Hats Off: Asia's Top Milliners
Three top milliners map out style in their home cities. By Elle Kwan
Published on Aug 8, 2011Page : 1 2 3
+ JAYCOW | Hong Kong
Celebrity milliner Jaycow trained at the London College of Fashion and under royal hatter Rose Cory before returning to her hometown, Hong Kong. Here, the stylist-turned-hatmaker made her name adorning the heads of Cantopop superstars Karen Mok and Eason Chan with her flamboyant designs: think sculptural gothic headpieces shooting with stark black feathers. These days she’s getting futuristic with plastic and leather for a new collaboration with cosmetic giant Shu Uemura. Her latest challenge? “I need pieces to go with silver lashes!” she says.
• Ultra-feminine While she’s known for her extravagant headgear, Jaycow’s styles can be surprisingly subtle. You’ll find her more delicate feminine creations at White Bridal Couture (5th floor, 22–28 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2521 3288; white-bridal.com), while her distinctive collections are on sale at Hatwoman (Shop 209, Man Yee Arcade, 68 Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2167 8337; hatwoman.hk) alongside the haute couture of legendary Irish milliner Philip Treacy.
• City Sights Since giving birth to her son two years ago, Jaycow enjoys relaxing amid nature at windswept Shek O beach. When tempted to shop, she heads straight to Sham Shui Po’s sprawling streets to trawl for the exotic fabrics, feathers, buttons and bows that distinguish her designs. She also recommends Jordan for the inexpensive, high-quality cashmere stores along Nathan Road, as well as Voulez-Vous (3 Yiu Wa Street, Bartlock Centre, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong; +852 2833 0938), an upscale boutique that stocks exclusives. “The owner has a real heart for fashion,” Jaycow says. “Lots of local pop singers go there.”
+ MICH DULCE | Manila
Manila’s Mich Dulce found early success as a fashion designer, but came to international attention after turning to hats. “I decided on millinery to complement my clothing,” she explains. “The response to my product was really good.” In fact, the hatter is being modest: her vintage-inspired collections, available from her atelier as well as at Kokon To Zai’s boutiques (kokontozai.co.uk) in London and Paris, grace the heads of guests at Royal Ascot and the Philippine fashion elite. And in February 2010, Dulce scooped the British Council’s International Young Fashion Entrepreneur award at London Fashion Week.
• Design Fetishes Burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese and singer Björk are Dulce’s style inspirations, but it’s show-stopping chanteuse Lady Gaga whom Dulce would most like to cap. “She seems like a fun girl who would let you really play and do your thing, no matter how crazy,” she says.
• Down Time Creative on multiple fronts, Dulce sings in indie-pop band Us-2 Evil-0; autograph hunters can find her at laid-back live-music bar SaGuijo (7612 Guijo Street, San Antonio Village, Makati, Manila, Philippines; +63 2 897 8629; drinks for two P100). She’s also a fan of Cubao X, an artist community in a revitalized shoe district in Cubao, Quezon City. “There’s a bar called Mogwai [Unit 62–63 Cubao Expo, Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines; +63 2 913 1060; meal for two P400] that’s great. Order their chicken-liver roll—it’s wrapped in bacon, which equals heaven.”
• Rediscovery For inspiration, Dulce tends to explore Intramuros, Manila’s colonial walled city. She recommends a tour of the Spanish-era wonders with über-guide Carlos Celdran (celdrantours.blogspot.com; +63 2 484 4945; tours from P1,000). “He can show you Manila like no one else,” she says.
+ WALTRAUD REINER | Melbourne
It must have been fate that led fashion luminary Waltraud Reiner from Austria to Melbourne after graduating over 30 years ago. Home to the hat-mad Melbourne Cup, the city is a millinery hotspot—and the place that Reiner discovered her passion for headwear. Now, through her company Torb & Reiner, she supplies milliners the world over and teaches her skills to students across the globe.
• Stand Out Reiner loves what she calls Aussie “nonconformist fashion,” which will be out in force at the Melbourne Cup each November. Still, she insists that hats aren’t just for special events. “A hat needs to be shown off daily as far I’m concerned,” she says. “Any day is a good day to take it for a walk and put a spring into your step.”
• Urban Inspiration The topper says Melbourne has a sense of European style, complete with a robust coffee-drinking culture. She wanders tree-lined Collins Street and Flinders Lane for one-off finds, admires the CH2 (240 Little Collins Street, Melbourne, Australia; melbourne.vic.gov.au)—Australia’s greenest building—on Little Collins, and catches up with friends at the Heide Museum of Modern Art (7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen, Melbourne, Australia; +61 3 9850 1500; heide.com.au; admission A$12). “The complex has beautiful gardens to walk in and find a bench to rest while observing a sculpture,” says Reiner.