It all started just over one year ago (cue ghoulish background music). First, there was a Royal wedding. Then came the wedding guests, which led to the inevitable crazy hat parade. More often than not they turned out to be horrendously ill-advised head sculptures – most certainly not fit for a queen – as opposed to actual hats. However, some ladies, such as the ever stylish Mrs Beckham, got it spot on. Her classy attempt, a simple yet inventive little black number, temporarily redeemed the reputation of the hat on the day, so all was not lost.
Soon after the art of millinery was thrust back into the spotlight, no doubt in part due to the popularity of the Royal nuptials, hats have been big news on planet fashion. So much so that Grazia magazine created a competition to find Britain’s next generation of avant-garde hat designers called, ‘Grazia’s Hat Factor’. Out of almost 100 hopefuls, the panel of judges – which included the two main Brits synonymous with innovative headgear design, Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy – managed to whittle down the number to six runners-up and the winner, Sophie Beale. I was lucky enough to meet Emma Yeo, a Central Saint Martins graduate and one of the runners up at the Forward PR autumn/winter press day, where she was more than happy to chat and show me her impressive creations. They were formed from laser cut styled wood and plastic with the skeleton like structure often encased in duchess silk.
Yeo created her collection in collaboration with up and coming London based designer Corrie Nielsen. Corrie has received a lot of attention due to her recent London Fashion Week autumn/winter 2012 show (which fellow blogger Katie attended in February). That collection was also showcased at the Forward event and I was able to grab a few minutes talking to the talented lady. Despite winning the coveted ‘Fashion Fringe’ award back in 2010, this is fast becoming her break out collection. Entitled ‘Vestarium Scotium’, it came about as a result of Nielsen drawing inspiration from her roots which after some investigating, she discovered were Scottish. The tartan and traditional Scots dress influence is plain to see; here are two of our favourite pieces.
The Florida-born designer told how she was thrilled about the positive reaction she had received from Scotland. It was recently announced that she has been nominated for an award by the prestigious Scottish Fashion Awards for ‘Best Use of Scottish Fabric by an international Designer’, up against the likes of Mulberry. Due to take place next month, the winner will be determined by a group of judges including the extremely influential fashion writer Sarah Mower. As the British Fashion Council’s Ambassador for Emerging Talent, if you want to get anywhere in the industry then, to put it simply, you need this lady on your side. Here’s wishing Corrie all the best.