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About Louise

(updated in August 2018)

Click on the links to view each answer or scroll down to read the full interview with Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald:

How did you become interested in millinery?

Where did you learn millinery?

How long have you been a milliner? Where did you start your career?

Can you mention some actors who have worn your millinery creations?

How long did you stay with this costume millinery company?

Where can we see your millinery designs?

What influences your designs? Where do you get your inspiration?

When do you start preparing/planning for the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival?

Who are your customers now?

What are your recent projects?

Do you have a ready-to-wear range?

How would you describe your style of hats?

 

How did you become interested in millinery?Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald
The story began in England in the late 1980s. I was living in London and working in a completely different profession when I started doing an evening class in millinery. My day job did not require much creative expression, so I was keen to unleash that through hats! I had always been interested in fashion and textiles.

Where did you learn millinery?
In London, at evening classes with Rose Cory (who created hats for the Queen Mother) and at Wimbledon School of Art, where I studied costume and specialised in costume millinery.

How long have you been a milliner? Where did you start your career?
I have been working as a milliner since 1990. I celebrated 20 years of millinery in 2011 with a retrospective exhibition. My first job as a milliner in 1990 was with a period costume company in London. I made hats for film and TV productions, including BBC dramas [Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion and The House of Eliott] and Merchant Ivory films [Howards End, The Remains of the Day and Jefferson in Paris].

I worked with costume designers, interpreting their designs. The actors came in to be fitted for the costumes including the hats. I learnt a lot about the history of hats, as I would research the millinery fashions of the period before I started making hats for each film or TV program.

Can you mention some actors who have worn your millinery creations?Actress Melissa George wearing a Louise Macdonald Milliner headpiece on a recent Derby Day in Melbourne
Tom Cruise in the movie Far and Away, Vanessa Redgrave, Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham Carter in Howards End, Minnie Driver [Mr. Wroe's Virgins], Nick Nolte [Jefferson in Paris] and Jennifer Ehle in Pride and Prejudice. More recently Melissa George [photo] wore one of my headpieces on a Derby Day in Melbourne.

How long did you stay with this costume millinery company?
I worked with this company for five years before returning in 1995 to Australia, where I set up my millinery business in Melbourne. I now work from my studio in the Nicholas Building.

Where can we see your millinery designs?
I sell my designs through my online shop and, in 2015, I started selling pieces through The Eternal Headonist. Plus, since 2006 I've designed hats to go with the Hugo Boss women's wear, with exclusive designs being sold at Hugo Boss stores in Melbourne in the lead up to the Spring Racing Carnival. In 2008 the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) purchased Miss Moneypenny and Bibi Cap for its collection. In 2016 the gallery featured these hats in the 200 years of Australian Fashion exhibition. I was thrilled to be a part of this historic fashion event!

What influences your designs? Where do you get your inspiration?
I get inspiration from the fabrics I use. I'm always on the look out for different materials to design hats and fascinators. I might discover new ones and get inspired by the way they can be manipulated or draped.

Clothing fashion trends are a big consideration, as my designs need to compliment these trends in terms of style and colour. Each season there are exciting new shapes, styles, colours and materials around [more in Trends and tips].

Fashion hats designed by Melbourne milliner Louise MacdonaldWhen do you start preparing/planning for the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival?
February is the time when I start researching clothing styles and colours for the coming season. From there I source materials and progress to creating my millinery collection. By June I am in full swing, producing the designs for my online shop and Hugo Boss woman's wear range.

I am often involved in Melbourne Spring Fashion Week in September. The days getting warmer and longer, people feeling excited about different events for the Summer, the city is alive... I can see it all from my window at the Nicholas Building, where my studio is located. It's buzzing on the streets, it's buzzing in my studio. I love it!

What are your recent projects?
My focus is currently on teaching. In 2018 I have been running millinery workshops in my Melbourne studio, around Australia and was delighted to present some of my techniques internationally in The Netherlands and Ireland in July. In September I will be one of 8 international tutors presenting at the week-long Millinery Meet-up in the USA. I also have plans for some online courses, so stay tuned!

I have been featured several times in the international The Hat Magazine. They also asked me to offer a Workroom technique, which came out in an early 2018 edition.

Fashion hats designed by Melbourne milliner Louise MacdonaldAs part of the 2018 Melbourne Fashion Week I am offering evening and one-day millinery courses in creating your own headpiece for the races.

I always enjoy working with Hugo Boss to create designs for their Spring Racing range and the partnership continues in 2018.

For the last 20 years I have been an active member of The Millinery Association of Australia (MAA). In 2008 I was the coordinator for the Hats Off To Melbourne Millinery Convention. In more recent years I have been their Education Consultant, organising professional development and international workshops for the members. I was part of their committee from November 2015 to 2017, organising professional development and promotional activities for the MAA members. This year I have retired from the committee, but am offering mentorship to new members in a new initiative.

Fashion hats designed by Melbourne milliner Louise MacdonaldDo you have a ready-to-wear range?
Yes, I do. Every year I design a new range of fashion hats and headpieces. Customers can come into the studio and buy from existing stock already made up, or order online.

How would you describe your style of hats?
Elegant and quirky that relate well to the head! I guess my signature style is having flow and movement in my headpieces [more in Trends and tips].


(updated in August 2018)

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