Thursday, January 31, 2008

Couture Milliner Philip Treacy Inspires Houston Students

All I am saying is... Houston Community College is coming up!
Philip Traecy not only had a personal appearance at Neiman Marcus but also at HCC!
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend due to being so busy sewing. However, my friend
Ashleigh was there to get questions answered and polaroids taken!

How did you get into this field?
When I was 22yrs old I was attending London's Royal College of Art and i was a guinea pig for a millinery course. For a student project I was asked to make green hats for Harrods and later dropped them to Tatler magazine director, Michael Roberts and style editor, Isabella Blow. Isabella had something different about her, the high english are a bit unusual. She looked like she was going to a cocktail party (this was during the whole pantsuit look) and she was in a lacy dress. This look is now common place , but then it was daring. A few weeks later I had been getting calls from a women but no one seemed to no who it was that was calling. Finally Isabella got me on the phone and told me that she was getting married and wanted something different. She was going to have a medievel theme and wanted a head dress. Yes so, think of camelot. I was kind of nervous when I presented her with the "veil" and she had two friends with her to decide on whether or not it would work. One was Manolo Blahnik, I didn't know who he was at the time I was just hoping that she would like it! After her wedding I thought, "'Im going to miss her" and then I received a phone call from Issy and she was on her honeymoon asking if I would create a piece for another event. We became instant friends. "

(Isabella then introduced Treacy to Karl Largerfeld, Valentino, Manolo Blahnik, Alexander McQueen,etc. When he finished university he was approached by Karl Largerfeld and Valentino to create a line for their collections.)

Karl looks frightening but isn't. It's the stiff look people are afraid of. He's quite personable, highly intelligent and talks that way in every language. If he asks you about something you can't say, "what? huh? what was that?" You'll just look like an idiot.

On Isabella Blow:
Isabella wore hats like she wasn't wearing one at all. She could
walk into a room of 2,000 people (all gawking) wearing a giant
sparkling lobster atop her head and it seemed like she didn't
know it was there.

She wasn't showy, she was misinterpreted. She got confidence from
hats. If she liked a show or a look during a show she would clap alone.

I admired her spirit and conviction, it encouraged me intensely.
She called us Harold and Maude, although she wasn't that much older
than me. She always referred to herself as a 90 yr old women. Quite silly.

Isabella was a great catalyst of young people who needed a chance. There are people in our enviorment that can help but don't.

Isabella Blow is the most incredible person I have ever met.

What are some of the wierdest materials you've used? Any favorites?

Anything and everything. The possibilities are endless. My main goal is that the materials have to look weightless.
I do love egret feathers, but they are illegal. I love them. They move beautifully. I use turkey, ostrich and chicken feathers.

How did you come about the unicorn logo?

In university, I saw a unicorn in a book and just liked it.
It's a magical creature and hats are magical.

How he decided to pursue millinery:
I won a scholarship at school and then met John Galliano. We had an interest in hats. I had an interest because no one was. Hats were associated with old ladies, I thought that was absurd. Wearing hats 20-30 years ago was to conform, now it's to rebel. Today I make hats for young people whose parents didn't wear hats. It's funny how it has reversed. I make them for really conservative people. They will never wear an unusual garment but will go the extra mile for the hat. By the way I have never been to Houston. I have always been told people in Houston don't wear hats. Now they do!(as he laughs).

How do you attach the hats?
You have to understand the the limits of gravity.

How he feels about fashion:

Fashion is an illusion. It's good, it's slightly different than what you think. It's otherwordly. The point of doing fashion shows is to make people dream, people come to them, they don't know why they come but they do. Fashion also has a reputation for being vacuous. People who do things in the industry are great. People who are hanging on the edge aren't and they don't seem to have much talent. They did but they're losing it. One other thing. You need to be diplomatically honest when selling your hats or items. If you don't they'll look stupid and so will you.

Do you ever wear one of your hats?
Does Karl Lagerfeld wear his dresses? I'd feel like an idiot wearing a hat because I'm a hat designer. If I was standing in front of you wearing one of my hats you'd think "yes we get it, you're a hat designer." I do wear hats occasionally, weather wise.

Check out the Philip Treacy site to view his past projects and current collection.
Photo and Interview Source: Ashleigh at Champagne And Fried Chicken

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