One of the most interesting hats I created for my 2013 "Sanctum" Collection was a hat I named "The Thief: Ruby Hunter" - you can see it in more detail right HERE . Some hats just have a way of making it back into your life and this is exactly what happened with "The Thief; Ruby Hunter" Part 2 I am introducing to you today. Unlike the first version, this one had to be put together feather by feather. The fabric dyeing process included four steps and involved mixed layers of colors applied in several steps. The pallet of Pink, Red, Fuchsia and Bordeaux were mixed in different proportions to make sure that the spectacular tail created out of the feathers of the Bird Of Paradise (which, by the way came to me all scattered inside a 100 years old box in every shade of dirty cream and grey you can possibly imagine).
The process of dyeing feathers rich ruby color slightly fading towards the end of the Thief's tail took several test trials and one week on top of it to complete. And only than it became all about the story and the best possible techniques to implement in order to tell it. I probably never told you but many years ago, when I just came to the US I had to work several odd jobs. Nothing special, your standard immigrant story: waitressing, cleaning houses and taking care of senior citizens and even an ice-cream girl (my most coveted position at the time since I had an unlimited access to the best ice-cream in the world. :-) ). And so one of the elderly ladies I took care of for several months had a giant parrot called Binky. He was an amazing, beautiful creature, very proud, terribly cranky and extremely hard to please. :-) Binky was red, yellow, cobalt blue and turquoise. Despite having a bit of a temper Binky did have one soft spot.
Well, three soft spots if you think of it: he loved apples, taking baths and above all his most favorite thing to do was to get into Mrs. K's jewelry box (which contained every single piece of jewelry Mrs. K collected, bought or had given to her as a gift over the span of her entire life) and play with long necklaces. After a while I noticed Binky was more drawn to one particular necklace: it was made out of ruby red German glass beads much like the beads you see on the hat in this post. He would actually dig this ruby necklace out and than try to place it over his head. Often he would refuse to give it back to me or Mrs. K and I can not tell you how often Binky went to sleep in his cage wearing it. And so here you have it - my memory of the beautiful thief who loved Mrs. K's ruby necklace. :-)
Well, with all the beads and gold bird's feet, not to mention the structure and the bird itself ended up weighing almost 2.5 lb. Every visitor in my Atelier is immediately drawn to "The Thief: Ruby Hunter" series. Since the hat was formally released into Collection, it starred in several editorials including two features in WWD, Vanity Fair Italia and even CNN news. This is one of the hats (an I have few of them) I will never sell or recreate again. One of a kind. I want to keep them close to my heart just like the memories they embody. :-)