On Saturday May 27th a small group of enthusiastic beginners gathered in The Long Room, Gallery Forty5, Felton, Northumberland for a summer workshop to learn how to make simple fascinators and block sinamay buttons (Image & piece by Helen Collinson)
We cut, snipped, pressed, rolled, stitched, and above all concentrated on making our loopy fascinators, hand blocked buttons not to mention couture flowers.
We discovered a shared interest in making music, singing and talking, and after enjoying a picnic lunch from The Running Fox, continued making throughout the afternoon.
After our final cup of tea everyone went home with a truly individual result! Here's some of the images from the day, all will be worn proudly at the races, weddings or garden parties throughout the summer. .
Shortly there will be an image here of Joyce, proudly wearing not only her headpiece, but her Garden Party Dress, she is currently almost permanently attached to her sewing machine making the toile, the real dress is next! But in the meantime - here's one of Joyce and I discussing her flower placement etc!
A little time ago I was commissioned by a lovely lady called Ann to design and make a hat for her to wear to a very special wedding, which took place this Saturday.
The great bonus of a couture commission is talking to your client at the initial consultation so you can create a design that fulfils their dreams. Ann & I enjoyed some stimulating & amusing discussions and very soon settled on the design to complete her beautiful lace ensemble. Here you see Ann wearing the finished headpiece, a layered sinamay saucer embellished with tail feathers from Pendragon - the renown peacock who lives at Hopetoun House, Edinburgh - finished with Guterman sequins, and crin ruffles.
Imagine my delight when the first image I received from Ann was that of a typical Northumberland country scene, a delightful family vignette! I can't wait to see the rest of the images, in the meantime here's the lovely picture of Ann, her son & two grandsons, Ann looks so incredibly stylish and proud!
I'm so pleased the weather held fine, too.
Thank you so much for the wonderful commission, Ann.
On Thursday May 18th, Fenwick of York held their Summer Garden Party Event. Throughout the day the air was a buzz with anticipation as staff greeted customers offering them a glass of Pimms & canapés and showcasing the SS17 collections....
Meanwhile the excitement at Margaret Woodliff Wright's millinery studio was that The Design Room at Fenwick of York (on the first floor) had installed my SS17 millinery range, adjacent to MaxMara & Hugo Boss to coincide with the promotion and the launch of the high summer fashion ranges.
To make this event even more exciting we were invited to York for The Summer Garden Event to talk to the customers browsing The Design Room about the inspiration, design and making processes behind the creation of a couture millinery range. (If you would like to see the collection and are able to visit The Design Room you the collection presented in colour groups over two tables adjacent to the walkway, towards towards Carluccios restaurant, until Tuesday 30th May).
So it was that on Thursday morning Erica Souter & I set off from Newcastle station ready for an action packed day. We arrived to a wonderfully enthusiastic welcome, and sustained by a late breakfast of tea & toasted teacakes spent the day thoroughly immersed in fashion & millinery.
It was brilliant to have the support of the staff - pictured, image Aimee Taylor - and to meet both local customers who were shopping to enjoy the event, along with the many visitors visitors enjoying exploring York. We spoke to customers shopping in the store who were holidaying having travelled to York from as far away as Chile, Rhode Island & New Zealand, and some slightly nearer to home including Dundee, Carlisle, & Alnwick.
Whilst I talked to customers about the millinery themes and techniques underscoring my ranges - Erica modelled various outfits and headpieces around the first floor. Overall I was wowed by the positive reaction to my millinery ranges, I think the customers were intrigued to meet "the milliner". I was delighted too, especially as we went on to sell some pieces, as it's always lovely to make that personal connection with your clients and potential new customers.
Then at teatime (yes, we did stop eventually!) on Thursday we had a visit from Kayleigh Lindstedt. Kayleigh is the creative guru behind the fashion blog, I Dream of Coco. A fashion blogger based in Co. Durham, Kayleigh regularly writes about fashion events, designers & their collections, available both exclusively locally, nationally and regularly about the latest fashion exhibitions. She is also a guest blogger at The Bowes Museum, who curate so many brilliant fashion exhibitions in the North East.
Kayleigh & I have had an "online" friendship for sometime, but had never managed to meet up, so it was lovely to meet her in person, show her the collection, and to discover she is just as bubbly and enthusiastic in person as she is in her blog!
Kayleigh had a great time trying on lots of different pieces, and took lots of lovely selfies. She's now written a great blog post where she has posted many more images too. Here's the link to her blog, I Dream of Coco, and the post about her visit, bit.ly/2qGnbUR
As you can tell from the images Kayleigh took, she thoroughly enjoyed her evening chatting to us about the collection, the design inspirations and making techniques. We are hoping too, if her busy schedule allows, that we may teach her a few millinery techniques of her own, at our next workshop date on Saturday. The workshop is at Gallery 45, Felton Northumberland, and I will be teaching how to make the delightful little fascinator or button headpiece (pictured below), just right for your summer garden party event!
Finally Fenwick of York's media co-ordinator Aimee Taylor spent time looking at the ranges too and took this brilliant selfie! Aimee's pictured wearing one of my latest pieces, a demi-turban called Noire, an extravagant turban wrap of silver lustre and black sinamay.
After a really successful day late that evening Erica & I took the train home and relaxed to a well deserved glass of fizz! We had had a great day - we would both like to thank all the staff, management and customers at Fenwick of York for their enthusiasm & support of my SS17 millinery collection.
So if you would like to look at the collection it will be available in the York store until Tuesday May 30th, and then from my studio in Central Newcastle. Please send me a message via the contact form if you would like to look at any of the pieces pictured either in this blog post, Kayleigh's, on the various pages on my website site or message me to make an appointment to commission your very own couture headpiece!