We love milliner Rosie Olivia’s hats so much, EclipseMagazine.co.uk decided to find out more about her inspiration for hats and the best way to wear them:
What inspired you to become a Milliner?
I have always loved accessories, especially hair accessories, and whether it’s a floppy winter beany hat or a little glitzy hair clip, I always have something in my hair. When I was younger, I used to go to functions with my mum where all the ladies would wear hats. I used to sit there and admire them all and think, the lady opposite me, her hat would look so much better if those feathers where in another colour or she wore a hat without a brim …… and then my imagination spiralled!
During and after university I did some interning at reknowned milliners Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy to make sure that it was millinery that I wanted to pursue my career in.
After eight months of this I knew for sure that ladies’ hats was what I wanted to focus on, and being such a niche market at the time I felt there was a gap for my designs.
What do you love most about making hats?
i love making bespoke hats as the process from start to finish is so rewarding. You never know what the lady who books a consultation appointment is going to look like or what her style is. Each bespoke hat is different as the hats are made to suit the client’s face shape and match their outfit. People wear hats to attend fun, exciting events and it’s always great to hear about them and be a part of it.
When the hat is made and the client comes to collect it and the hat is put on their head, if the hat is right, the client’s face lights up and I feel like I have done my job!
I love the fact that people admire my creative skills and are happy to pay for something that I hand-make.
When attending the races, do you wear a headpiece from your collection or do you create a bespoke piece?
My hat is always the last hat to be made as I am just so busy making hats for clients. This year was my busiest year yet so i didn’t have time to make one bespoke for me. Luckily my favourite hat from my SS2015 collection was left so I got to wear it!
The dress or the hat – which should come first?
The dress and shoes.
When creating a bespoke hat I would recommend the base of the hat matches the dress with the trim in a complementing colour, or I would use a really strong contrasting colour for the hat and match it with the accessories (shoes and bag).
The design of the hat also depends on whether the dress is patterned, the fabric type and shape of the dress – there are a lot of elements to consider! I love a hat that shows you’ve made an effort to go and buy a hat to match your dress without looking too ‘matchy-matchy’.
Where do you look for inspiration for your collections and designs?
Inspiration for my collections comes from all sorts of places. It takes a while to really get a collection together as some ideas I have don’t always work or sometimes the colours I have in mind aren’t available. I love to go to vintage shops, flick through old fashion magazines from the 1920s–’50s, go for long walks through the parks and look at all the different flowers, and this year i am going to my first ever festival and getting married so I’m hoping this will inspire my next collection!
What trends are you seeing right now in hats and headpieces?
This season for hats we are seeing an incredible mix of styles and trends. It’s fabulous as a hat really shows off a person’s personality. We’ve seen bright, flamboyant wide-brimmed hats, chic smaller hats trimmed with lace and florals, really unusual disc-shaped hats full of feathers and lots of veiling. Hot pinks, ivory and lime are all colours that I have seen a lot this season.
What is the best way to wear one of your hats?
Buying a hat is like buying an outfit, you want to get the correct size and shape for your body. At Rosie Olivia Millinery we have a variety of shapes as everyone has different shaped faces and therefore will suit different hats. Large brim hats suit taller ladies, whilst smaller hats and pill box hats suit round faces. For ladies with a fringe, it is best to cover the hair line so the fringe does not get squashed.
I always suggest you wear your hat on your hair parting and on an angle, sitting about a centimetre above your eyebrow and ear, meaning you will have more hair shown opposite the hat. However this isn’t a rule. Some ladies just have a side they like to wear hats! All my hats are fitted with combs or elastic that sits comfortably behind your ears and under all your hair so it’s not visible.
What’s your most popular design in the current range?
All my clients always say they can spot a Rosie Olivia creation. I do have a certain style as does every designer. Every collection I trim a couple of hats with a lace that I make, it is my signature. How I make it is my trade secret but it is really effective and no one else uses it so it makes the hat unique! In the SS15 collection the Sassi and Hogan hats are trimmed with this.
Do you have a favourite in your current collection and why?
My favourite hat from the new AW/15 collection is the Chai hat. It’s a black and ivory winter cocktail hat. Perfect to wear to attend a winter wedding. I love monochrome and the simplicity of the design. In every collection there are always a couple of really wacky hats and some more classic looks.
I don’t go anywhere without a hat these days as why not?! A hat finishes off your outfit and someone always compliments it!
What is the best way to store a hat?
Invest in a hat box. Ensure your hat stays in good condition by protecting it in tissue paper, with plenty of room around any detailing in a hat box.
The Rosie Olivia collection is available from:
For further information please contact:
Rosie Olivia: [email protected]
Follow Rosie on Twitter: @millineryrosieo
Pictured: Top from left to right – Carvalho £390; Harlow £225; Hogan £400; Jacko £465; Latina £275; Lubango £365. Right hand side from top to bottom – Morella £240; Osaka £240; Pop £225; Punik £325; Raul £325; Sassi £375; Viana £325.