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Trends and tips

Millinery trends for 2017–2018
(click on the photos to see the fashion hats in detail; a small window will pop up)

What styles of hats are in this year?

There are exciting new shapes around for 2017–2018:

  • Brims – Reflecting the exhibition The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture at the National Gallery of Victoria, in Melbourne, we will see tributes to this iconic designer across the race track. Brims with shallow crowns, down turned "lampshade" brims or stylized coolie shapes. These hats paired with a full skirt create a spectacular silhouette.

Fashion hat Black Madia, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald Fashion hat Nova, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald

  • Halos and headbands are perfect for those new to the art of wearing hats and headpieces. Light and easy to wear, they frame the face and are versatile for a busy marquee or an evening event. Louise Macdonald Milliner has a wide range – from fun, fabulous to the more subtle.

Fashion hat Cream Headband with Gold Vintage Braid, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald Fashion hat Celeste Floral Halo, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald Fashion hat Blue Headband with Vintage Braid, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald

  • Headpieces are moving back! Rounded shapes placed on the back of the head, including Breton shapes and halos, are reminiscent of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Be inspired by these traditional shapes worn by Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn with a new twist.

Louise Macdonald Milliner's 2017 collection for Hugo Boss Melbourne - Fashion hat Blue Venus Fashion hat Calypso, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald Fashion hat Stella, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald

  • Louise Macdonald Milliner presents this season a range of turbans that are perfect for any occasion. Constructed with sleek straw, turban wraps are great for everyday casual wear, or, accented with delicate gold or silver threads, can be worn more formally. Style with bold earrings or necklace, and you'll be sporting the hottest look in town!

Fashion hat Orange Mona Turban, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald Fashion hat Mona Turban in Cream and Gold, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald Fashion hat Red Candice Turban Wrap, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald

  • Freeform sculpting and draping are key to Louise Macdonald Milliner's signature style. I love exploring the weave of the material I am using, and I work with it to best enhance the flow of the headpiece. Here are some styles that show off this fluid line, and are simply embellished and sophisticated:

Fashion hat Aella Headpiece, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald Fashion hat Ariel, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald Fashion hat Blue Jupiter, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald

Where can the headpieces be found?
Visit Louise Macdonald Milliner in the Nicholas Building to view the latest fashion collection or make a booking to enjoy the made to measure service and have a custom piece created for you. Some headpieces can also be purchased through The Eternal Headonist or my online shop. Once again I'm pleased to present styles designed specifically with the Hugo Boss Spring collection in mind, and these will be available from the Collins Street store, in the Melbourne's CBD.

What materials are you using in your millinery?
Various types of straw that is light to wear and breathes well on hot Spring days. I work with the different weaves to produce delicate flowing pieces that look like they have been poured on the head – they sit so well! Lace, crinoline, veiling and waterproof paper all feature in my latest range. I'm also using special floral motifs found in an old silk flower factory in the Czech Republic.

What are the most popular colours for 2017–2018?

  • bold red, cobalt blue and emerald green, contrasted with soft pink and black and white
  • white and ivory
  • orange in shades of tangerine, papaya and pumpkin
  • black and white for Derby Day, of course!

However, you don't necessarily want a hat that is exactly the same colour as your dress.
Match your headwear with accessories, shoes, bag, jewellery – with current trends, there is great flexibility in putting colours together. Even nail polish and lipstick can be used to help pull different colours together in your outfit.


Millinery tips (for any season)

What makes a good headpiece? What should people look for when purchasing a hat?

  1. You want something that suits your face shape and height

    • If you have a round face, you want to lengthen it by wearing something that is tall, or gives your face height. Try a tall crowned pill box or a high headpiece.

    • If you have a long face, you want to shorten it by wearing something that gives your face width, for example a shallow crown or a beret or pill box where the trim is positioned down low, towards the side of your face.

    • If you have a tiny face, you will be swamped in a big hat and vice versa. You need to find a hat that is in proportion with your face and height. The best way to approach this is by going to a professional. Not only can they help you choose something that suits you, but also tell you the best way to wear it (keep reading!).

    • If you can't see a milliner, make sure you try lots of different styles and tilt them at different angles on your head. A headpiece worn straight on the top of your head may look ridiculous, but a little tilt forward and to one side can make you shine! With the smaller headpieces that have been around for a few seasons, it is all about the angle you wear it!

  2. You want something that suits your personality!

    That tends to be easier to manage. Most people are drawn to fashions that speak to them and reflect their style. Quirky, classic or showstopper!

A few more essential tips to consider when investing in a hat or headpiece:

  • It's best to buy from a professional, someone who knows about millinery. There are many of us in Melbourne and around Australia. You can get key advice on what suits you and, very importantly, how to wear the hat. Many current styles are not as straight forward to wear as your traditional hat.

    Take a photo of yourself in the hat or headpiece when purchasing it, so you can remind yourself how to position it when getting ready on the day. It's common to see people wearing their hats back the front (the label should go to the back) or tilted in the wrong direction – hats are designed to be worn at a particular angle; if it doesn't look good tipped to the right, try it to the left or wearing it straight on.

  • Take your dress or a photo of you in your dress when you go shopping for a hat. This really helps with colour and style choices when discussing your options with your hat professional! The visual communication is the best tool to describe your jade green semi structured asymmetric three quarter length jacket!

  • Experiment with how you arrange your hair. Some women may choose to wear their long locks out as they would most days, but this is not always the best hair style when wearing a hat. Try pulling your hair back in a low pony tail or bun. This elongates the neck and provides a great platform for your headwear!

    If you have a fringe, try sweeping it to one side or under the hat. How does it look? Or parting your hair on the other side. Depending on how you wear your hat, this can have the effect of shortening or elongating your face. Play around with the options; you'll be surprised with the alternatives.

  • Make sure your piece is comfortable to wear. Check the hat elastic is not too tight, and it can be secured comfortably to your head without sliding around.

Most importantly, have fun at the races or wherever you go with your beautiful hat!

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