So moving swiftly on from ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’, we bravely turn to HRH Queen Elizabeth.
Yes my lovelies, I got to chat to the Royal milliner Rachel Trevor-Morgan, which was an amazing honour.
Rachel’s pieces jumped out at me whilst I was reading about the latest Ascot hats from this year, and I couldn’t wait to ask her how she got to design hats for the Queen…
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You have a very broad range of pretty designs – how would you describe your style?
Feminine, glamorous, elegant, flattering.
What made you decide to become a milliner and how long have you been in business?
I must have been made subconsciously aware of hats by my mother’s love of them – she had a reputation for always wearing a wonderful creation on Sunday mornings. My childhood ambition was to become an actress and it is from this sense of the dramatic that my passion for millinery evolved. I served a traditional apprenticeship with Graham Smith, a brilliant milliner and a perfectionist; in my mind his workmanship is second to none. Learning my craft in his workroom was the best start I could have wished for, he offered a rigorous training in the disciplined craft of millinery whilst maintaining the individuality of design and flawless finish which are central to its art. This background gave me a strong base in couture millinery.
I am now entering my 19th year in business which sounds a frighteningly long time!
What is your most expensive hat/headdress and why?
The most expensive hat in my current collection is £950. This is a beret pillbox with handmade paribuntal roses. Paribuntal is the finest weave of straw and incredibly difficult to attain these days. It makes the most beautiful sculpted flowers.
We know that you are milliner for HRH The Queen. How did this come about and how long have you been making hats for her?
I started making hats for Her Majesty The Queen in 2006. It was during her 80th birthday year that she decided she would like to appoint a new British milliner. Her Majesty’s dresser had had occasion to see my hats and to meet me. As a result she recommended my hats and after designs had been submitted and approved I was appointed Milliner to The Queen.
The first hat I designed for Her Majesty was worn to the official birthday service at St Paul’s Cathedral. The following week saw the Queen wearing two more of my hats at Royal Ascot, most notably on Ladies’ day. Since then I have made over 30 hats for her – it doesn’t cease to be incredibly exciting.
Who else in the Royal Family would you like to make a hat for and why?
I already create hats for several members of the Royal Family. However I am keen to see the younger Royals wearing hats, this always has a wonderful effect on the millinery industry and people’s attitudes towards hat-wearing. I would love to design hats for Zara Phillips and if Kate Middleton were to become a member of the Royal Family she would certainly be on my list and would be a wonderful ambassador for hats.
Which piece is your favourite and to which race meeting would you wear it?
Ooh this is difficult – I fall in love with lots of the hats. There is no getting away from Royal Ascot being the most important hat-wearing event of the year; for this event I would choose a beautiful fine natural straw hat with wispy curled feathers, from this current collection, I think there is such an elegance to a sweeping brim. However for Glorious Goodwood (can I go to two?!) I would wear a feminine pillbox hat with a face veil in a dusty pink.
Photos by Catherine Harbour
And dusty pink is the in colour of the moment so she would be right to do so…and how beautiful are her hats? Don’t you think you need one in your collection? Contact her using the details below:
Rachel Trevor-Morgan, 18 Crown Passage, King Street, London SW1Y 6PP
T +44(0) 20 7839 8927
F +44(0) 20 7839 8927
If you require a bespoke piece for your special occasion or for anything else, please email me!