The beautiful man

The beautiful man

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Rachel Trevor-Morgan - An Interview

After my diversion to the most wonderful museum in the world, I was back to St James' to meet the elegant, inspirational and down to earth milliner to The Queen and many more Rachel Trevor-Morgan.

Rachel's atelier is hidden down a quirky alley running parallel to St James' Street and backs onto Lock's hatters. As you go up the windy stairs it really does feel like going back in time when craft skills were revered and milliners were more abundant. Ushered into the showroom by Rachel's lovely assistant I sat amongst a garden of exquisite head wear, trying to stop myself from picking them all up and looking closely at all the workmanship! Stunning, simple and all collectable.

I hadn't met Rachel before though we had been in touch regarding the last Hat Works exhibition and the Worshipful Company of Feltmakers Competition so I was looking forward to finding out more about her and her millinery career. Rachel has been in millinery for 22 years, I loved the fact that she began as she and her friend at the age of 18 came to London with this idea that they could make Clown costumes and sell them. Thankfully for the millinery world this didn't take off and she contacted lots of milliners to see if she could get work experience with them, renowned London milliner Graham Smith took her on and she began in his workroom.

Rachel talks with reverence of her time with Graham Smith and how he embedded her passion for the importance of good workmanship above all else and that a hat or headpiece should always flatter the wearer. Working in his workroom meant these skills are without question though she felt she needed the skill of working with a client, which she went on to do with Philip Somerville, honing her skills for setting up her own label. Rachel only makes bespoke, couture pieces for clients. Each year she creates a collection taking reference of the seasons colours and textures, these are the starting point for the customers that visit the atelier for a consultation.

Rachel Trevor-Morgan in her atelier
One of the things that I had to ask Rachel was what it was like to be synonymous with making hats for Her Majesty The Queen. I loved that she walks passed the palace on her way to work each day and still pinches herself that she visits there and that she makes hats for Her Majesty. Rachel is a wonderful advocate for millinery its place as an artisan craft and the importance of ensuring these skills are passed onto new generations of milliners, even more so as milliners businesses are no longer large concerns and able to offer apprenticeships. I left feeling even more inspired to continue my own mission to show how important the making of hats is and that it isn't some hobbyist craft that doesn't fit within fashion, couture and art and design world.

  Three of Rachel's hats are in Hot Heads - Inspirational British Milliners at Hat Works until January 2013 and you can listen to the full interview.

No comments:

Post a Comment