Designer has a head for fashion

Milliner Debbie Kelly, of Edgewater.Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au   d444108
Milliner Debbie Kelly, of Edgewater.Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au d444108

DEBBIE’S love of millinery began as a young dancer.

Headpieces accompanied her costumes and she adored the way they ‘capped off’ each guise.

Once she reached her late teens and began attending weddings, she created cocktail hats with veiling to complete her outfits.

When she saw three women wearing the same hat at a party, she knew it was her calling to pursue the pastime as a career.

“I bought a couple of hat blocks and a book on millinery and started to teach myself – I fell in love with creating these little darlings,” Debbie said.

“It became a passion and is now a fulltime business.

“It still amazes me, when the hat has finally been created, that from a flat piece of material comes a 3D art piece.”

What are your top tips for choosing the right hat?

– Match the style of millinery to the style of outfit.

– Don’t be afraid to wear colour – so many opt for a black headpiece, which is fine if it suits your outfit.

– Keep your millinery in proportion to your face and body shape.

– Never assume hats don’t suit you – they suit everyone. Have fun with it and let your personality shine.

– Find a professional milliner who can advise on trends, your face shape, style to complement your outfit, your personality and how to wear the headpiece.

What trends are coming in?

– Metallics;

– Halos, leather and lace floral crowns;

– Birdcage veils.

What will be ‘hot’ for this coming Melbourne Cup?

The metallic colour trend will be seen in all types of materials including leather, straw and metal.

What or who inspires your creations?

My inspirational milliner would have to be Philip Treacy and one of his quotes is: “Hats are the epitome of Englishness, and a royal wedding is the penultimate moment for a hat designer. I’m Irish, but I am a royalist and I believe in fantasy.”

I agree that they are the epitome of Englishness but to me hats epitomise elegance, beauty and quality, and I also believe in fantasy – my hats give the wearer a time to dream, run away with their fantasies and have a beautiful butterfly moment.

What styles of hat do you like making and wearing?

My design style is a touch of elegance with classic, simple form and lines that are well balanced. I’m not a fan of fussy hats that have so much going on you don’t know where to look.

For summer I will be making a couple of large brimmed straw fedoras and boaters as I’ll be ready for a relaxing month with soaking up the sun, enjoying picnics and catching up with friends after a hectic millinery season of spring racing.