Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Milliners to the Royals - Gina Foster

Millinery at heart is a trade and like all the old trades it has felt the breath of Hades more than once.  This has meant that only a few ridiculously talented milliners have managed to survive and pass their skills on to us millinery newbies.  This however means that much like the Greek gods of past British milliners are like a giant incestuous family.  London based Gina Foster is no exception to this rule having come straight out of the workroom of Stephen Jones via Noel Stewart and Jess Collet.

Founding her own company Gina Foster Millinery in 2006 Ms Foster has recently taken the dream step of all milliners and opened her own shop in London in 2010.

Her bang up to date and sometimes playful style has quickly caught the eye of our Royal Lovelies with Princess Beatrice sporting one of her toppers while escorting Queenie in York as part of the Jubilee Tour and Kate wearing a Foster creation to the wedding of Zara Phillips.

See all her collections past and present at or simply peruse my favourites below.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Milliners to the Royals - James Lock

When Kate wore this hat recently it seemed that the newspapers and the people equally loved it, as did I, however I was shocked when reading the newspaper article that accompanied the picture to read:

"She (Kate) has raised the profile, not only of established names like Philip Treacy but also little-known designers such as Rose Cory and Vivien Sheriff."

Granted this was the Daily Mail but still, Rose Cory a little known milliner?

It seems that, due in part to the royal wedding, everyone now knows the names of milliners such as Philip Treacy and Stephen Jones but what about all the other milliners out there.

Rose Cory is somewhat of a legend amongst milliners with comments such as:

‘Rose Cory… the milliner’s milliner.’ Vogue

‘Rose Cory who seems to have taught every couture milliner in the country.’ Harpers & Queen

springing to mind at the mention of her name.  Never mind that she has the Royal Warrant and was the milliner to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother creating her signature up-turned brim adorned with a huge plume hat.  Little known indeed!

To rectify this gap in millinery knowledge I have decided to dedicate my next few blogs to some of the lesser known milliners out there, starting with James Lock.

Ok, so maybe Lock & Co. is pretty well known but it seemed like a good place to start as Kate recently wore one of their hats to start the Jubilee tour with the Queen in Leicester as well as donning their Betty Boop style hat for St Patrick's Day.

Though Kate may be new in the world of millinery James Lock & Co. definitely are not.  Founded waaaaaayyy back in 1676 Lock & Co. is a family run business that has become an international millinery standard.

It's own website boasts:

"Ask any London taxi-driver for "Lock's" and without question he will take you to Number 6, St James's Street, S.W.1, the home of James Lock & Co., Hatters.
A postcard from abroad was once promptly delivered there, although it was addressed simply to 'The best hatters in the world, London'."

I like to think that is a true story and intend to test a cabby on my next visit home.

As well as its Ladies millinery which includes everything from the casual trilby and rain hat through to one of a kind couture creations Lock's is equally well know for its men's millinery range.  This is definitely the place to go if you are looking for a Sherlock Holmes deerstalker, a smoking cap or a fez.

For some reason all of the hats above make me immediately think of Stephen Fry? 

The women's couture line is currently being designed by milliner Sylvia Fletcher and has just been extended to include a middle-priced hat line to keep things affordable for people who aren't Princesses.  Here follows eye candy.