Saturday, January 31, 2009

Time for the Brides

.ahh, February.......before we dive into Fashion Week, we must make some time for the brides.  They come to the shop in Chelsea from December onwards, hunting and foraging, seeking their perfect headpiece, veil, accessory......or just an idea to spark their imagination.  Ellen Christine Millinery is honored by chic magazines around the globe, with coverage and pictures of some of our creations.  Online, the site ( pulls in brides from an international market. 
Sometimes brides come in with their mothers, in town for the weekend.  Sometimes they come in with their fiances.  More often than not, a friend is the costume consultant for a day, and advises which pieces goes with their idea of the perfect bride.
Taking all of this into consideration is hard work, so here I've laid out some 

Ground Rules for Brides-To-Be:

Know as much as possible about your accessories: jewelry, shoes, bag
Practice hairdos before you shop for the headpiece and veil
Bring in tearsheets of interesting items you've seen and admired
Have a swatch of the gown
Have a picture of the gown, or a sketch
Know your budget
Don't leave the headpiec until the last possible moment

By having done all of the list above, you'll know how you feel about adding beads, or lace, or tulle.  A basic headpiece can be changed by a simple addition of a feather, or jewel, and French veiling, the most popular at the moment, can be added after the headpiece is designed, should you change your mind.  Don't be afraid of trying something dramatic, because this is the day to do it.  Think color, think detache-able, think outside the bridal box.

Then come to Ellen Christine for the headpiece of your life.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ellen At the Opera

Last night my friend, Andrew, took me to see Rigoletto at the Metropolitan Opera, in New York City.  It's Verdi, so it's a rich, baroque libretto.  The set ain't bad, either. The Set and the costume design were done by Zack Brown,  in 1989, and it's not the first time I've seen this production.  With lush gilt details on their jackets, the men look as gorgeous as the females amid the columns of the Duke's palace .  The women sport  golden cages and Renaissance-inspired headpieces( that we may or may not call hats) on their hears, in rich colors that add to the glow on the stage.
Inspiring, and thus do designers dream up their next thing.  
The Georgian baritone, George Gagnidze, made his Met debut last night, so we were honored to hear this incredible voice for the first time.  Aleksandra Kurzak took the role of Gilda in hand, and lent a lyric trill to the shading of her singing that helped to reinforce the innocence of the character. Giuseppe Filianoti was her Duke of Mantua, who gave us "La Donna e Mobile" in his charming way. Since Pavarotti  was the first Duke at the Met,  Mr. Filianoti has a monumental height to climb.
Wandering between the acts, at intermission, we went into the bar on the Parterre lounge, to see the baton given to Wagner by King Ludwig of Bavaria.  (I was really hoping to run into Roberto Alagna, who had been seen in the downstairs lounge earlier).  In another case are Pavlova's dancing slippers.  Everywhere around the Met are archival photos, and memorabilia is artfully displayed in pristine cases.  The gift shop has been newly re-vamped, and is now worthy of the world-class fan base that this center of operatic talent draws.  All it needs are headpieces by Ellen Christine for their shelves, and the selection  of phantasmagoria and music would indeed be complete.  
All said and done, another wonderful evening at the Met.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Winter Antiques Show

It's that time of year. If there's snow on the ground in New York City, it must mean the opening of the annual Winter Antiques in it's 55th glorious year, this show is the premier gathering of cognoscenti in the antiques world.  From the world over, purveyors and collectors alike huddle over a rare book, coo into the doors of an even rarer sideboard, and ogle ridiculously rare jewels that date as far back as B.C. 
This is the time to indulge your senses, and wallow in old.  Stroll one afternoon through the aisles of  renowned European houses, and fine American dealers , who have created a city for your perusal.  From January 23rd, until February 1, you too can come and bask in the glow.  Or come to the Opening Night Party, or to the Young Collector's Party, to see the sights while sipping champagne and grazing on gourmet tidbits ....all information can be had by going to and clicking on the Winter Antiques Show button on the left.  This is all to benefit the East Side House Settlement, so it's a wonderful way to start your year off with a charity event, and beauty in abundance, all in one fell swoop.
Come join us!  I'm there on Sunday and Monday, and of course, at the parties...............

photo courtesy of Cora

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hatty Award

...Much to our surprise, we've been included in the twenty recipients of the first Annual Hatty Award.  The award is given by the publishers of Hatlife, known in the trade for it's consistent coverage of the millinery industry.
Thank you!  We continue to make surprising and interesting headwear every day, with five collections per year.  When you come into the shop in Chelsea, you'll see our current, past, and future ideas all living peacefully together.  It's fun to be in this business, happily making cocktail hats one day for a request from Vogue magazine, and summer straws the next, for a shoot that W is doing with some celebrity.  Being included in the recipients marks a definite turn in our direction, as we head into our plans to develop as a wholesale company, with an eye towards the cocktail and bridal markets.  Our brides, often editors and designers themselves, come to us with couture ideas.....we hope to develop these extraordinary pieces we are priveleged to make into a cohesive line.
Wish us luck, and continue to buy hats............
No more naked heads!
Ellen Christine

Friday, January 2, 2009

Friends and Family

Happy New Year, to one and all.  If you were outside in New York on New Year's Eve, I do hope you've thawed out by now!
Open houses all over town, and in the tri-state area, to continue the festivities, and say hello to friends and family.
At Ellen Christine, we're holding our semi-annual Friends and Family come and get it: 50% discount, on anything in the shop.  We can't include custom orders in this, but you're all welcome to come in and get a cocktail hat, a fedora, or a whimsical something to add to your collection. Our holiday season lasts until Three Kings Day, so that's the last day of the F&F.  We already have new ideas on board from the 2009 collection, so if you're thinking spring, straw, or Derby, come in and get something wonderful .
Yes, you can tell your girlfriends, your guy friends, and any relative you still love.
And thank you all for all the fun we've had in 2008 making hats for everyone.  May the hat moments grow more numerous, and may all of your heads be covered in 2009!
Happy New Year!
Ellen Christine