Monday, December 23, 2013

Wishing You Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year ! :-)

 With 2013 is almost over and with 2014 is just around the corner, I thought I would take a little bit of time to look back at glorious 2013 and thank you all for your tremendous support and encouragement you made available to me all through the year. It was a year of tremendous challenges and the most beautiful experiences, victories and celebrations. One of the best years of my life! And so, today I am wishing every one of you - my students, my friends, my colleagues, my fans Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Let 2014 be filled with joy, love, happiness. Let it be prosperous and let it sparkle with creativity and talent. Let it be a year of loving hearts and superb achievements. Let it be filled with amazing millinery designs and let it bring you closer to any dream you have. :-)
 I thought "The Survival Of The Moust Wanted, Part 1" encrusted with Swarovski crystals is the best choice for Christmas blog post. It became the "it " hat of my MBFW Presentation at Lincoln Center and went viral on Tumbler with in hours. It has been featured in I-lost-count-how-many publications and it is one of the most happy hats I have ever worked on. With each sparkle of this hat, I am sending love to every corner of the world whether you are in Russia, France, Japan, Australia, Poland, Romania, Canada, Ireland or in the USA. Have a very Happy Holiday Season!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"Claudette" Twin Hat, "Confessions" Collection SS2014 By My Atelier.

 "Claudette" is actually one of the twin hats mini hat series "Claudette" and "Matilda". You will meet "Matilda" a little bit later, of course. :-) I had nothing but fun creating both of this happy, airy, light and very chic impersonations of twin sisters Claudette and Matilda I met in France in 2010. We became great friends since than and any time I think of them, I smile ear to ear. Both Claudette and Matilda are writers, they live and work in Paris and although they do look very much alike they are actually very different in their preferences. :-) Claudette loves coffee, white chocolate, shopping: she spends insane amount of money on shoes. She believes in oversized chunky knitted sweaters, skinny jeans, long scarfs and sky high stilettos. She doesn't believe in love at first sight, possesses a healthy doze of Parisian cynicism and is a walking book of etiquette rules. Her favorite colors are "mauve pink" and "antique paper". She loves adding cognac to her morning coffee, I can hear her saying:" Well, Anja (she insists on using a letter "j" in my name rather than "y") this is just the way it is. I am in love with both cognac and coffee, so why not to combine both?"
 And so "Claudette" was created to reflect  real life Claudette's beautiful personality. One of my many blessings - I am surrounded by extraordinary, talented people who inspire me tremendously. :-) When "Claudette" was finished and the editorial photographed, I e-mailed the picture to Claudette to get her approval. For a week there was no answer and I even started to worry that Claudette didn't like "Claudette" after all. Too much of pinks, perhaps? - I thought to myself. Finally, a week later long awaited e-mail arrived. It read: "Dear Anja, I adore the way you see me. I adore "Claudette". I adore you. I adore your beautiful hands. I feel like Hemingway who just discovered dry martini! Would it be too much to ask to send "Claudette" to leave with me? I already bought a perfect pair of shoes to match!" Lol... And so "Claudette" went to Claudette, but not before it got itself into a dazzling spotlight of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week this past September. :-) THE END!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Mr. Frederick Fox 1931- December 13, 2013.

Mr. Frederick Fox, one of the Britain's greatest and most distinguished Milliners, the Milliner to Queen Elizabeth and late Princess Diana, the inventor of what we now know as "fascinator" hat, has died today in London, at the age of 82. What a glorious career, Mr. Fox. My hat is off to you, Sir.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

"La Novia", The "Manolete" Editorial, Final Part.

 "La Novia" is the final part of "The Manolete" editorial I have been introducing you for the past several weeks. If you have missed 3 previous parts of the editorial you can find them here: Part 1 , Part 2 and Part 3. Today, along with "La Novia" head piece ("The Bride" in translation from Spanish), I am posting the entire editorial. "La Novia" was inspired by what happened during  the final hours of Manolete's life. As Manolete laid dying, Manolete's doctor Garrido and his team managed to stop bleeding. With in minutes Manolete underwent surgery and was given several blood transfusions. Despite all the effort his condition remained critical. To make sure that Manolete receives the best care possible the official doctor of the Madrid bullring was called to asses the situation. Dr. Giménez arrived at 4 o’clock but unfortunately too late. Manolete was pronounced dead at 5. And while the entire Spain was left to mourn his death in the state of shock, there was one more person left heart broken.
 Sino. For well over a decade Manolete was a Spanish cultural hero. He earned unprecedented amount of money estimated at $4 million in the first eight years of his career in the 1940s. This is precisely why he was so financially valuable to the countless those who made money of off his career: agents, promoters, bull breeders and advertisers. Sino, as I mentioned before, was never accepted by Manolete's family. What touched me the most is the fact that while Manolete was dying, Sino was not aloud to be by his side, not even for a moment. The reason - Manolete's family and his agents were afraid that the last minute marriage can occur in which case the vast fortune of Manolete will be inherited by Sino. And so...she never had a chance to say "good by" to the love of her life. In the editorial, I tried to reunite Manolete and Sino in the final hours of Manolete's life.
 "La Novia" became one of the most challenging hats I have worked on. Not only because it was styled after traditional Spanish head gear  called "peineta" known for the complexity of the cut out design, but also because I decided to create it using the new to me technique - laser cut wood. The design had to be drawn and measured out. I probably destroyed close to 40 panels of the thinnest wood before "La Novia" came out exactly like I envisioned her to be. White pearl glaze solution I mixed using my own proportions was a cherry on top of the cake . And so here you have it - a complete editorial inspired by Manolete whose life story touched me so deeply. I hope you have enjoyed it. I am wishing all of you wonderful week ahead. :-)

