There’s no question that the headwear trend is in full swing, and fashion is loving this very couture moment in history. Talented designers are popping up everywhere, making millinery slightly more mainstream.
I will be featuring several talented milliners here on Beauty Shall Save the World, and for all my hat enthusiasts I have a very special treat: it is my article on a millinery legend, the great Philip Treacy, who has granted an exclusive interview to Beauty Shall Save the World. You will love what this talented man has to say about creativity and genius, as well as his late dear friends, fashion designer Alexander McQueen and style icon, Isabella Blow. I cannot wait to share it with you.
By now you all know that I love unearthing a new find, or revealing a talented but unrecognized designer or artist. Well today I am very excited to share with you my new discovery, a little-known milliner who has been practicing the craft of hat-making for only one year. She took just three classes in millinery, yet she creates some of the most beautiful, feminine couture hats. Her name is Amina Marie Hood, and her hats are treasures. Many of them are deceptive; they don’t look like much until you place them on the head, where they transform both the wearer and themselves. In short, each one is a little work of art. Just look at some of Amina’s fabulous creations, shown here in an exclusive photoshoot for Beauty Shall Save the World, styled by yours truly, Shannon McGovern.
First up we have “Rockefeller,” this fuzzy, pure white freeform sculpted hat that makes our model, Christine, look like the pearl in the center of an oyster shell. I had to have this hat, it is such a stunner. Love the texture, the pure white was a big selling point for me, and the scalloped edges, which really are so unique and memorable. This hat is made from white long-haired rabbit fur felt, and I thought the price point, $350, was reasonable for a couture hat such as this. Luckily, I didn’t have to pay it, however; Amina gifted me this hat as thanks after we wrapped the shoot. Thanks, Homegirl. You rock. 😉
Next up is “Espresso,” $300, this little camel sliver of fur felt with chain detailing.
The thing about Amina’s hats is that they look stylish with all kinds of attire, whether it be fancy or casual. They can be dressed up or down, while remaining perpetually chic.
Here, I partnered Amina’s hat with a copper distressed leather jacket, but make no mistake, this diminutive little punctuation mark for your head could go haute in, literally, the drop of a hat! I absolutely adore the seemingly small touches that make her works look infinitely sophisticated, like the bronze hardware trim piping here along the edge.
I love “Letters from The General,” above, an army green fur felt hat, $300, constructed similarly to “Espresso,” with a freeform sculpted silhouette. This hat is ideal for the military trend. So current. Looks great with the Christian Lacroix olive blazer shown and tortoise cat-eye shades.
The cream parasisal straw saucer hat with black ribbon edge, “Out of This World,” $425, looks right in a nod to mod. Christine is wearing a vintage mod shift dress by Dominique, circa 1960s. But, this versatile hat would look very appropriate with a feminine Easter dress or even dramatic couture.
I love the idea of this hat. It’s Amina’s “Convertible Derby” in cherry red fur felt, $400, with black “Pop.” This is the hat that caught my eye when I discovered Amina. She had earned her place amongst eight other finalists in Lock Hatters first annual Millinery Competition. Lock & Co., by the way, have designed hats for Kate Middleton and other royals.
This convertible hat can be worn as shown, or the black top can “pop” off, allowing the hat to be worn in solid red……or, you can wear it with other pops, which Amina sells for $50 each. This hat offers up so much versatility at a very friendly price-point. I would love to have this hat with several pops, including a funky fur felt leopard print! Meow!
“Smells Like a Rose” is a natural ivory, extra-fine sinamay straw, freeform draped fascinator, $400, which knots beautifully into a rose-like shape. The diaphanous fabrication is so stunning in person, yielding a gauze-y kind of filter over the face. The texture is fine and malleable, with a voluminous body to it, like starched linen. But make no mistake, this is actually that beautiful, high-end sinamay straw that is one of Amina’s trademark materials.
Amina uses the same extra-fine sinamay straw in black to create “Jackie’s Funeral,” a freeform draped hat, $600, which looks gorgeous on Christine in a fitted vintage dress above. This hat travels effortlessly to the beach as well, with swimwear and a sheer sarong, for example. The versatility of Amina’s hats truly amazes.
There is something very organic about “In Carolyne’s Gardens,” Amina’s tribute to Carolyne Roehm. It’s a natural sinamay straw freeform sculpted hat with hand-dyed sinamay edging, $400. A gentle draping is so flattering around the face, and this hat’s ease of wear is synonymous with simple elegance, just like Carolyne Roehm herself.
“Foxxxy” is the slate, hand-dyed parasisal straw hat with seafoam blue fox fur trim and crin peekaboo, $400. This is quite the head-turning hat! I love the nuance of colors that Amina works with. Her palette is always sophisticated, never garish.
Each hat is pure couture–both feminine and stylish–without any trendy gimmicks, and the versatility of each piece, remarkable. These are the hats that I could see as easily on the runway at Vivienne Westwood as I could with Issey Miyake. That really says something about the timeless versatility that Amina captures in her work. They would be equally at home with Balenciaga, Balmain and Donna Karan, and her price point is awesome for this type of couture, hand-finished hat. In addition, Amina uses only the finest materials, including fur felt, sinamay, parasisal straw, fish leather, leather and silk.
So what’s next for this burgeoning milliner?
“I still have a lot to learn,” Amina said. “I would love to study under some of the greats. I think Philip Treacy is amazing and I really respect and love the works of Noel Stewart, Jane Taylor, Anya Caliendo. I hope to collaborate with some talented photographers and stylists, and for my designs to be on the runways and in the magazines…but most importantly, on the streets, on the heads of fashionable women, because I want my work to be accessible, wearable and relevant to many women, for many years.”
A quick shout-out and a hearty thank you to the rest of the team that made this gorgeous shoot possible: from left, that’s Sui, who was responsible for coiffing our model’s hair to perfection; the breathtaking Christine Alward was said model; photography by Topher Adam, editor of Dark Beauty Magazine; fabulous makeup by Jasmine Cardenas; that’s me, Shan, in the I “HEART” Paris t-shirt; and last but definitely not least, standing by my side, is Amina, of Amina Marie Millinery. The very talented Tim Engle was in charge of lighting in this project. We could not have done it without him, yet here he is invisible because, like most good photogs, he’s busy taking the picture of the rest of us! Jajajaja. Thanks, Tim, and thanks everybody. This shoot was a true triumph.