Happy Easter everyone! And today in the spirit of Easter with all its beautiful hats, it is my great pleasure to introduce you all to the next milliner in the Hats Heard Round the World Project, my dear friend, painter and hat-wearing enthusiast, artist extraordinaire, Maria Curcic.
If you have not seen Maria’s work you simply owe it to yourself to check out her online shop, where there are literally hundreds of wearable confections that are ideal for Easter or any fashionable occasion, and they are every one utterly fabulous.
Maria is one of the most prolific minds that I’ve seen in millinery, and she brings our Hats Heard Round the World project to the opposite side of Canada, Western Canada, where we will peer into her world of hats. It’s a place of intense, almost manic creativity, a haven of color and beauty, and a little gem in the heart of Victoria, British Columbia, where haute couture is less a thing than yoga pants and flannel….That is, with the glaring yet brilliant exception of this French-born milliner, whose European aesthetic runs, untamed, through every hat she touches.
I just love Maria’s designs. The opulent, emerald green beret above was the first of her hats to seduce me. Since then Maria has made many a hat for me, and each one is an undeniable work of art. I adore her use of jewelry, unique trim, and vintage materials. It makes each hat so special and memorable: quite simply, little treasures.
The hats in this article are all part of my personal collection and when I styled them for this shoot captured by the incredible photographer Shannon Brooke, I carefully paired them with both vintage and modern pieces because Maria’s hats, to me, are so current, but transcend trends and have the lasting sensibilities of haute couture.
This rich green hat is an example of just that. It’s such a stunner and really reminds me of something that Scarlett O’Hara would wear in ‘Gone With the Wind,’ yet it looks completely modern and absolutely timeless, as fine couture should. Look how this hat transforms model Alina Lee, with makeup by Jasmine Cardenas and hair by Tiffany Raelene.
Worn with a vintage emerald velvet chinoiserie cape and a simple black Christian Lacroix dress, this hat is draped in satin, bejeweled, and topped with coque feathers. It looks stylish placed straight across the head when worn with a full fringe of bangs, but it can also be rakishly tilted when worn sans bangs or with an updo. It’s just so damned chic and disarmingly versatile! Playing with opposites on the color wheel, Jasmine painted Alina’s lips a ripe crimson to really make the green pop. I love the look of it.
Black and blue go together like bruises in the buntal straw pillbox above. This is another darling hat by Maria that looks at once sophisticated yet coquettish on model Cyndal McKay. I love midnight blue teamed with black and the vintage kind of noir feeling that this little topper evokes. This hat brings a movie-star quality to life. Cyndal reminds me of Natalie Wood with her expertly-styled coif courtesy of hair artist Tiffany Raelene and her spectacular features, enhanced by makeup artist Jasmine Cardenas, shot once again by Shannon Brooke.
The grey sculpted wool felt hat with jeweled detail, hand-cut fringe and mink pom pons, above and below, would be absolute perfection on a certain English princess-bride. Hello, Meghan Markle! This is such a regal hat as modeled again by Cyndal McKay.
The amazing thing about Maria’s hats is their transformative quality. I mean, this hat really makes the outfit, and that is what you want people to notice when you’re wearing a hat, is how breathtaking the hat itself is, and how gorgeous it makes the woman look without being junked up with a bunch of inferior accessories and nonsense. Honestly, all you need is a hat like this, nothing more, to make a stellar statement that will inevitably turn heads.
When paired with couture, this is true and lasting elegance. I styled this hat with a vintage fitted couture designer dress and wild fox-trimmed cape from my collection. I love the way hair artist Tiffany Raelene twisted Cyndal’s mane into a low, massive, slightly off-center chignon. It’s so impeccable and breathtaking. Flawless.
Just look at that profile. This is what a great hat will do for you: it will make you look beautiful from a 360º view. It will captivate at every angle and turn its wearer into a walking work of art. This is the magic of a great hat. This is the magic of Maria. Merci, Maria. Merci beaucoup.