A Hat Trick

Spring is my favourite time of year. Not only are the blossoms in bloom, but spring racing is on the mind. 

MVM Millinery, is the newly launched millinery line by my best friend, Stephanie Martin. Just in time for racing season, her aesthetic and designs are modern, fresh, fun and colourful. Each piece is meticulously created by hand and is unique. There is never one piece the same.

I'm her biggest fan. It is no joke that every time she creates something new I say "That is my favourite!" I already own two of her pieces, a boater which you can see on my Instagram, and an emerald green turban I purchased for Caulfield Cup.

You know you own something special when you are wearing a MVM piece. Her pieces add a breath of fresh air to the spring racing market.

Continue on to read my interview with Steph...

MVM Millinery Lei Lady Lei Blog
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What is your hat making process?

It usually starts with a rough idea when I'm driving to and from work. Being stuck in traffic is an excellent time to run ideas through my mind over and over!

Thereafter, I will sketch the idea and start working on sourcing the materials needed. From then on, it's usually quite straight forward. I'll block the straw at night, leaving it to stiffen overnight. I'll normally trim the hat the next day, and put another piece on the block that night to start the routine over again tomorrow. Once you get into a rhythm it's quite cathartic.

What are the upcoming trends for this season?

I'm not an authority on trends. But Racewear Carousel has done a fabulous summary of the styles expected to dominate this season.

I'm currently loving a casual boater hat and turban style hats. A few of my pieces feature in her blog post.

How long does it take to complete a piece?

It all depends on the style and materials. People are often amazed at how expensive fabulous hats are priced. But unfortunately, there are few shortcuts with an artisan product. Millinery involves a lot of hand stitching, attention to detail and reworking materials until the perfect balance is struck.

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What materials do you enjoy working with?

I love working with straw and leather. For trims, it can vary. Treasure hunts at Camberwell Sunday Market are an endless source of trinkets and unusual materials that I use for trimming a hat. Old earrings, necklaces... I have recently found a beautifully carved ivory fan that was being sold from a deceased estate. It's 'under the bed' now. This is where I hide all the items I want to save for later creations!


What hats do you recommend for what style/face shape?

If you have a narrow face, go for a wide-brimmed hat. If you have a round race, go for something with height and angles. I recently saw the impressive Stephen Jones speak at the National Gallery of Victoria as part of The House of Dior exhibit. His advice was that as a women ages, she should preference navy, greys, brown and avoid black. It turns out, black ages us...and no one wants that!

Other than the race course, where else would you love seeing people wear millinery/hats?

Hats are perfect for events like the polo or day time festivals. Hats are an extension of our style. And who can forget weddings! Bring the hat back to wedding attire!!

Where do you see MVM Millinery in 5 years?

Oh gosh, I can't think that far ahead! I'm just enjoying the creative flow. I find so much joy in seeing others wearing a piece that I have made by hand with love.

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Lei xx