Hats, headpieces, models, a hair and beauty salon and a creative photographer are in my opinion the essential elements for a successful millinery photoshoot! In early July after several weeks planning, Michelle McFadyen staged a shoot at her Gosforth High Street Newcastle NE3 hair and beauty salon, U Salon. Together with Phil Punton Photography, the shoot featured the latest millinery collections from my couture line - The Northumberland Milliner - all the hats and headpieces were created by Margaret Woodliff Wright Millinery in my Northumberland studio.
As lockdown drew to a close Phil, Michelle and I had begun to talk about the possibility of a Covid 19 safe millinery photoshoot, especially as I had recently completed a new summer millinery range and needed fresh images for PR. The photographic brief was straightforward - to produce images that were (hat) eye candy, with a neutral background!
The central location of the shoot at U Salon on Gosforth High street was perfect for everyone, especially as the salon also provided wonderful hair and beauty styling as well as the other essential ingredients of good shoot - coffee, cake and chat for the down periods - whilst Phil sourced from amongst his photographic students a group of enthusiastic amateur models.
After an afternoon of concentration, hard work and lots of laugher, Phil and his assistant Denise Booth Hornby have created a stunning collection of wonderful millinery images - the new collection includes a selection of Bridal, Mother of the Bride, Family Occasions, Cocktail and Racing hats & headpieces, as well as new images for my Millinery Workshops - all with models who look completely totally stunning!
I am delighted to report that there have been lots of compliments and sales since the images were released onto SM! Never one to rest on my laurels I am now eagerly anticipating my next shoot for the autumn collection - probably at Michelle’s new satellite salon on The Great Park, NE13, which will be opening shortly.
Details - the models wear, from the top -
Glynise - Silk Magnolia with beaded centres
Romaana - Sinamay headpiece with lace trim and a vintage style gold button
Selina - Bridal arched halo with applique flowers and beading
Julianne - Northumberland tartan headpiece with feather mount.
Julianne - in the featured image - Summer parisisal halo with hand tooled tulips
Hair & beauty - by U Salon, Gosforth High Street, Newcastle NE3
Shoot stylist & photography - Phil Punton Photography
For more details on the ready-to-wear millinery featured - or to commission your own piece - please use the Contact Us page or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I was delighted on Monday to be called for interview at BBC Radio Newcastle, where morning show host Lisa Shaw who had heard about my passion for making couture hats and headpieces wanted to catch up with all my latest news.
Naturally I was nervous but Lisa set me completely at my ease as I showed her a selection of my latest pieces including my latest pieces Aureole, A Celebration of Alnwick Garden, and An English Country Garden. Then it was off into the studio and I did something you all know I enjoy - talking. We chatted about hats, how I came to learn to be a milliner, how to make hats, how to choose them, my sources of inspiration, as well as the technical skills involved in making hats. The interview sped by and it was soon all over in a flash!
One piece Lisa was particularly interested in was Aureole, and now of course I realise now that I've been so busy that I haven't posted on my blog yet to tell you about this special piece! So here it is, this image of me wearing Aureole was taken by Jim Gibson.
So as you will hear in the interview (just copy and paste the link below to hear the interview) Aureole is a competition piece. The theme of the competition was Inspiration and entry to the competition was by purchasing a basic kit from the competition organisers. Seventy five milliners from all over the world applied for kits and used the materials it contained to create a truly unique and individual headpiece.
Imagine my surprise and delight when the Queens' milliner Rachel Trevor Morgan in conjunction with the competition organisers, Parkin Fabrics, judged my entry Aureole to be in the top three. During London Hat Week I was delighted to visit the Parkin Fabrics trade fair where they created a special exhibit of the winning pieces for the many Hat Week visitors to view. I went and looked too!
So to hear more about the sources of inspiration for Aureole, A Celebration of Alnwick Garden, for more details on all my latest millinery activities and to hear the Lisa Shaw interview, please copy and paste the link to the download below for the show. The piece Lisa ran on my millinery work starts at about 10.09 and then runs in a further 3 segments ending at about 10.40, please do listen if you have the time and inclination.
I am delighted to have been asked to talk about my work as a couture milliner, my sources of inspiration and design methodology for the northern branch of The Art Fund_ at the Northumberland Golf Course on April 11th.
My hat illustrated talk will be part of an exciting afternoon entitled "A Royal Celebration of Hats and Flowers". After a break for tea, when my models will be wearing my hats and headpieces, the second talk will be on the mid 20th century floral designer Constance Spry.
Aged 66 in 1953 Spry was commissioned to arrange the flowers at Westminster Abbey for Queen Elizabeth II's coronation, and this started a new style of floral arrangement. Whilst art historian Jean Stokes talks through Spry's work, Sue May will be creating a typical Spry flower display.
Looks like it should be a great afternoon. There are still a limited number of tickets available priced at £35 including afternoon tea. For tickets contact www.artfund.org/northumberland. I just need to choose my hat now!
Image credits - Dmi, editor-in-chief at Humble magazine @dmitrij.co.uk, @humble_mag, Venue Pinko Official @pinkofficial, Organisers X Terrace Fashion Platform @xterrace, all masterminded by Monique Lee Hylands-White @mlmhats