Category Archives: On the move to NYFW in September 2015

Stress doesn’t go with this hat

Time has flown in 2015. Since my last blog we survived Broome Cup week, my 2015 collection parade at the Broome Turf Club and more recently, my solo Hats by Felicity New York Fashion Week runway show.

I don’t know where to begin with an update so I’ll start with the the biggest challenge which was the lead up to the NYFW show, and which included the majority of my collection being held by U.S. customs; only to be released the same day that I arrived into the U.S.

This stress along with preparations for leaving work on a month’s annual leave, co-ordinating a show in the Big Apple from the remote Kimberley township of Broome, being filmed for a documentary and wanting to make the ultimate plans for a reunion of friends into NYC, as well as the uncertainty of the hats being released in time for the show, certainly enabled me to fit into the RMW jeans that were previously too small.  However, lets be honest, not a lot of good comes from too much stress. Everything came together, of course, which made me annoyed at myself for getting so stressed. And everything was made all the easier by the trooper group of friends right there by my side.

I am always so grateful for the magnificent groups of friends I have and one of my most favourite pastimes, apart from creating beautiful headwear, is introducing my fabulous friends to my fabulous friends – nothing makes me happier. No matter what age we find ourselves there is always room and reason for new friendships to form; each friendship bringing something wonderful and new into our lives.

Life for me is about happiness and good friends bring wonderful experiences, strong support and lots of bubbles and fun. You can imagine the fun we had with 17 of us travelling from different parts of Australia to reunite in NYC for the Hats by Felicity Show.

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Arrival bubbles in the limo of fun

You can also imagine the wonderful support I had with everything from sourcing models dresses, to organising special dinners and after party venues, bubbles and fun. There was absolutely NO excuse for me to be stressed with everyone pitching in and ensuring no job was left undone and I take this moment to thank all my precious friends, with all my heart.

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Finding the models dresses was made a fun challenge for our first day in NYC. We split into five groups of two and went different directions of Manhattan with the general description of a preferred style of dress to find. We liaised via a Facebook thread which meant finding internet range was part of the game as well. The challenge turned into a competition after one team found the dress – it was then up to us all to source 20 of this particular style in very small sizes, from outlets across Manhattan. The competition was fierce and prizes awarded to all teams; the first four for returning to base with the dress, and the fifth for getting lost and ending up in Brooklyn.

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The Condo dress sourcing teams – ready to go!

With dresses sourced and shoes hired, my great friend Susan, from Benalla Victoria and I headed to the models fittings, for which we didn’t realise was also a models casting. This task I was not ready for. Models were asleep in the hallway leading to the penthouse suite and it wasn’t till I was stepping over them that I realised they were all there to be cast for my show. Such a different experience to last year, when only seven turned up for the fittings, here I was stepping over more than 30 hopefuls lining the hallways and it was my choice to whom would stay.

This was so difficult. My instant thought was I wanted to race home and make more hats so that everyone could be involved. I really depended on Susan, as those who know me know I want everyone to be happy. It was like drafting cattle. On instruction, each girl strut her stuff towards me, with hopeful eyes staring right at me. Some girls were absolute stand outs for the show but the majority seemed to melt into one as I leaned back to Susan, behind me, for her reassuring call.

After what seemed an eternity, we had the required 20 models chosen for the show. They were fitted for the dresses (of course all wanting to wear the size two) and fitted for the shoes. We took a photo of each and our casting ordeal was done. Susan and I spent hours the next day, matching models to headpiece by photo and in the end, we were happy with our work.

With the collection now finally arrived and the few minor repairs carried out, the models chosen, dressed and allocated headpieces, I was now ready for the Hats by Felicity NYFW solo show. And with a few days till show time, I thought I’d explore the sights of New York City. That was, until the condo that we had rented had the power cut off by the NYC power company because the owner hadn’t paid his electricity bill! Yes, the seven floor very expensive condo we had rented with lift that was oh so exciting before we arrived, turned a little sour when there was no power. The heat soon set in and the stairs became an ordeal. When night hit and we still had no joy by light, it was time to go shopping for candles to light the way up and down to our rooms. Even our celebratory bubbles were no longer chilled, nor was anyone in the mood. After two days of pleading phone calls, we were assured the bill would be paid and the power reinstalled but when we all realised this was not going to happen anytime soon, they agreed to send over a generator with a maintenance guy who had no idea how to even start it. Thankfully, these were all competent Aussie country women, and the maintenance guy happily stepped aside while Liz and Helen got the generator set up and going.

