“I work in my hat wonderland,” said milliner Hania Bulczyńska simply. And it is here, in a tiny little atelier, where the most beautiful hats in Poland are born. Here, amidst a chic clutter of tangled ribbon and trim, opulent fabric and colorful hatboxes, set in decorous display against slate grey walls, with gilded mirrors and antique furniture, is where Hania does her thinking and her work. It’s a cozy, inviting French-style artist’s space, brimming with beauty at every conceivable corner, stuffed with heady candles, pots of flowers….and lined with adorable hats, of course.
Hania’s story as a hat artist began seemingly only a mere five years ago, “and since that time my Lallu Chic Couture Millinery Atelier became well-known here and abroad.” But in reality, Hania has always been mesmerized by high fashion designs. Her mother was one of the best-dressed women in the city where she grew up. “I was raised in a home where there were antiques, vintage clothes, bags, Italian shoes, beautiful old jewelry, jazz music, oil paintings in golden frames. I was influenced by good design and art from the very first days. It is all hidden inside my soul. When I create my hats, it comes out naturally. Just like that. Without much thinking.”
Just as Hania’s hats seem to come to her suddenly and without deliberation, so too came her vision to be a milliner. “It was dreamed about and came to my mind so unexpectedly that now, when I think about it, I was hit from the sky high above. Love at first sight,” she told me. “Extreme happiness, positive madness.”
And so, as a perfectionist, she had to learn how to create hats and all the beautiful headwear professionally. “I came to New York and learned couture millinery.” And now, for the first time, Hania’s work is featured here on BSSTW, and I, as a hat-wearing enthusiast, could not be any more delighted!
Check out this turban, pictured above on model Cyndal McKay and envisioned by the brilliant photographer Shannon Brooke, with makeup by Jasmine Cardenas and hair by Tiffany Raelene.
I love this turban so much! It’s absolutely dreamy! This has got to be the most creative and beautifully-executed turban I have ever seen. Ordinarily, one would expect a turban to be exotic, crafted from ethnic textiles perhaps. And this is an exotic piece, but executed in such an utterly couture and sophisticated way.
The color combination is unexpected and riveting, the flowers are fantastical, the detail is exquisite—note the green pearls dotting the fabric—and the scale, well what can I say? It’s downright impressive. I am crazy about the gently-rouched, puffed bow that tops this topper, and as a quick aside, the turban itself fits like a glove and is extremely comfortable. Its wearability is completely practical. The entire piece is nothing short of a masterpiece, and evokes paintings by Van Gogh or Monet, “my beloved impressionists,” Hania stated.
I styled this turban with a vintage lavender Japanese kimono that is embossed with a honeycomb pattern, which is, remarkably, preserved in pristine condition and comes from my own collection of couture. But I’d love to see this giant pistachio bow with a custom purple and green floral wrap dress or a sheath of rich purple velvet and nothing more. This turban renders other accessories completely unnecessary!
And was it the gorgeous green silk fabric or the iris looking at Hania from the vase on her window which inspired her? “I do not know. The only thing I know was that I wanted to create the biggest turban I have created so far. And my dream came true,” Hania mused.
Hania, pictured above wearing one of her own creations, a whimsical golden gem-encrusted crown, also makes little, glamorous headbands, luxuriant pillboxes, and stunning fur felt hats. But most of all I love her eye-catching, huge hats. “They are such a fantastic means of making each woman a true lady,” she said. All her hats are exceptionally creative and wildly imagined, but simultaneously very wearable. But make no mistake, when you’re wearing Hania’s hat, it will likely take center stage.
“First comes the hat! Then comes the woman, expensive bag, rings and shoes. Every woman should realize that. The hat is the most powerful accessory,” she insisted.
Hania’s hats are created with love, with extreme patience, and handmade of the finest quality fabrics. “If I was to say how all of them and each separately were created, I could not,” she reflected. “The vision of each design comes just like that. Sometimes it is a single bead, sometimes the color of the fabric. Sometimes a Dolce & Gabbana shoe or Balenciaga dress. The inspiration comes out of nowhere.”
And clearly one can only surmise that Hania is very sensitive to the beauty of details, the beauty of nature. And upon awakening, when you open your eyes in the early summer morning and look out of the window, all you can see is a field of beautiful purple flowers, laid on a bed of green leaves. “This is the beauty of nature. The beauty of hat-making. The true art that I am deeply in love with.”