Sunday, July 8, 2012

Skills Lab: Flowers

I find one of the hardest things for me to do as a self taught milliner is to keep learning.  I always seem to have great ideas lurking about in my head but never seem to get the time to sit down and figure out how to make the idea a reality and I often find myself glaring dumbfounded at the latest royal/Ascot/Lady Gaga hat thinking 'how the hell did they do that?'.

Having moved steadily from buckram to felt to sinamey I decided last week to force myself to put the hat blocks aside and dedicate a whole week to learning new tricks.  One thing Japan has in abundance is amazing craft books (yes they are all in Japanese but they tend to have lots of pictures and they also force me to study which I generally manage to avoid) and having found an amazing little craft store in Sapporo this week I returned home with a brand new flower making book.  

In Pre war France, Paris alone had 350 flower making Ateliers supplying up to 70 couture houses.  Today there are only 11 registered members of The Chambre Syndicate de la Haute Couture and only three flower and plume makers left in France.  The most well known of these is possibly Bruno Legeron and his small team of "Les petite mains".

In these few remaining atelier houses les petite mains stiffen, dry, cut, paint and assemble by hand the beautiful flowers we see adorning the Haute Couture catwalks during fashion week.

Well I may not live in Paris but I do have little hands and stiffen, cut, shape and assemble they did. 

and some even made their way onto hats.

And finally the piece de resistance (no accents on a Japanese keyboard) my kimono silk wildflower posy hat blocked on my brand new pork pie hat block (I haven't actually sewn the flowers down yet hence the pin heads in the picture).