Milliner Justin Smith Esquire on Hatwalk, one of the Mayor’s Surprises this summer, which will see central London become a catwalk of hats for four days …
London has always been a huge source of inspiration to my work. In fact, each headpiece within my Shade collection is named after the Soho streets surrounding my studio at the time.
The history and architecture that makes the landscape of our city so diverse and exciting continues to ignite a feeling of pride and excitement inside me. When I see the amazing feats the London skyline has acquired over the last 500 years or so, it inspires me to push the boundaries on what can be achieved in millinery.
My millinery career began in 2000 following a two-year Millinery MA at the Royal College of Art. I am, and always will be a stickler for craftsmanship. Millinery is an art, a traditional craft that should be respected and executed to the high standard it deserves.
Over the past twelve years I have had the pleasure of working with some of the world’s leading designers and have embarked on many exciting adventures since. The Hatwalk project has however, presented me with my biggest and possibly most fearsome client to date, Queen Victoria.
Having uttered the famous words ‘we are not amused’ on more than one occasion, the pressure was on to create a headpiece fitting for our longest standing monarch to date. The name 'Victoria' means ‘Victory’, which in Greek Mythology was personified as a winged goddess, renowned for her strength, speed and of course victory.
As all eyes point to London during the Olympic Games, I wanted to create a headpiece for my statue that not only depicted her strength of character as our monarch but also gave a nod to the dedicated athletes competing for their countries this summer.
From 30 July to 2 August, 20 famous central London statues are modelling terrific titfers designed by some of the world’s leading milliners.
Find out more at: www.molpresents.com/hatwalk