut. Rich gold with matching trim.

Tomato red. 'Tomato' is a lovely bright scarlet halfway between red and orange. I have a favorite vintage leather jacket from the 1960s in just the same color, and wear one of these with it often.

Apple green. I'm crazy about yellow-greens and olive, and this color fits right in. You may have seen me wearing one of these in the photos in this San Francisco Chronicle article.

Brandy brown with evergreen ribbon. When I purchased a big bag of the gorgeous vintage mother of pearl buttons used in the trim on the 'Drake' a while back, I was surprised and pleased to find how much variation there is in the color of the natural shells the buttons are made from. Some of the buttons are white with diamond-like multi-colors inside, others are a mellow tan-gold color, others are smoky gray with blue, purple and pink iridescence within.  For each color of 'Drake', I choose buttons that best match each other and the hat. 

Camel with spice-brown ribbon.

The 'Drake' fedora is available in all of these colors, plus basic black, in our Etsy store now.

Monday, October 7, 2013

New Mini Top Hat Styles for Fall / Winter 2013

Here are all of our *new* mini top hat styles for Fall / Winter 2013.

While designing new hats for this season, I decided to approach one of the new styles a little bit differently than usual- rather than beginning to design from some idea for ribbonwork I'd like to try, or some other aspect of trim as the jumping-off point for design, I decided to think about feathers as my primary source of inspiration. I really enjoy working with and manipulating feathers, each type has different properties and behaves differently (depending on the part of the body and the bird it comes from), so it's fun to experiment and see what each type will do under the various forms of stress I put them through. After countless hours spent curling, stripping, ironing, dyeing, bleaching, cutting, and steaming feathers to create different effects, it's still a lot of fun! I think of each of the hats in 'The Bird Series' as a little song of thanks and admiration for the material and its source.

The 'Peacock' mini top hat is made with lush, high-quality fur felt in navy blue, with royal blue and apple green silk veiling, and a ribbon cockade in blue and green tones, all to coordinate with the colors and natural markings of the feathers. A special arrangement of hand-curled Peacock eye and sword feathers sprays out from behind the cockade.

The 'Golden Pheasant' mini top hat is made with lush, velvet-finish black fur felt, copper-colored silk veiling, and a ribbon cockade in camel and chocolate finished with a brass button center, all to coordinate with the colors and natural markings of the feathers. Two long hand-curled Golden Pheasant tail feathers complete the composition.

Another hat shaped using the same blocks as the hats shown above, saucy 'Simone' is made from high-quality fur felt, and trimmed yards and yards of vintage silk tulle veiling wound around the crown, dipping over the brim to make a birdcage veil, and looped up into a large bow at the back. The loops of the bow are held in place with hat pins tipped with honeycomb-shaped finials made to match the hat felt. The 'Simone' is available in black, charcoal gray, and purple plum.

The 'Madge' mini top hat is made from high quality long-nap fur felt, polished to a high shine. Trimmed with drape-y crocheted vintage veiling that gives a bit of peek-a-boo over one eye, and a vintage ribbon band and bow. The bow is large and asymmetrical, finished with a sparkly Art Deco-era antique cut steel buckle. It's shaped using the same blocks as our popular 'Wellington' and 'Sabrina' styles- a classic Mad Hatter style top hat with straight sides and a slightly domed top. Available in black with silver gray trim, or loden with apple green trim.

And finally, the 'Astrid'- another petite mini top hat shaped using the same blocks as our ever-popular 'Una' and 'Belle Epoch' styles. This one is all about the cockade! This jaunty ladies hat is made from lush, high-quality fur felt, with a huge hand-made cockade of vintage ribbon. The cockade is backed with a bow with fringed ends on its tails, and finished with a delicately etched metal button. Hand-curled Silver Pheasant feathers. Available in black with black and ice gray / green trim, or in chocolate brown with trim in brown tones.

All of these styles are available for sale now in our Etsy store.