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Most Beautiful Christmas Windows of 2013 Holiday Season From All Over The World. :-)

 The Holiday Season is here and it is somehow difficult for me, yet again, to wrap my mind around the simple fact that another year is coming to an end. But here it is on my desk - my favorite French Vogue 2013 Calendar pointing to the inevitable fact: there are few short weeks left until Christmas and New Years. 5 years one  row now, just about this time in this Blog I celebrate the beauty of the Season recognizing that it is not the end of another, old year I am so happy about, but rather the anticipation of the beginning of the new. And so one of my most favorite things is to look at  Christmas Window Displays from all over the globe. New York turns into Fairy land every December and so it is became a great tradition for my friends and I to spend one pre-Christmas Sunday in New York gift  shopping, wearing fabulous hats, having lunch at Bergdorf's and dinner in another fabulous place (we choose different one each year). I am looking forward to this Sunday since this is exactly what I will be doing - spending it with my friends. :-) This year global Christmas displays look as gorgeous as ever with my #1 favorite - Lord & Taylor. :-) I am seriously considering to dedicate couple of hours on Sunday looking at every single detail of these windows. :-) I am hoping your Holiday Season as beautiful, kind, generous and bright as mine. Enjoy every minute of it and I hope this post at least will put you in the mood for the magic to come. :-)
 Lord & Taylor Christmas Window Displays, 2013

 Saks 5th Avenue Christmas Window Displays, 2013

 Tiffany Christmas Window Displays, 2013

Galleries Laffayete Christmas Window Displays, 20013 

Harrod's Christmas Window Displays, 2013

Harvey Nichols Christmas Window Displays, 2013
Printemps Christmas Window Displays, 2013

TSUM Department Store in Moscow Christmas Window Display, 2013
All images are courtesy if Instagram official accounts of the store featured in combination with images byWWD site in.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Congratulations, Suzy! :-)

There is a great little legend going around in fashion circles about Suzy: apparently Ms. Menkes literally crushed her very first Chanel show back when back by pretending to be a cleaner. She appeared at the venue at 5 a.m. on the day of the show with a broom, a mop and a handkerchief around her head (what a great fashion statement by the way! ), hid for 4 hours waiting for the show to begin... the rest is history. It is this kind of fierce dedication to the ever changing world of Fashion that makes us love Suzy so much! This and fantastic, kick-ass, must read, objective, educated, well written reviews Suzy delivers Season after Season. Congratulations, Suzy, on receiving Special Recognition Award at British Fashion Award Ceremony for the outstanding 25 year service as a fashion reporter. We are cheering for 25 more years to come! :-)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

My Atelier For "Tatler" Hong Kong, December 2013 Issue.

Today I am posting a new editorial with several hats created in my Atelier and requested by "Tatler" Hong Kong for December 2013 Issue. Always such a pleasure to work with an amazing stylist Ise White and her creative team (Lauren Temple my hat is off to you!). We have done several editorials to date for different publications and I am looking forward for more exciting editorials. The hat on the top image is actually a part of SS2014 "Confessions" Collection presented at Lincoln Center this September. We currently have over 50 orders just for this style along. :-) The name of the hat is "The Survival Of The Moust Wanted", Part 1 (yes, I did spell "moust" correctly) and this hat is a perfect example of how impractical style beats functional and rational approach to choosing fun head gear.
I say, lets ditch function all together for a little bit or at least for this Holiday Season. Gold sequined structured beret and pearl encrusted hat you see on the second and third images are actually the hats of what I call "intermediate production" - production between collections. We have so many hats created in the Atelier that are not a part of any Collection that at times I even forget to name them. :-)
So excited for this upcoming Christmas!!! Not only we are planning on expending in 2013 moving the production to a bigger Atelier while the existing Atelier will continue to serve as show room and class room for my Millinery School. I am, finally, in the process of  hiring a production team, production manager and expending my staff into a team of approximately 10-12 people. Not easy for me - I am on top of every stitch, perfectionist and do not have an easy time trusting with production. In addition, I have resolved to NOT hire any interns on site. This is something I decided to do a long time ago. I know many professional Milliners choose to have interns working on hats. I understand financial benefits of it - minimum or no pay at all, but at the end quality suffers tremendously. I am also not a great fan of non paying jobs, never supported it, never though it is right and not about to change my mind about it now. Believe me, I have met hats done by the interns and decided that thank you, but no, thank you. Quality - is something highly appreciated by every one in the industry. My Presentation at Lincoln Center served  me as a great proof of that (not that I was unaware of it before). Nothing more disappointing than coming into close contact with badly made hats. So many stylists I spoke to say that many of the hats they pull for the photo shoots are falling apart. At the end of the day - it is MY name on the label and, believe me, I take it very seriously. We are also starting to receive a lot of requests for apprenticeship - this is something I am open to and will definitely consider in 2014. :-) So all in all, 2014 is the year of expansion for my brand. So unbelievably excited! Wishing you great and super productive week ahead! :-)