MILLINER PROFILE: ANA BELLA MILLINERY
What are your achievements as a business?
In February, I was invited to showcase my SS17 Collection during London Fashion Week. Ana Bella Millinery pieces were showcased to an audience of over 650 celebrities and fashion Icons in London.
I have also worked with renowned stylist Gok Wan showcasing racing Fashion in the UK, and have won several international awards in the UK, Dubai and Australia as well as showcasing at London Hat Week.
The awards among some, are Dubai World Cup Best Hat, Best Dressed and most elegant lady, Best Dress at Newmarket Ladies Day UK, and I have also been a top ten finalists in the last two years at the invitation only Melbourne Cup Millinery awards.
Where do you get inspiration from?
I often sit at my millinery desk thinking of how I can manipulate materials. I pick up different materials from antique stores, hardware stores and I like to experiment with the materials, heating it, folding, cutting and seeing how it reacts to certain elements.
I have been taught traditional millinery skills at the London College of Fashion with Philip Treacy’s workroom hands, but I love to use strange materials as well as the more conventional materials like straws.
I always have a shape in my mind for the hat that I have been thinking to make for a while, so I have to think about how that material will lend it self and work, engineering and structure are key ingredients to being successful in making a wearable piece. Experimenting, turning up the music in my studio, is my favourite part of the design process.
What are your favourite social media accounts that you follow?
I worked with UK Milliner Noel Stewart for a while in London and I love following his account, I also love to follow Australian Milliners Jill Humphries and Belinda Osborne making sure I keep in touch with home.
What do you love about millinery?
I love the fact it has no boundaries and one hat to the next can be very challenging and different. There are so many different materials you can play with, it’s never the same. I also love putting together an outfit, after creating a hat and showcasing it, to show off your style. I love a big reveal at a race day!
What’s an unknown fact about yourself?
I was a social worker with Mission Australia for many years, working with disadvantaged, kids in care, homeless men women and families in Far North Queensland. I love giving back and working with community. In the evenings I studied for my psychology degree as well as sewing hats, in a small room in my Cairns apartment before I moved to London and made Millinery my full time career. I miss working with people, so I volunteer for charities when I can- at the moment I’m helping a team of doctors with visa’s and organising travelling to third world Countries who don’t have access to specialised medical care.
What can your customers expect if they purchase from you?
Expect to stand out and be seen in an elegant manner. I have been lucky to have attended many international race days and have a lot of experience putting together a winning fashions outfit. I can advise clients what to wear and what to expect at most race days around the world like Royal Ascot, Dubai, Ireland and of course Australia. I often help my clients work on an outfit head to toe, for a winning outfit, or just a perfect ladies day out, it’s my favourite thing to do.
Briefly describe your ordering process and prices.
This year I will be hosting a VIP preview collection night where you can view and purchase my millinery in Melbourne, ahead of Spring Racing Carnival, date to be advised, please put yourself on my mailing list via email below for more information about this event.
During Melbourne Cup Spring Carnival I make my way to Melbourne studio. My prices reflect how many hours a piece needs to be created, sometimes a design process for a hat can take up to 3 months- such as the top ten award wining Mirror piece in 2015 which had over 400 hand cut mirror pieces. Ready to wear pieces start from $250.00 upwards, while bespoke from $290.00 depending on the hours and difficulty of the piece.
You can also purchase online through my website or contact me via email to order a bespoke piece. I have two studios, London and Melbourne which are open seasonally at peak times. I am also stocked at Melbourne store the Eternal hedonist, Ivy Jane millinery in Bendigo and on hat website www.lovehats.com which deliver internationally. You can pre order a bespoke piece of Millinery, we chat over Facebook or Skype about colours, or buy one ready to wear from my online store. It is best to pre order your piece, and then I make it from my Melbourne studio in Australia ready fro Spring Carnival time! I need about 3 weeks for bespoke orders- depending on the time of year.
What are your future business plans?
I can’t wait to come back home for Spring Carnival time this year and watch all the Myer fashion finalists, especially Stacey from my hometown of Cairns! I am also collaborating with some Australian designers and bloggers creating stand out outfits during the carnival which I can’t wait to reveal.
In 2018, I will be working with Gok Wan again on some projects, as well as exhibiting a collection at the Dubai World Cup 2018, of course Royal Ascot and the summer time parties in June in London… and maybe an invite to the Queens Summer Party at Buckingham Palace is also on the cards…. you will all just have to see it all unfold on instagram!
Where can people see/buy your designs?
It is best to contact me direct via email, for a bespoke piece. For ready to wear in Australia the stockists are best (see below), or you can email me to see what else I may have in stock, often they are not listed on my website.
Ana Bella Millinery website and contact details: https://www.anabellamillinery.co.uk/shop
Eternal Headonists Melbourne: https://www.theeternalheadonist.com/
Ivy jane – Bendigo: https://ivyjayne.com.au/product-category/milliners/anabella/
Love hats: Shipping Worldwide: https://www.lovehats.com/shop/women/contemporary-designers/designer/ana-bella-millinery/sort/popularity