Forest Flame Millinery

Friday, June 1, 2012

Butterfly brings luck, happiness and riches

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.

That's Irish blessing for you. My daughter is half-irish, so besides making soda bread and all things potato for the family, I know a few irish blessing (and quite a few types of cursing too).

When I saw this sculpture by Manolo Valdez (1942 Spain), what comes to mind was Philip Treacy's Butterfly hat for Alexander McQueen.

Manolo Valdez 1942 Spain

Philip Treacy's hat for Alexander McQueen

Seriously, this was never going to be a wearable hat. But Treacy is such a master in his creations. He is more than a milliner, he is a master sculptor too. I can never figure out how he attached the butterflies such that they looked like they were perched on the model's head. Here's another two Treacy's butterfly-hats which I find kind-of wearable.

Princess B wore this during Royal Ascot many years ago, before her pretzel hat. This gal is definitely very adventurous when it comes to hats. 

In case you are not familiar with Philip Treacy, here's a pic. He is one of the most famous milliner in UK (most say he is the most famous, but I think Stephen Jones is just as famous). And it's true that half the guests who attended the Royal Weddings wore his hats. He made hats mainly for royalty (not just UK alone) and celebrities. Mortals like me cannot never afford a hat that cost 2000-3000 pounds.

Victoria's hat to the Royal wedding was a Phlilp Treacy. I really like this hat and at one time, was about to order the hat block. But I did not because I wanted a saucer block more. 

 I may have digressed. Back to butterflies. Look at SJ Parker's hat. It's a PT's and see how the butterflies were made to look like they were flying instead of being attached. By the way, it is this picture that got me really interested in hats. And the catalyst is the video of the famous union jack top hat video from Stephen Jones Millinery that pushed me out of my comfort zone and travelled all the way from Singapore to London to learn millinery.

Milliners (not just PTreacy) have been using butterflies in their hats. Just google search and you can see hundreds of hat designs with butterflies. No milliners has monopoly over the use of butterflies. That was why I could not understand why someone passed a comment at MAAD that my hat is just like so-and-so. Was he implying that I copy? I was sewing butterflies on a saucer hat while manning my stall at Red Dot Museum and this gentleman told his lady friend that I am making a hat just like ABC's hat. I didn't hear the name of the person for if I have, I can google search the hat and see it for myself. 

If you look at Valdez's sculpture and PTreacy's hat for McQueen, you see some similarities too. PT may have gotten his inspiration from Valdez. As for me, my butterfly hat ideas come after a visit to The Orchid Garden at Botanical Garden. It was two monarch butterflies perched on an orchid plant and I had a photo of them. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to post the picture and I promise never to upload to internet. Nothing mysterious about it. I did teacher work attachment at The Orchid Garden and had access to new hybrids that have not been named or published or shown to public. These hybrids are grown and taken care of at NPark until celebrities or famous people visit Singapore. A new hybrid will be named after them. Just recently Elton John had a new hybrid named after him - 'The Doritaenopsis Sir Elton John'.

I have decided to stop attending craft market and bazaar until September. I have now 2 bridal hats to do and one is for a friend. Another will be a challenge because it was free form and I don't know if I can twist the crin and make a similar velvet flower in another colour. Check back if you want to see my hats with butterflies. I hope my butterflies hat will bring me more luck.

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