INSIDE LOOK: Millinery Workshop

Judy Bentinck is a London based couture milliner with an international client base and is one of the tutors on our Millinery Workshop.  We chat to Judy about her course, advice for breaking into the millinery world and Royal Ascot!

Who is your workshop targeted at and what should students expect to leave with by the end of their course?

The millinery workshop is aimed at beginners in hat making or those with some previous experience. It caters for students who are interested in millinery as a hobby, making for themselves and friends and family and also for people who intend to make it a career. All students will leave with at least 2 finished hats, usually more, but it depends on how fast they work. They will leave with the skills to continue making more hats and will know where to shop for appropriate materials. I recommend they buy my book Designing and Making Hats and Headpieces if they haven’t already got it. I also give lots of information on follow up courses.

How did you become a couture milliner and what is your advice for anyone wanting a career in millinery?

I was originally a textile designer and then a costume designer. I later trained with Rose Cory, the Queen Mother’s milliner and Royal warrant holder, in traditional couture milliner methods. Since I started in 2000, millinery has becoming increasingly popular as a career move, so my advice is, train well, develop your own style and have some really good photographs.

Royal Ascot is the millinery equivalent to the international shows. A parade of all the best and most elaborate creations around. Where do you get your inspiration for your Ascot designs and what advice would you give for choosing a hat for the races?

If I’m creating a bespoke piece for a client they will definitely want a standout piece but it has to match the outfit and suit them first and foremost. I have great fun suggesting and encouraging the client to wear a hat more outré than they normally would.

For my own designs the inspiration is all around! Nature , architecture, mathematics, films, history and more.  When I settle to design, a new themed collection, an image or an idea or colour can influence the direction, and off I go!

I have also made hats for promotional purposes, for example, creations such as an ice cream, a jug of Pimm’s, a milk carton!

Judy’s next Millinery Workshop’s are in July and August, with further dates throughout the year.  For further information please head to the Short Course website.

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