A head for hats with Katherine Elizabeth Millinery

A head for hats with Katherine Elizabeth Millinery

We love Katherine Elizabeth Millinery designs for making a statement at an event such as Royal Ascot, a wedding or garden party. Katherine also teaches millinery masterclasses: a wonderful team event experience at an away day.

Katherine Elizabeth Millinery is an award winning milliner who has created pieces for Dior and John Galliano as well as for theatre & film and has now set up her own Millinery House; perfect for break out activities for corporate events – we think quite a few of our clients would love to make their their own hats whilst sipping champagne and eating sweet treats!  We spoke to Katherine to find out more:

Katherine Elizabeth Millinery
Katherine Elizabeth Millinery
Katherine Elizabeth Millinery

What made you decide to get into millinery?

I studied fashion at the Institute of Art & Design and at the end of my last year. A milliner came from Frederick fox, he was a millinery to the Queen Mother at the time. She showed me an amazing hat that she had cast from rocks, I was instantly hooked. I then went on to work for Stephen Jones and Catherine Delaney in theatre, film and fashion.

What is your first memory of style that really drew your attention?

Philip Treacy really drew my attention at the beginning, I absolutely loved his sculptural creations, absolutely amazing! He made some wonderful hats for big celebrities and then went on to create for Alexander McQueen my other favourite designer.

You’ve created some amazing pieces for fashions show, including Dior. What’s it like being part of a big event?

I created for Dior whilst I worked for Stephen Jones. He has always made hats for Dior and I was privileged to work on some of the pieces as well as hats for Galliano’s own shop in Paris. It’s great fun working on big projects but also can be quite stressful, you have to make sure everything is perfect and there can be a lot of details to look into.

Where do you look for inspiration when designing hats?

I come from the country so nature seems to influence my hats a lot, I love to put organic shapes into the Royal Ascot collection however I also love the city so Architecture features a lot in my designs.


Out of the whole process involved from concept to creation and then someone wearing your hat what is the best moment?

The exciting moment is meeting the client but the best moment is the reaction you get once they have tried it on, they are usually giggly and excited about wearing it and that’s fantastic. I always worry before I see a client but I think a lot of artists think like that because they have put so much of themselves in the design process, it’s wonderful to see the client happy.

What are your favourite fabrics/materials to work with and where do you source your materials from?

I love working with sinamay, this is a straw fabric made from banana leaves from the Philippines.

What is the most extravagant headpiece you’ve ever made?

I made one for a client, who needed a hat for the Bath Races; she wanted it to be a meter high and have three stripes. I also added Swarovski crystals, gold dust and feathers: absolutely extravagant!


Tell us about your Creative Couture Hatter Parties…we think they would be wonderful for team building events. What can people expect?

Oh yes our Creative Couture packages are great for team-building events or corporate hospitality. It breaks the ice between co-workers or clients. No experience of sewing or design is needed as my team of expert millinets allow you to relax and indulge in the fabrics whilst creating your own amazing headpiece. These highly acclaimed events last between 2-3 hours and can be arranged in a venue of your choice or one of the venues in our portfolio.It’s great fun and informative, perfectly English, especially with champagne and afternoon tea, in a luxury venue such as the Langham Hotel. We are always really busy from January to June because of all the racing events and summer parties!

Hats are in vogue for all sorts of socialite events but where else would you like to see people wearing millinery?

Definitely at Royal Ascot in June as well as Cheltenham, the Epsom Derby, Henley Regatta, weddings, the Royal Garden party. People are wearing hats a lot more now so you often see people wearing them on a day-to-day-basis as well as to special events and evening functions.

As a presenter on BBC’s Royal Ascot Ladies Day you were tasked with making a hat live on air. How did you manage to distil such a time consuming art into something quick suitable for the TV?

It was a bit of a challenge, I had to work out what the quickest thing would be to make. Feathers can be quite quick and real affective so I created all the time consuming pieces before we went live. We could then put it all together quickly, however I also showed the blocking process so viewers could have a go at home.

What advice would you give to someone looking to follow in your footsteps and become a milliner- would you have any tips for someone looking to enter the craft?

It’s quite a hard market to get into because you need to build up a customer base but you must keep going. The designers that succeed are the ones that persevere. Consistency and perseverance are key, as well as building a relationship with clients, shops, stylists and other designers in your area. I found that most of my clients come from word of mouth, designers, makeup artists and stylists recommend me. You can also join my Inspiring Creative Women community because through it I help creative people follow their dreams. We have a free success manual on the website and a private Facebook group so please join, it’s totally free and there to help.

What are your aspirations for your designs in the future?

About 6 months ago I moved from my studio into my first shop in the iconic Oxo Tower boutique. I would like to expand the shop in the future and grow this side of the business as well as millinery events. I also teach millinery privately and would like to produce some online courses. I also want to expand my celebrity portfolio and create hats for the Royal Family.

If you’d like to arrange your own Katherine Elizabeth Millinery masterclass for an event do get in touch with the team and we’d be happy to help you host your own millinery event. You can also find out more information about Katherine Elizabeth Millinery on her website here

At Evolve we regularly share news about latest venues, styles and events on our blog and social media. You can visit our blog here and follow us at @evolveevents.

To get more ideas or help with your event talk to the team on 020 7610 2808 or email info@evolve-events.com