It is not a secret that I adore wearing hats. I do not have a large collection, but I have a few gems and am always seeking out new ones. To wear a hat, in my eyes, elevates ones outfit. It creates a mood, and in my case an era to what might be a non- descriptive, though nice enough on it's own, outfit. Hats, along with other accessories such as jewelry, scarfs, purses and shoes all are like the cherry on top of a vanilla sundae. I not only like to wear hats and such I also love looking at photos of them ( I have a whole pinterest page devoted to them). I was lucky enough a while back to discover Savannah Parker's hats on Facebook and though a bit out my budget currently, I swoon over each and every photo she posts of her creations. Recently she has also been posting her dazzling jewelry collections as well!
I shared a while back just a small sampling of her creations here with other vintage photos of ladies in hats that I love, but today I have the extreme pleasure to devote the entire post to her. She has provided me with a large selection of photos and was kind enough to give me a short interview to share with you. I hope you will enjoy, spread the word and well the real hope is that you will buy one of her amazing creations to top off your next outfit. Now grab a cup of what makes you happy and settle in to read and shop!!
How did you decide to go into business for yourself?
I have been highly creative since I was old enough to hold artistic materials....and had a lovely Grandma who was an artist and encouraged me; she had a wonderful room just for us kids when we visited her---full of anything and everything to create with---paints, fabrics, papers, all kinds of cool stuff! She was quite an accomplished and talented painter in her own right....I cherish a couple of her paintings which I have inherited. My Grandpa from the other side of my family was highly artistic as well and did exquisite, meticulous work in his own chosen medium, so I guess I inherited it from both sides. I was lucky to grow up in a very cultured, European-centered home and was introduced to the arts at a very early age; I so cherish all that experience as it truly formed who I am and what my tastes came to be.
Why hats, and now jewelry?
Actually I started with the jewelry, as I wanted to have antique-style pieces that coordinated with the antique clothing I have in my collection, which I have often used in fashion shows over the years. I have loved and collected antique jewelry since I was a young girl so have always admired the forms and styles of times past....that goes for hats & all other accessories too.
Have you always been creative..if so from what age etc.?
My artistic ability was pretty evident from a very early age....and I started 1st grade at age four (skipping kindergarten) because I could read at age 3 and just devoured books ever since then. I distinctly remember having always been "art teachers pet" all through my school years--which was sometimes embarassing! I have eternally been an avid reader of everything associated with history, art, bios of famous people, etc. Have also always been a devotee of Masterpiece Theatre and all the wonderful BBC, Merchant/Ivory etc historically based movies and productions and the wonderful costuming of those.
How did you learn to make hats?
I have a college degree in Costume Studies and have made hats of all styles since a very early time.
How did you decide to do hats reminiscent of the 1920's and earlier?
I love the contemporary wearability of 20's fashions and hats---they are just so classic and timeless. I guess I was particularly inspired by watching movie bios of Coco Chanel and also "The House of Eliott"---my fave BBC production about two sisters who start a fashion house in the 1920's....I was so impressed by the millinery in that series and for some time I'd wanted to try to create things of that era and style because I knew they were styles that modern people could wear as well so they'd have a wide appeal.
Is the jewelry new to you, or have you done that for awhile as well?
Have dabbled with it over the years & also have collected real antique pieces for a very long time, but only started making it "in earnest" about three years ago.
What is your best selller?
I think that would have to be my 20's Egyptian Revival pieces and my mermaid-themed rings...people have been just wild about those!
The cloche hats as well, and now my "Downton Abbey" style things since that series has become so phenomenally popular....also the fact that the 20s inspired movie "The Artist" was an Oscar winner and "The Great Gatsby" remake is another 1920's-set film coming out this year with 20's styles already showing up in major contemporary fashion collections ie. Ralph Lauren, etc. I love it--am so glad 1920's style is hot this year, because it looks good on everyone!
Do you find that you have a large client base, or is it small and building up speed?
It's quite large actually, and that keeps me working at least 12 hrs a day! I find that the UK and Australian clients particularly love the hats, and the USA clients especially love the mermaid & Egyptian style pieces.
Who and what inspire you...how do you come up with ideas...is there a certain creative process?
I have an extremely large collection of gorgeous vintage materials, laces, silks, absolutely beautiful priceless stuff that could probably fill a small warehouse.....just looking at some of them, trying different things together and seeing how they might coordinate, is inspiring in itself. Plus I have two beautiful studios right here (one for jewelry and one for sewing/fabrics) that make it possible for me to work at home in my own little fabulous environment...what could be better than spending every day with work that you absolutely love in the comfort of your own space? :-) I have a wonderful, darling husband who makes it possible for me to have this ideal work environment...we've been happily married for over three years now....and he's very artistic and talented in his own field himself so he completely understands my obsession/passion with all of this and my working for 12+ hours a day! Though I've previously had very successful artistic endeavors, I've never had this kind of personal happiness to go along with it, so this is really the best time of my life....thanks be to the Universe! I never forget to give gratitude for every day because I really know what that means.
What are your current goals and your long term goals for your business?
I've always believed that any artistic effort has to grow, change, try new things etc.---or it becomes stagnant....and "stagnant" equals "dead" to me, so I want to keep evolving, changing, adding....it's a neverending process. There's never enough hours in the day for me, in fact I wish I could just borrow other people's hours that they're wasting....lol!
I also love restoring antique pieces to their past glory so you'll see more of that in the future as well as my own original creations...I consider the exquisite handwork and designs of the past something to be highly valued and preserved, because I believe we'll never see that level of craftsmanship again, so a large part of my efforts are as a "custodian of the past". All those incredible unsung and unrecognized craftswomen of the past who created exquisite antique elements of fashion really inspire me to preserve and pay homage to their work....they weren't "known" or appreciated for the phenomenal handwork they did back then, and probably were paid less than nothing for doing it....but there's a few of us who admire and marvel at what they accomplished...and want to preserve it!
Plus, I have more than a lifetime's worth of gorgeous materials to use so that keeps me inspired! All that plus the fact I simply cannot stand to have idle hands...I *have* to be working on something at all times...it's been that way since I was a child...and right through raising two kids totally by myself as a single mom; they always knew Mom's work was important and still they managed to turn out as great adults.
Put A Hat On It....
|Green, Gold and Coral|
|Lapis Blue Velvet|
|Downton Abby Pink and Blue|
|Yellow and Cream|
|Aqua and Peach|
|Cognac and Raspberry|
|Downton Abby Garden Party|
|Downton Abby Lace and Mauve|
|Ecru and Pink|
|Aqua Fire Brooch|
|Patriot Collection, Created for|
|Prince Poppycock, Contestant on|
America's Got Talent 2010
|Medieval Brooches Created for Prince Poppycock|
How & Where's