So after the fun and jollity of Ascot Week, there were runners and winners, but in the world of Hatastic! we were thrilled to hear that Emma Yeo was the finalist chosen to win the exclusive annual competition ‘Who Wants to be a Millin-aire’.
I couldn’t wait to find out a little more about her and her amazing designs…
How would you describe your designs/hats?
A fusion of organic and architectural silhouettes, crafted into bespoke delicate pieces from unexpected materials.
What made you decide to become a milliner and how long have you been in business?
I have been making headpieces for about 18 months. I started out making textile interior sculptures, sometimes known as ‘wall art’. I turned to fashion design during my jewellery MA at Central Saint Martins when I discovered how well-suited laser-cut 3-D designs are to a particular sophisticated type of millinery.
Emma Yeo (left) with model Hannah Hodges
wearing ‘Swift’ (also pictured top)
at Royal Ascot 2010
Swan by Emma Yeo
Swift by Emma Yeo – photograph:Elliott Morgan;
model: Nicola Wright; make-up: Ganga Bhambra
What price range are your pieces?
Prices of items in my current ‘Predator & Prey’ collection range from £300 to £2,000 (when bought direct). Individual commissions are welcome and prices will depend on size, design and choice of material.
You have just won the competition, ‘Who Wants to be a Millin-aire’ – many congratulations! What does this mean for you and your business?
Thank you, yes it’s very exciting – the competition has already begun to attract attention. I am expecting this success to lead to commissions for headpieces that are somewhat unconventional and appropriate for public race meetings and also more intimate social occasions. I’m still in the early stages of developing my business and am looking forward to ongoing support and mentoring from the Craft Council, who accepted me into their ‘Hothouse’ business development programme on the same day as the Who Wants to be a Millin-aire award at Ascot! The Millin-aire competition should be a great kick-start to shaping a career in headwear design.
If you had to make a very special bespoke piece, who would it be for and why?
I would love to make a bespoke piece for Daphne Guinness, style icon, it would be the most fantastic compliment to my work.
What piece would you like to see worn to which race meeting, and who would you like to see wearing it?
A difficult toss-up between Grace Jones in the theatrical ‘magpie’ or ‘raven’ flocked headwear or Gwyneth Paltrow, wearing the elegant ‘Swan’ gilded brass headpiece; either choice i would love to see worn to Royal Ascot on Ladies’ Day.
Tell us one thing about yourself that people might not know?
Despite the reserved exterior, I am an extrovert on the inside!
What’s your next piece/collection like? What’s the inspiration?
I have continued creating pieces around the ‘bird’ theme – because there seem to be an almost limitless variety of characters to express! Within this theme I have been working on a range of wedding pieces which have a fashionable ’40s twist – these will be on show at ‘One Year On’, New Designers 1st-4th July.
As a selected finalist for IT#S Nine, I’m also working on a new dramatic piece entitled ‘Woodpecker’ which will be on show in July at IT#S Talent, Trieste, Italy.
Then most importantly, where can we buy your pieces?
Many thanks Emma! So don’t forget to go down and see Emma’s work close up at:
‘One Year On’ at The Business Design Centre, London N1 0QH www.newdesigners.com
And for more info on IT#S Nine that Emma is a selected finalist for, check out the website: www.itsweb.org