Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New York Magazine Credit

When the New York Magazine planned on doing a shot of the women of Almodovar's "Women on the Verge", they called around for "pillbox" hats for the shoot. This is an example of how history happens, hat lovers.
What we call a pillbox, is of course, a real deal, invented eons ago, but made ever so popular by Halston's winning design for Jackie Kennedy when she was Madame Mrs. President. The pillbox, oft seen in Turkish references, and Victorian libraries (men wore them as "smoking" caps, to keep the smell of cigar smoke from their Macassar oil-slicked hair), has now become a word with many meanings. As is the wont of the fashion press, invention is the mother of necessity, and the word becomes the reality as per job requirement. A pillbox to the young set may now seem to be a smallish, head-hugging anything of a cute little hat, with or sans veil. Whether it be the shape that gave it it's name, or the contemporary translation of the concept, little hats have made their mark and their comeback!
Look out world!

Roberto Alagna in the House

Carnegie Hall hosted the Opera Orchestra of New York last night, with a back to back performance of Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Massenet's La Navarraise. Celebrated as two of the naturalist/verismo operas, these pieces demand dramatic presentation. With a full orchestra,and the New York Choral Society behind them, the singers gave good drama. Led by Maestro Alberto Veronese, a star roster of operatic talent dealt a strong hand of soaring notes, full-bodied duets. Roberto Alagna sang Turiddu from Cavalleria, and Araquil in the darker Navarraise.
His diva in the Mascagni was Maria Guleghina, well-known in New York from her appearances at the Metropolitan Opera. Joined by Mignon Dunn, Carlos Almaguer and Krysty Swann, the performance was as lyrical as the composer could have wished. The brilliance of the conductor's sweeping control, and the scintillating addition of the Choral created a mood in the house of poetic artistry.
The Massenet, written after the huge success of Cavalleria, stirs the emotions on a different level. At Carnegie Hall, supplemental musicians were placed high above the audience, to infuse a sense of the military background, and it worked. Alagna again joins a stellar group, with Elina Garanca (his Carmen at the Met) singing the title role. Ildar Abdrazakov, handsome and commanding, sang the part of Garrido, the General. The cast was balanced with: Issachah Savage, Brian Kontes, and Michael Anthony McGee.
At the stage door, like good New York groupies, we got no glimpse of Robertino. He had left by the main entrance, leaving us waiting until the next time. Just like a man.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Boutique Week

This is something new for us, since we never have sales. At least not to the public. Boutique Week is the brainchild of two business school graduates, who are helping to raise the visibility of small shops across the country. By hyping a week long event in LA and New York, as well as select other cities, retail should get a much needed shot in the arm. Making it just pre-Halloween puts everyone into a party mood. Making it post-Fashion's Night Out carries along the theme of shopping, enjoying what the season's fashion houses have to offer, and celebrates current trends.
Ellen Christine Millinery was invited to participate, and will be offering a 25% discount on inhouse merchandise. We can't offer the discount for custom orders, or alterations, or online merchandise.
The idea is to get the public (who may not know us and our fabulous headwear)into the store, and let them meet me in person.
On board, everyone! Go to www.BoutiqueWeek.net, sign on, get the code, ad come shopping. We've been working to fill in the inventory with sexy cloche hats, fabulous large brims, and fedoras in sizes for men and women. Those of you who know us know we work in beaver and fur felts, and make our hats by hand. These are the hats seen in Vogue, Glamour, W Magazine, Ebony, Elle, Marie Claire, and are all exclusive to our shop.
October 24-30.......a whole week to save.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ebony's Anniversary Issue

