Perth millinery designer showcases haute couture fascinators at ‘Fascinating’ exhibition

Michelle Church from Atelier Eight currently has an exhibition of photos of her headwear at QT in Perth as part of Perth Fahsion Festival. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Michelle Church from Atelier Eight currently has an exhibition of photos of her headwear at QT in Perth as part of Perth Fahsion Festival. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

MICHELLE Church named her millinery brand Atelier Eight, translating to Studio Eight, based on her work ethos – to create haute couture fascinators from home.

“Atelier is French for a workshop or studio typically used by a designer or artist and Eight came from the number of my house.” Ms Church said.

The millinery designer, who studied her trade 10 years ago, launched her business in January this year.

She said it was a challenge being a mum of two kids under the age of four and a designer.

“I have two small children, 11 months apart, so it’s quite a juggling act,” she said.

This year will be the milliner’s first time co-directing images in her photo series exhibition Fascinating, with French Australian visual artist and photographer Nikosono.

The exhibition, which is being showcased at QT Perth, is part of this year’s Perth Fashion Festival.

Ms Church and Nikosono mix fashion classic references and invented narratives in each photo.

“We both wanted to portray our love for haute couture and film noir 80s and 90s drama and mystery,” Ms Church said.

“It’s all about making a statement – that’s what drives me and inspires me to create millinery where you walk into a room and it’s got wow factor.”

Ms Church handmade 28 pieces for the exhibition, but not all made the cut.

“Nikosono and I took 700 photos over 10 months and picked the final 24 to showcase,” she said.

The Leeming resident’s vision was to make the millinery piece a focal point in each image.

“Each fascinator has a story behind it and is individually brought to life,” she said.

“When people come and view it they can appreciate the slight scandal the pictures might cause through trying to break down the stereotypes of how you normally see a fascinator worn.”

In honour of Elaine Goddard, Ms Church’s late sister in-law who passed away from brain cancer in December 2017, a donation will be made to the Charlie Teo Foundation from sales of the artworks.

For inquires of purchase email fascinating@nikosono.com

The exhibition runs until September 14.