My Millinery endeavor began in 2010 – I had never heard the word ‘Millinery’ – let alone any idea of what it meant! Come on now – I’m from the West Coast of Canada – we’re not exactly ‘known’ for our couture fashion sense. If you search any of the major fashion design houses and check under ‘stockists’, Canada isn’t usually on the list – but that is a whole other conversation….

I loved hats growing up – any chance to dress up I was in! I could never walk past a hat shop and NOT be drawn into the magic and mysteries it bestowed…. still can’t!

My Mom and I had a ‘getaway’ weekend where we were beckoned into one such hat shop and I fell in love with a black dress hat. It transformed me! I could feel myself stand a little taller, with a little more confidence and a little more attitude! It felt like one of those transcending moments. A week later my Mom surprised me with a gift – ‘the hat’ – with a beautiful inscription on the lid of the box of love and encouragement.

And there I went… Hooked on Hats! I ‘googled’ Hat Making…Millinery…Famous Milliners…Studying Millinery…Applications…Plane Tickets!!! It consumed me!!

The next thing I knew I was off to London, England to study traditional techniques of Millinery with the Legendary Rose Cory (previously appointed Milliner to the late Queen Mother). I decided right off the mark that I needed to learn the trade as traditionally as possible and grow from there. Rose is truly one of the loveliest people I’ve met and was a wonderful teacher.

A desire to expand my knowledge in Millinery was itching at my soul. I enrolled to further my training in New York studying true couture standards with the prestigious Anya Caliendo. I honestly believe this woman is my biggest inspiration and will always remain so. Anya had begun her career studying with Rose Cory as well, so I knew that it would be similar traditional techniques, but with a modern twist. I was hooked! The course outline was not long enough – I begged to stay an extra week for the chance to study one-on-one – this was truly an invaluable experience!

The following year, I was scheduled to return to Anya’s atelier for further study. I arrived in NY the very same day as Hurricane Sandy. If we are to believe that something good must be taken from something bad – I can only imagine it was to witness the will and determination of the human spirit. Many people had lost everything, but through their turmoil came unbelievable communities pulling together to help each other out. It was a humbling experience. Some days felt almost apocalyptic. Needless to say, this trip was very different from the first – but I firmly do believe in the ‘right place at the right time’. There is a reason why we are in every moment, even if it’s just to keep spirits up and support each other. I came home with a few more lifelong friends. An event like this is something I will never forget – I believe this trip forced me to dig a little deeper into my creativity – the place where you ‘feel’ what you create – to learn who I was and where I fit in to the world.

Returning home I decided to start my own label and it has been a wonderful adventure. Drawing on inspiration from our beautiful west coast, the many fantastic cities I’ve explored and connections that I’ve cherished. My background as a floral stylist has been instrumental in understanding textures, layering and pushing the boundaries on colour combinations. I’ve worked with some truly inspiring people – wizards at their craft and am humbled everyday by the amount of trust and encouragement I receive to follow my dreams!

True satisfaction comes when I see my creations brought to life – they desire a face, an outfit, the hair, the make-up, the shoes, the event… their moment to shine. As beautiful as hats are, they are not meant to be left sitting on a shelf – they need adventure and excitement! The transformation in a client’s character when adorned proudly with a fabulous topper makes my heart swell – in that moment there is something magic!!

Lynda Marie, Designer