Thursday, May 24, 2012

Filling up the shop

The last week and a bit has been spent far, far away from my thread box, well as far as my house allows.  I have been firmly anchored to the computer trying to fill up the shop with the masses of hats that have been sitting in my workshop waiting to be photographed for weeks/months.

Selling on ETSY is a great way to start up your own business with little overhead cost and a huge audience but it also a hell of a lot of work.  Crafters/Artists not only have to create the work they have to style models, in my case be the model, take photos, edit photos and get it all into their shop looking professional.  On top of that you are the accountant, marketing rep, sales guy, cheerleader and janitor.  That's a lot of hats to wear even for a milliner.

So finally I have everything up to date and am heading back to the studio to start the process all over again.

The fruits of my labour.

I also got to play with my wig for the first time, much fun!!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Colour blocking and contrast hats, I love them!

The run up to summer is well under way and we all know what that means, weddings, weddings, garden parties, horse racing and weddings.  This year we Brits get to throw in the Olympics too which I am sure will be an excuse for many to don a union jack themed hat (blog on that to follow shortly).

For us milliners the start of summer is marked by an inbox full of requests along the lines of:
"I have this dress for my daughters wedding.  Can you make a hat the same colour?"
"Can you make this hat but in hot pink to match my dress?"
"I love this hat but my dress is blue."

The answer to these questions is yes I can, but WHY?

Our lovely Queenie is the, um, well the Queen of this matchy matchy look and has been rocking it so long I can't imagine her in anything else.  Luckily for her she has the talented Angela Kelly on hand 24 hours a day to make sure that her hat matches her outfit perfectly every time she appears in public (and I like to think when lounging about the palace too).

For us commoners though it can be tough to get a perfect match or it is overdone to the extreme which is just bad, bad,bad.

So my solution to the 'I can't find a hat to match' problem is, stop looking.

This year is all about colour blocking and I LOVE IT!

I know none of these girls are wearing a hat but it gives you the idea.

Colour blocking is all about the tone.  Find colours with a matching undertone and you are onto a winner.

And if you can't figure out what tone your dress is then do a Princess B. and wear them all!

If lots of colours are too much then simply choose one (for your hat not your whole outfit).  This is especially true with busy fabrics and floral prints.  A one colour bold hat can help pull the whole thing into focus.

Alternatively a hat can be used as a way to make a simple coloured dress really pop or a natural colour hat to tone down a really bright dress.  Matched with shoes or a bag and you have a real statement with very little effort.  This look also means that you can wear the same to dress to several weddings and simply buy a different colour hat and bag each time to make it look completely different (i don't know about you but I think hat and bag shopping is much more fun than dress shopping).  You could even team up with a sister or friend and simply swap accessories thus saving cash, its a lot easier to fit in to your big sisters hat than her dress.

So Ladies stop carrying your dress around at the bottom of your bag and slyly pulling it out in shops to colour match and simply choose a hat a completely different colour and walk tall with an amazing, bold contrasting ensemble.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Golden Week

This morning Kiichiro grudgingly pulled himself out of bed, shaved off his cute wee beard and suited up.  Monday mornings are always bad but coming after a week of holiday makes them ten times worse.

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan

Last week was Golden Week here in Japan where several holidays are celebrated together including the Emperors birthday, greenery day and Children's day.  People don't really celebrate the individual holidays so much (except taxi drivers who put miniature Japanese flags on the front of their car for the Emperors birthday which makes you feel like a Japanese ambassador when riding in one) but see it more as the only time of the year when it is ok to take more than three consecutive days off work.  I am sure Hawaii and Guam see it as the week the Japanese take over their island.

My favourite part of Golden week are the flags/kites put up for Children's day (originally boys day but Japan has started to get politically correct and changed the name) known as Koinobori.

These kites are put up outside homes and temples and across rivers in their hundreds and represent the Mother, Father and each boy in the household.  The Carp is the symbol of strength in Japan (there is a story about a boy who battled a Carp that turned out to be a baby dragon or something but no one I ask can tell me the whole story) and so they are hung in honour of sons each year in hope that they grow up healthy and strong.

Ok the only hat I could find with a koi carp on it was a baseball cap but I did find this amazing goldfish hat.

I also bought the unbelievably funky iron fist shoes below last week so will set to work on a hat to match (as soon as I learn to walk in the shoes that is).

My Golden Week was spent paddling in volcanic rivers, visiting cheese factories and pretty lakes,exploring as many of Sapporo's restaurants as a weeks worth of meal times would allow and battling the weeds in my garden.  Not very glamorous but lots of fun.

For you I have put together a collection of golden hats as the fish theme really wasn't going to work.

 They may not be wedding guest attire but I couldn't help myself.

All of the above can be found on Etsy and all below are from our favourite couture milliners.

As cool as my Iron Fist shoes are I have to admit that I would trade them in a second for these Alexander McQueen beauties.

Hope all of you here in Japan had a good Golden week.