I have a life-long love of books and believe one can never own too many. One of my favorite topics is fashion (history, culture & design) and my sizable collection of millinery and hat books falls into that category. I know books are a popular gift during the holiday season, so thought this would be a timely post and perhaps spark some ideas for your wish list!
My recommended reads & reference books for milliners will be divided into 3 categories: magazines, hat-making, and hat-makers.
One of the best ways to stay on top of trends within your industry is by reading periodicals. I know of only two print magazines that are specific to the millinery trade and both are published quarterly.
The Hat Magazine arrives in my mail box 4x a year. It is published in the UK. Founded in 1999 by hat retailers Carole & Nigel Denford, the magazine serves an international audience of hat buyers, retailers, designers, hatters, milliners and enthusiasts. An issue typically includes the latest hat news, workroom techniques, trade show reviews, interviews and an industry directory.
The Hat Magazine was recently re-vamped with a new cover design and slightly different layout after current owners Piet de Meijer & Elly Stemerdink took the helm in 2017. The current subscription rate for delivery to a US address is £67 ($85).
Cover Hat: Sophie Beale
Hatlines Magazine is the other print publication. Same editor as the above (Elly Stemerdink) but slightly different focus. It is published by the Dutch Hat Association and the subscription is included with your annual dues to the organization. € 65 ($75). The magazine is published in two languages: Dutch and English. Features include interviews, trends, runway/race day reports, and an events diary.
Cover Hat: Wies Mauduit
For those of you who love receiving a digital magazine in your inbox, try HATalk. It's a monthly e-magazine packed with wonderful articles, a "Hat of the Month" feature, tutorials, and more. Your subscription of $60* includes access to ALL of the back issues AND there is also a 7-day free trial if you want to browse a few issues before subscribing. Subscribers receive discounts from industry partners including Parkin Fabrics (UK), Plooij Hats & Materials (NL), and Humboldt Haberdashery (US).
* SPECIAL OFFER * Enter coupon code "laura" to save 20% off your HATalk subscription. No expiration date and the discount is automatically applied to annual renewals. 20% off forever!
Cover Hat: Rebecca Share
Cover Hat: Milli Starr
If you would like to add some how-to millinery books to your shelves, I have a few favorites. I'll start with the one that is well-loved (in the sense of The Velveteen Rabbit). My textbook for the millinery certificate program at FIT was Classic Millinery Techniques by Ann Albrizio. Originally published in 1998, the hat styles are definitely dated, but the principles are sound. Learn pattern-making for sewn hats like berets and newsboy caps and all about buckram including blocking, building and covering frames. There's also a nice intro to millinery workroom tools and terminology.
Albrizio's book does NOT cover blocking felts and straws. If you'd like to work on those skills, I recommend Hats! Make Classic Hats and Headpieces in Fabric, Felt, and Straw by Sarah Cant. The book includes 13 projects and she guides you through each step of the process, from preparing materials to trimming. Excellent photographs.
If you love vintage hats and want to try your hand at reproducing some styles from the past, search for a copy of How to Make and Trim Your Own Hats by Vee Powell. Published in 1944, this is definitely my favorite vintage millinery guide. And it has adorable illustrations! Principles of design, patterns, blocking and trimming basics.
There are some absolutely beautiful books about modern milliners. These are art books full of eye candy for anyone who loves fashion and photography. The over-sized bright pink edition of Philip Treacy is a trove of inspiring images.
Daphne Guinness for VOGUE Italia, 2008
There are quite a few books about Philip Treacy and they're all lovely. And Isabella Blow. You should really know who she was.
Stephen Jones is the other milliner who has several books amongst his credits. Stephen Jones: Souvenirs, published in 2016, is a charming retrospective of his career from the early club days to the couture runways of Dior in Paris. I also really enjoy flipping through the pages of Stephen Jones & The Accent of Fashion. It offers a peek into his creative process and the collaborative process with brands, celebrities and artists.
It was really difficult to narrow this list to 3 per category, 9 recommendations total. Do you have a favorite millinery book or publication? Add a comment and let us know!
Note: If you can, shop for books at your local independent bookstore. If a title is not in-stock, they can usually order it for you. If you do shop Amazon, go through smile.amazon.com. Choose a worthy non-profit and a percentage of all of your purchases will be donated to them by Amazon.