Best of Bri­tish

Milliner Rachel Trevor-mor­gan lists the Queen as one of her very VIP clients

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - News -

Vis­it­ing Rachel Trevor-mor­gan, milliner to the Queen

RACHEL TREVOR-MOR­GAN’S ate­lier is at the end of a lit­tle wind­ing pas­sage in Lon­don’s St James’s area and up the creaky stair­case of a hig­gledy-pig­gledy hat­mak­ers’ build­ing, which has been at the site since 1765. It feels like step­ping into a Dick­ens novel.

Trevor-mor­gan opened her millinery work­shop in 1990, af­ter train­ing with royal hat­mak­ers in­clud­ing Gra­ham Smith and Philip Somerville, and is now in Her Majesty’s small circle of go-to milliners. She has held the royal war­rant since 2014 but be­gan mak­ing hats for the Queen in 2006; she has worn them to Royal As­cot, her 80th-birth­day cel­e­bra­tions at St Paul’s, her di­a­mond wed­ding cel­e­bra­tion at West­min­ster Abbey – and there is ev­ery chance that at to­day’s royal wed­ding, the Queen will be wear­ing a Rachel Trevor-mor­gan.

Sit­ting in an el­e­gant lit­tle fit­ting room, filled with her lat­est con­fec­tions – colour­ful clus­ters of hand­made silk flow­ers, art­ful com­bi­na­tions of feath­ers and straw twists, and jaunty saucers with in­tri­cate bows – Trevor-mor­gan ex­plains that her love of hats orig­i­nated from watch­ing her mother dress up in them when she was a child. ‘I al­ways love look­ing back to the ’40s and ’50s when ev­ery­body wore hats all the time and they where just part of your out­fit,’ she says. Now her sig­na­ture look has ‘quite a soft feel’. ‘It’s very fem­i­nine,’ she says.

She makes her hats us­ing tra­di­tional tech­niques with the help of three as­sis­tants. ‘I’m ex­traor­di­nar­ily lucky be­cause one of my as­sis­tants has worked for me for 25 years and an­other for 10 years, and they are ut­terly bril­liant,’ she ex­plains. ‘We hand block our hats and make our own flow­ers. I’m very hot on the hand-craft­ing and the fin­ish. By mak­ing our own trim­mings we can do some­thing that other peo­ple don’t. If a client comes in with a beau­ti­ful print dress, we can make the flow­ers to match, which might in­volve dy­ing three or four colours and putting them to­gether to make a spray of flow­ers.’

She loves to wear them her­self. ‘I will al­ways wear one if I’m go­ing to wed­dings or ban­quets, not that I go to many.’

She adds, ‘I love be­ing in my work­room out of hours and just work­ing on my own; for me, there’s noth­ing nicer.’ rachel­trevor­mor­

Clockwise from above Trevor-mor­gan in her stu­dio; a mood board in the work­shop; the Queen wear­ing some of Trevor-mor­gan’s designs. In­ter­view by Bethan Holt. Main pho­to­graphs by Alice Whitby

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