Philip Treacy, An Awesomely Unique Hat Designer

Here’s Phillip Treacy in London – He says he likes a mixture of the fifties style and outer space…. is this your style? Truly extravagant, elegant, crafty and   versatile… he  is truly a cut above the rest…his style goes unwarranted…yet definitely not unnoticed.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHl8APyIL5Y]

Here’s more about Philip in an interview from “Another” magazine:

Philip Treacy is one of the most extraordinary hat designers of our time. His handmade creations are a feat of craftsmanship, displaying an imagination so fervent that seemingly impossible dreams are realised through his designs. As well as being awarded the prestigious title of British Accessory Designer of the year five times, in 2007 Treacy received an OBE for his services to the British fashion industry. AnOther Magazine caught up with him to talk about the things in life that make his heart beat a little faster.

You have said that you dislike the term “milliner.” Why is that?

Because its not a true reflection of what I do. It’s an 18th- century term when a milliner was someone who decorated dresses a la Marie Antoinette. I believe that I am a hat designer, not a milliner.

Could you describe for us how the hats are made?

I start with a drawing, I then make a mock-up of the shape in 3D in the material, and then I send the shape to a block maker in Paris and he carves it in wood and then we make the hat on that. Everything’s made by hand, and so it’s couture manufacturing; someone using their brain to make that hat flow or come to life rather than stamping it out. What is the quality that makes the hat come to life?

The personality of the wearer and the hat makes the hat. I always design the hat with the wearer in mind, otherwise it’s an inanimate object. A lady who works in my shop was referring to the customers and what they were looking for, and she said to me, “You sell dreams.” It’s a hat, but a hat’s a dream. It’s an accessory of rebellion in a way.

Why do you think that hats are a form of rebellion?

Well at one time a hat was a conformist accessory, and today it’s a form of rebellion, so the hat hasn’t changed, but the meaning of wearing a hat has. In the 60’s hair became hats, so it became trendy at that moment to not wear a hat, but the hat, I believe, could be the future. It is an expression of individuality and we’re becoming more confident and adventurous. Wearing a hat is fun; people have a good time when they’re wearing a hat.

Who do you work with?

There is a small team of us and work experience kids, there are people who I’ve trained up and people that I will have just met this morning. I have a team of people who are passionate about making beautiful things with their hands.

There was a rumour of Lady Gaga doing work experience with you…

She has expressed an interest, so we’re going to check out her sewing skills and if she’s good enough, you never know! [Laughs.] She’s a great character, she loves hats and she is a very exciting customer because she is the hat wearer du jour, no?

You’ve collaborated with so many different and fascinating individuals. Could you tell us a little about some of those relationships and how they came about?

My relationship with Isabella Blow was more than just a collaboration, it was a kind of romance; a love affair about hats, not sex. And my collaboration with Grace Jones is about a happy coincidence of a hat lover and a hat maker and somebody who looks like a dream in a hat. And most of those relationships come about through friendships, really. It’s a passion for the kinds of things in life that make the heart beat a little bit faster.

And you have also worked very closely with some of the greatest designers…

I love working with fashion designers; I studied fashion design, which helps me to work with designers because I have a certain understanding of that side. I’ve worked with many designers but Alexander McQueen was the greatest of all of them. He was a really inspiring person to work with. He made you do things you never thought you’d do, creatively, and his expectation of you made you do your best. You didn’t want to disappoint him. Isabella was the same. People always say to me, “Did Isabella tell you what kind of hats she wanted?” Never, ever, ever, she wouldn’t dream of that, but she could drive you so crazy about the hat without saying what she wanted. She would be so in love with the idea of this hat you were making for her that you didn’t want to let her down. Isabella’s job description for a hat was one that nobody had ever seen or that had never been invented before – that’s what she expected from me when I made her hat, and that’s not easy!

Source: http://www.anothermag.com/current/view/374/Philip_Treacy_Hat_Designer

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