Hats can make or break your raceday outfit, not only in terms of how it looks, but also how it makes you feel. A hat that suits your face shape, outfit and personal sense of style is rarely found in a high street store.
Expert milliners can seem daunting but don’t be scared: actually they are creative, happy people and just love to be given the opportunity to find or create a hat to suit you. Because they are the designer, their ready-to-wear collections can often be tweaked if you need just a pop of another colour, and there is nothing they like better than a challenge!
Bear in mind, however, that the summer is usually their busiest time of year so plan ahead as much as possible and give yourself time to find the perfect piece.
Many milliners also have gorgeous winter collections and racing of course provides the perfect excuse to show some of them off too!
Here are five marvellous milliners to follow:
ELENA SHVAB MILLINERY
A new British brand for couture hats and head-wear, taking inspiration from nature, history and contemporary art.
Elena Shvab millinery is working with bold shapes and experimental textiles to create dramatic silhouettes. Each hat is designed and handcrafted in their London studio incorporating contemporary materials and classic millinery techniques.
For the summer racing season there is a collection of statement hats as well as bespoke commissions to match any attire.
Elena Shvab Millinery’s philosophy is to create unique hats that highlight the client’s personality and style, yet are wearable and comfortable.
WE SAY: Gorgeous hats ranging from unusual and eye-catching pieces, perfect for Chester May Races, Royal Ascot and York Ebor, through to elegant classics to stand out at Glorious Goodwood and British Champions Day.
At Beverley Edmondson Millinery, the mission is to make you look and feel fantastic for the big occasions in your life.
Visiting the award-winning boutique in Farnham is like walking into an Aladdin’s cave of colour and texture and whether you are a seasoned hat wearer or a hat novice, Beverley and her team will guide you through the magical world of millinery with skill and care.
Beverley has a wealth of millinery, styling, colour knowledge and experience, ensuring that the headwear, accessories and style you are looking to wear at big racing festivals such as Royal Ascot can be made a reality.
WE SAY: Another amazing milliner with a huge variety of designs to choose from, Beverley was also National Winner for Accessory Designer of the Year 2017 at the Wedding Industry Awards. She also runs Millinery Workshops, Parties and sells a wide range of other accessories too.
MAGGIE MOWBRAY MILLINERY
An award-winning niche brand focusing on high quality products and exclusive designs. A brand which designs with their clients in mind, creating hats and designs to complement and flatter all face shapes and body types!
All designs are formed by Maggie, by hand, then stitched and finished in her Edinburgh studio.
The Artist Collection (SS18) is inspired by Maggie’s artistic past: having studied fine art, Maggie spent many years creating abstract works using ink, and oils, inspired by nature. Each design in the collection bears some elements from her past work and time as an artist.
WE SAY: One of our favourite milliners, Maggie has a design for any occasion, ranging from gorgeous berets to wear every day through to stunning creations for Ladies Day competitions. All of her designs are timeless and elegant and can be worn time and again with different outfits and styles.
HATS BY AGNIESZKA
London-based milliner Agnieszka Stanczyk developed her lifelong passion for hat-making through experimentation and formal training from Rose Cory, the Queen Mother’s milliner.
All of Agnieszka’s hats are meticulously handcrafted one-off creations: traditional millinery techniques are combined with both conventional and modern materials to create her sophisticated headwear.
Vintage and modern millinery blocks, designed and hand-crafted by Agnieszka are utilised to fuse contemporary, sculptural shapes and proportions with a vintage aesthetic throughout.
WE SAY: Agnieszka’s hats range from joyful berets to exuberant experimental shapes – if you’re looking for something unexpected, start looking here! She is not afraid of colour or unusual colour combinations so her hats are also perfect for pepping up an understated outfit.
MARGARET WOODLIFF WRIGHT MILLINERY
Initially training at Selfridges, London W1, as a retail buyer, Margaret has a lifelong fascination with fabric, texture and colour.
In 2011 she decided it was time to re-connect with her creative inner self, and enrolled at Leeds College of Art graduating in Dec 2013 with High Distinctions in HNC Couture Millinery.
Her millinery style is contemporary and wearable; she aims to make elegant headpieces that flatter her clients, researching her collections using historical references, art and travel.
Her 2018 collection draws inspiration from this season’s colour trends including sugar almond pastels and feather highlights.
WE SAY: Margaret is particularly passionate about Couture hats – she loves to work with you to design your own totally unique hat! Her knowledge of this skilled craft is immense and her passion for the subject is infectious – so much so, she runs millinery workshops for those she has inspired with the desire to design.