Ahead of the Rest

Milliner Ann Shoe­bridge sug­gets the best hats for Spring Car­ni­val.

Virgin Australia Voyeur - - EXEC STYLE - Words GE­ORGINA SAFE

Why is a hat a must when it comes to the races?

For­get the horses — sorry, I’m a milliner — the races are all about the hat. It is a rare priv­i­lege to wear a hat in our world to­day, aside from the odd branded base­ball cap or sun­hat. Hats de­note ele­gance, his­tory, style and mys­tique for both women and men. Wear­ing an ex­tra­or­di­nary hand­made hat is about es­capism, in­dul­gence and beauty.

What are the key rules when it comes to choos­ing the right hat for your face type?

So many women be­lieve there is no hat for their face — this is sim­ply not true. Quite of­ten

they are not plac­ing the hat cor­rectly on their head. There are a cou­ple of tricks when se­lect­ing one. Al­ways tilt the hat at a steep an­gle so it’s just graz­ing your left or right brow — it in­stantly frames your face and adds charm and charisma. An­other tip is to con­sider the pro­por­tion of the hat to your body — don’t go for some tiny bit of floss that will get lost in your blow wave. Be brave. Choose a proper hat with a crown and a sweep­ing brim that will throw shad­ows. You’ll look 10 years younger.

What are some of this sea­son’s style trends?

The ubiq­ui­tous head­band will con­tinue to be pop­u­lar, how­ever the ar­ray of styles is grow­ing, with stun­ning pieces in hand-cut sculp­tural leather and laser-cut plas­tics, and oth­ers with vin­tage silk flow­ers. The boater also re­mains a favourite be­cause it is easy to wear, suits a range of ages and is ex­pand­ing in styles with play­ful broader brims. The chic fe­dora is time­less, par­tic­u­larly if made from a fine wo­ven Mi­lan straw.

What are the ben­e­fits of go­ing to a milliner rather than buy­ing off the rack?

A milliner’s work is a unique piece of art. No two pieces are ever the same — even if there are 10 made in the same way. Milliners have an in­nate style; they love fash­ion and they have an un­canny abil­ity to see pro­por­tion. Millinery is a beau­ti­ful, time­less pro­fes­sion that of­ten in­volves hun­dreds of hours of hand-stitch­ing, care­ful se­lect­ing and dye­ing of fab­rics, and art­ful con­struc­tion of hid­den pins and wires. It’s a craft worth pre­serv­ing in our fast-paced, man­u­fac­tured world.

CLOCK­WISE FROM LEFT ‘Ela­nur’ head­piece, $369; ‘De­fine’ li­lac head­band, $269; ‘Yaren’ black boater, $469; ‘Isolde’ dia­mante head­band, $369.

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