Book + Profession Match: The Milliner Collection
My husband has know the Le Mura family since childhood, but I only had the pleasure of meeting Angelica recently, at a 40th where we bonded over a shared love of blog reading and children’s books…all the important things in life.
Angelica is a milliner (connect with her here) and has had a lifelong love affair with hats, so when I saw her posting recently about the 2016 National Simultaneous Storytime book, ‘I Got a Hat’, I pounced on her and said, ‘Oh! Do you want to write me a list of your fav hat books?’. She did better than that. Here is her story…and her fav hat books! Thanks so much for joining us here Angelica.
To purchase books, click on title links or cover images.
I inherited my love of hats from my grandmother. She lived in an era when an outfit wasn’t complete without a hat and, being incredibly talented in all crafty pursuits, she was able to make them herself. While living in London, I decided to enrol in a millinery course and from the very first lesson, I was completely hooked. I would leave my very corporate day job and head off to college at night to learn this beautiful traditional trade. I was fortunate to learn from some of the best in the business, including Rose Cory, the Queen Mother’s milliner. My favourite thing about millinery (especially racewear millinery) is that you are literally wearing a piece of art on your head that often serves no purpose other than to make the wearer look and feel utterly fabulous! It’s the frivolity that I adore.
Needless to say, whenever I see a book with a hat theme, I have to have it. Here are some new and old from our bookshelf:
Happy Birthday Madame Chapeau by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts tells the story of lonely shy milliner in lovely rhyming verse. Each year on her birthday she puts on her best dress and birthday bonnet to dine alone at the finest restaurant in Paris – but this year her birthday bonnet is swiped by a bird on her way to dinner! Various suitors offer Madame Chapeau their hats but she cannot accept – she knows each hat is perfectly made for its owner. Finally, Madame Chapeau finds the perfect fit in an unexpected hat. It may not be fancy but it has been made with love – and Madam Chapeau finds that she is no longer alone. This book was illustrated by a former milliner and it certainly shows. The attention to detail is glorious – especially when Madame Chapeau is in her workroom, amidst all the wooden hat blocks and chaos. Famous hats from history are depicted beautifully and even non-hat enthusiasts may recognise some (THAT hat worn by Princess Beatrice at THAT royal wedding!).
Clara Button and The Magical Hat Day by Amy De La Haye and Emily Sutton holds a special place in my heart. I bought this book from my favourite bookshop in London, Nomad Books on the Fulham Road (love independent bookshops!). Clara owns a hat that once belonged to her grandmother. I too have one of my Gran’s hats which now has pride of place in my workroom sitting atop one of her old wooden hat blocks. When Grandma’s hat is damaged, Clara sets off to find someone who can fix it – a milliner at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. It really is the illustrations that make me love this book. It is so beautifully illustrated, taking in various London landmarks and the V&A itself (anyone familiar with the V&A Museum will get extra pleasure from these pages). An extra note – this book is published by V&A Publishing which helps support the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design.
I Got This Hat by Jol and Kate Temple, illustrated by Jon Foye is the latest hatty tale to join our collection. It was chosen as the 2016 National Simultaneous Storytime book with schools, daycare centres and libraries across Australia joining in for one big hat-wearing read-along! Simply written, this book is great for younger children and shows how much a hat can tell us about its wearer – their job, where they are from. I love reading this book with lots of hat props – any excuse to pull out a load of hats! I have to say, my husband (the other chief bedtime story reader in our household) was not fussed on this book – “there’s no story!”. No husband, there’s not really – but there are lots of hats!!
MEET THE MILLINER – BIO
With a lifelong passion for hats, inherited from her grandmother, Angelica Nave began her millinery training in 2007 at the London College of Fashion. This was followed by a BTEC in Millinery Design (Distinction) at Kensington and Chelsea College. Angelica learnt under the tutelage of renowned milliners Rose Cory (Royal Warrant holder and the late Queen Mother’s milliner), Ian Bennett (past winner of UK Hat Designer of the Year), the late Andrew Bristow and Caroline Morris. Angelica’s headpieces have been seen on the racecourses at prestigious meets such as Royal Ascot and the Melbourne Cup.
After seven years in London, Angelica returned to Australia where she currently designs and hand-makes bespoke pieces in her hometown of Brisbane.
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