Mario Wilson is a stylist that we've worked with for a decade or more. When he got the Ebony Anniversary Issue storyboard, he called Ellen Christine Millinery for hats.
The editors had an idea that would re-create covers from the Ebony archives: Lena Horne, Diana Ross, Dorothy Dandridge among the icons portrayed. Using contemporary, well-loved stars, the covers would commemorate the cultural history that these artists have given the world.
The cover that captured one moment of Lena Horne (she graced quite a few covers) was styled with a huge draped hat, that reminded me of Christian Dior. Mario asked us to do a modern version that would fill the page, work that glorious color, and accent the beauty of Jurnee Smollett, from The Defenders. With the tiny timeframe (not unusual in the fashion world) we had to do the hat, we chose one of our sculptured hats as a design base,and dyed the material to match Miss Horne's hat. Tell us, did it work for you?
For Miss Diana Ross, Lady Day herself, the pose chosen worked a sequinned beret, surrounded by ostrich plumes. We made a beaded beret/cocktail hat, embroidered by hand with crystals, rhinestones (Swarovski), and pearls on a lace base to capture the richness of the moment.
This is definitely an issue to own.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rude Milliners

Oh, yes, that's me! I just fled from a mindless comment, and she probably thought I was being rude. Believe me, if I had stayed, I'd have been really rude. Sigh. In the holy days of glorious black and white movies, the salesgirls were always polite , unless it was someone like Crystal, in "The Women". She was rude, but then, she was a scripted character, played by Joan Crawford. Joan Crawford was a strong character with or without a script, if we believe the lore of Hollywood gossip.
But here in my little shop, I stand along, with no script, with just my mouth to defend me. Sigh.
If you, the total, hatless stranger, walks in and says: "I hate hats".......what can you really expect me to say??? If you walk in and say" You're probably too expensive"........what can you really expect me to say?????
Or: "Hats look terrible on me".......commmmeeeeee onnnnnnn.
Me, the mouth. Of course I'm going to say something like: So, it's a hat shop, why are you here?
Yes, we are expensive, but we try to accomodate. No, our hats aren't made in the united republic of starving orphans and widows who work for .25 a week. No, we don't glue, paste, varnish, and otherwise turn into plastic, the things some people call hats. No, we don't have enough inventory. Sorry.....Macy's is in the other direction. Loehman's is on 7th Avenue. H&M isn't on this block.
Sometimes I take the time to explain the veritable glories of handmade hats. And sometimes I don't.
Please, hat shoppers, take pity on us. those of us who make our own product beg you to be thoughtful, kind, reflective, and not blurt out the first thing that you think when you walk in. Think first, and then talk.
And let those of us who know our craft handle your hat problems.
Oh, and if I'm insulting you please feel free to banter back. I love a good witty exchange.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hats Need Shoes

If a girl has a new hat, what's the next thing that will spark up an outfit, and perk up her mood? New shoes! It's all investment shopping, of course, with an eye to the practical, and yet fulfills the shopping need. New shoes can change your mood, much as a new hat can, while saying to the world that your style isn't about old, worn, scuffed boots every single day. Of course, if they have a distressed look to the leather, and yet are brand, spanking new, it's the marriage of two worlds. Handmade shoes, meant for walking, in this crazy burg of ours, New York,can be a blessing.
There's a little shop in Nolita: Shoe, that can go down that checklist for you and supply men and women with hot new style on the feet. Pumps, boots, sandals......very, very cool looking shoes.
Trust me, I've been a shoe-aholic since I was a wee tot.

Look for a great walk-through of the store by Lisa Staples on :Localboutique.com, a portal for you guessed it: local boutiques!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Polo MUST Hats!

Translation: there's a Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in LA on this Sunday, and in keeping with the spirit of the Hollywood heros and heroines who fancied Polo in their heyday, hat wearing is de rigeur. The press push is for 1920's and 1930's, so that the last remaining Polo field in Hollywod resounds with the hooves of the horses, and the cheers of brilliantly clad folk.
For fashion lovers everywhere, the Henri Bendel stores now carry the Henri Bendel Cocktail Hat Collection by Ellen Christine Millinery, well within the mood of the moment. By taking the fast track to the Beverly Center, (http://www.beverlycenter.com/directory/henri_bendel), you can own one of these handmade fascinators for stepping out to the Polo fields, and beyond.