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January 29, 2017

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The Levante is available in wool felt....

The Levante fur felt fedora has proven to be one of my most popular hat styles.  Fedoras suit so many people and so many fashions - from boho beachwear to street-styles and evening gowns, Fedoras look smashing with it all.  

The Levante features a designer-take on the traditional fedora.  With an angled teardrop crown, it's flattering and not too high.  I think it's a standout accessory for everyday and I'm yet to find someone who it doesn't suit.

My Levante Fur is made from beautiful top quality rabbit fur-felt that I import from Europe in black and alabaster (as below).  I make each one the traditional way - by hand using steam, wooden hat blocks and with a keen eye for detail to get the simplicity just perfect.  And that's not as easy as it sounds.  It's truly a luxury accessory that feels amazing and will wear beautifully for years. 

 

And now, for 2017, I'm introducing the Levante Wool in a beautiful range of wool felt neutrals, starting with latte, denim and chocolate.  Same style.  Great value!

I'm really excited to share it with you.  You can check out all the sizing and colour options on the store pages.  Completely yumminess!

    

Big kiss to you and thanks for reading!

 

What are you really buying?

"When you buy something from an artist, you're buying more than an object.  You're buying hundreds of hours of errors and experimentation.  You're buying years of frustration and moments of pure joy.  You're not buying just one thing;  you're buying a piece of a soul ...a small piece of someone else's life."

 

 

Artisan, Artist or Craftsperson - if you are not someone who makes things with their head and their heart and their hands, then you may not have ever given all this much thought.  

But for people who strive to create art or products or goods based on an original idea that sparks up in their mind, or a long-history of traditional skills and the gradual learning and refinement of historical skills, this will all ring so true.  

For creative types and creators, my feeling is that the receptiveness to your craft never turns off.  The more you do it, the more creative you become.  Of course - it's the practice of creativity.  The more you let your mind dream up ideas and think them through, then the more these ideas bubble up and you are itching to try them all.  Every day brings a flow of impressions, colours, lines, shapes, thoughts - a multitude of moments where inspiration strikes.   

 

But there's a reality to working as an artisan.  We have to decide which ideas are worthy of investing our time.  Which ones do we have a significant likelihood of actually pulling off in reality?  And are we operating in a zone of commercial-reality?  Will this product ever sell and can we make it for a realistic price?  Can we access the materials that we envisage?  And do we know how to use the materials?   Or do we have start a process of experimentation - for days or weeks or months?  That can be really costly when it doesn't work out!  

It's the inspiration that keeps you going at such times.  The inspiration and the vision in your head drives it all.   

As a hatmaker, for me that motivation is all about beauty and the Cinderella moment - the moment when someone tries on the hat that you have designed and created and they see that they are transformed.  I guess it's an advanced case of the Fairy Godmother Syndrome.

We all buy on price to some degree or another - we have to of course. In a world that churns out so many products that bring no beauty and precious little function, I'm keen to support the creators!  

So to those who can and do buy any product of original creation or hand-made effort - no matter what it is - I hope you recognise the full breadth of what you are really supporting.  And thank you from one of the creators! 

 

 

Travels with my hat - Art Deco glories of the new Primus Hotel in Sydney

 

 

So this last weekend, I had the good fortune to visit the new 5-star Primus Hotel at 339 Pitt Street, Sydney City.  Located close to Chinatown, the Primus building used to house the government offices of the Sydney Water Board, and the imposing facade remains much as it was.  You can't tell too much from street side.  

But step inside and she has transformed.  

 

 

Retaining a glorious scale throughout the hotel foyer, the high ceilings and pared-back interiors let the Art Deco lines, architecture and materials shine through.  What a beauty.  Red and pink-mushroom velvet upholstery compliments the imposing columns of red marble.  They are enormous and I don't know whether it would actually be possible to still source such magnificent marble in the present day.  

The open-plan Wilmot restaurant under Executive Chef, Ryan Hong, looked superb but not fussy - who can be bothered with fuss anymore?  And the foyer bar was inviting with the elegant but relaxed and personal feel of an old-school gentleman's club.  They'll be starting High Tea in April apparently too. 

 

The thing is, there weren't many people there and I don't think Sydney really knows about it...yet.  News of the Primus has just hit the pages of the Qantas InFlight Magazine, so maybe that's about to change.

However, in my opinion, the best part about this hotel lies up on the 7th floor.  The stunning pool, bar and outdoor lounge have way-usurped the Ivy for poolside glamour in Sydney.  

  

 With touches of green foliage, flowing water and those little mosaic tiles in the perfect range of blues, this area is part Palm Beach and part Bali on a perfect day.  

   

The poolside menu, the service and the experience of the whole day were spot on.  The Virgin Mojito was to die for and I've never said that about a virgin before.  And the Club Sandwich with smoky tomato sauce and fries were unbeatable.  

Heaven is on the 7th floor of the Primus.  Get there.  

 

 

February - original hat designs and experiments

 

 

After January slips through my fingers, suddenly it's February.  

And that means it's time to let my mind wander around the beguiling subject of designing new hats for the year ahead and beyond.  What will I do?  What will I make in 2016?

It's a different state of mind - it's not sensible or business-like (that comes later).  But once I start to think of hat designs, then so many possibilities and variations come to mind.  They always do.  There are never any shortage of ideas.  

People often suggest to me that I look at the work of other milliner's or look at what else is in the store, but I find that a risky thing to do.  Once you've seen it, it can influence you way too much and you loose the originality of your own style and designs.  I prefer to set my mind to "DREAM" and see what happens.

I love this time and could happily live in a dreamy design world everyday.  

Stay shady. Stay watching.

 

Indian Summer

Indian Summer (noun):  a period of unusually dry, warm weather occuring in late autumn.  Many people think that the term relates to the grand Asian subcontinent, but this is not so.  Instead, the term began to be used when European settlers first came across the phenomenon in North America.  The exact origin of the term remains unclear, but perhaps it relates to the time of the year that the Native Americans set prairie fires, harvested their crops or ended their raids on European settlements.  
Regardless, with the Indian summer phenomenon on glorious display in Sydney, I'm in the mood for the tribal inspiration of the proud Cherokee, Sioux, Blackfoot, Algonquin and all the Native American peoples.
With a smile,

Farewell to Summer

Summer.

It never seems to last long enough but maybe that's part of why it seems so precious. 

It's officially autumn and yet, it's still warm and sunny in Sydney. 

So as I prepare to welcome autumn, here are five perfect images that sum up the supreme joy of summer to me. 

My little photographic homage........ to summer (clink!) ......

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With a smile,

 

 

 

Sirocco Hats at Pittwater....

Images of my Sirocco hats in their various guises.....and photos I took at one of my favourite spots in Sydney - up the top.....it can only be beautiful Pittwater.

 With a smile,