Ahead of National Hat Day on 15 January, we chat with award-winning milliner to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Rachel Trevor-Morgan
Tell us what you are working on at the moment?
We have just completed our spring summer 2016 collection. It is always an exciting time of year thinking of new designs for the season ahead.
We have also been working on individual commissions for winter weddings and events as well as making up stock for Harrods whom we supply. We spend a lot of our time on the spring summer season as it is our busiest time of year for weddings and racing – we need to make sure we are prepared!
What drew you to millinery, and what do you love about it?
I was initially interested in theatre costuming and fell into hats slightly by mistake. My mother always wore a lot of hats and I thought millinery would make an interesting career. I have always been drawn to beautiful objects and exquisite craftsmanship – millinery combines these two elements wonderfully. There is so much artistic licence in millinery and so many beautiful materials and textures you can experiment with. I love what I do every day! I love the whole process of designing and making, and the relationship you build with individual clients.
What makes a great hat?
I believe a great hat is one that has a perfectly balanced design as well as being beautifully crafted. You need to consider what occasion it’s for and what overall look you want to achieve.
I am best known for soft, feminine, elegant hats and headpieces. All of the flowers on our hats are handmade in house – each petal is hand cut, dyed and shaped. By making all the trimmings in our studio we can ensure a unique look for each client.
What inspires your work?
My inspiration changes all the time. I love the 1940s and 50s and the golden age of couture when hats were de rigueur. Nature and beautiful flowers are also endlessly inspirational. Working with my clients throughout the year always sparks new ideas for future collections.
Hat design is all about balance and proportion.
Understanding and seeing how hats work for individual clients is a skill that has become very instinctive to me after 25 years in the business.
Of all the hats that you have created, what’s your favourite and why?
I can never choose just one favourite as it changes all the time! There might be a new shape or silhouette that becomes a favourite for the season or sometimes a colour might be a latest obsession. For my new SS16 collection I have designed an oversize petal Jackie O pillbox a rich purple colour, which I love! I have some hats that have great significance for me, for instance the first hat I made for The Queen in 2006 for her 80th birthday service at St Paul’s… that was a great moment!