After a year of preparations, on the morning of my NYFW show I woke in a pool of sweat after but a few hours sleep, unable to drift off from the the sound of sirens and car horns all night in my bid for some air by leaving the windows open. With the sweet smell of generator fuel through the house, I felt weirdly calm as I headed downstairs to a less than impressed group of women in the kitchen surrounded by extension leads, to which I excitedly perhaps over exhaustedly screamed “OMG It’s Fashion Week!”

With the team of hairdressers and makeup artists due to arrive in the next hours, timing was the essence and also the unknown for the reinstallation of power. We were a dishevelled bunch but the positive vibe prevailed and at the eleventh hour, as the hair dryers were parking downstairs, we had power and we were back on the NYFW track!

The elevator never did work again, nor did the air conditioners and the Chinese torture caused by the smoke detectors that beeped every 20 seconds has possibly ruined us all for life – but we still managed to see the bigger picture  and the adventure was simply made all the more by this ripper group of girls.

Karen from Liveringa Station and Susan put their hands up to help me backstage on the day.  Karen coordinated the models into their dresses and shoes whilst Susan and I struggled to recognise the models that we had assigned to wear each piece. They looked completely different to the the photos we had taken on the fittings day – all we could do was laugh, because by this stage, nothing was going to cause us stress.

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I was so proud with the final checks before the models graced the runway. P1020094

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P1020080 This year I was determined to remember my runway bow.I was not going to let stress take over and black the bow out. This year I wanted to enjoy the moment and consume the pride, and when those models hit that runway and the fully subscribed crowd of the Prince George Art Gallery applauded I couldn’t have been a happier girl.

I revelled in every moment of my solo Hats by Felicity show. I was so proud to put my collection forward and proud to represent Australia and the art of Millinery on the world stage. I was proud of my friends who owned that VIP row, some with tears in their eyes, all with big, happy smiles.

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The challenges that presented in the lead up to my runway show ensured there was no room for stress on the day and although from backstage I don’t get to see the show, I have since seen footage and photos and reminisced with my friends, so I have a good idea of what my guests got to enjoy.

For this amazing feeling I want to thank everyone who got me to the NYFW runway, both for this year and for last; my sponsors, my family and my fabulous friends.

Keep an eye out for the MADHATTAN documentary that covered the lead up as well as the Hats by Felicity NYFW show.

In the meantime, here’s some snippets taken by talented NYC photographer Donatella Braghieri
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Thanks for your ongoing support and I wish everyone less stress and more laughter!

x flic

Madhattan

I’ve been somewhere I’ve never been before and that’s in front of a movie camera! Yes, there’s a documentary in the making and I’m in it. In fact, it’s about me, although it really feels like it’s about someone else. IMG_0320 I feel honoured for the opportunity; however, with my fear of public speaking, being in front of a camera hasn’t come naturally. The producer tells me I’ve become much more relaxed but she’s also a very kind person. So, what’s this all about? Well in a nutshell and soon to be released trailer, the story is about my creative journey to my first solo Hats by Felicity show at New York Fashion week but more so the story is about innovation, community and following your dreams; all things you know I am passionate about. Stage one of filming is complete (phew) and from that footage you will soon see a snippet, so stay tuned.

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With producer and super camera woman Caro and sound editor Craig

Apart from camera’s rolling, the Milliner has been on the move again, this time to Liveringa cattle station in the West Kimberley, for a fabulous evening at the historic old Liveringa homestead. IMG_8192 Ladies from nearby stations and from Derby and Broome frocked up for a night of hats and giggles on the homestead veranda from sunset. IMG_0206 IMG_0215 IMG_8171 I love these events. It’s from such remote locations that some women try a headpiece for the very first time, which is often when the addiction begins. IMG_8168 I love it when that one person gets the crowd moving and tries the first hat. The oooh’s and ahhh’s make my day. Usually I have only seen my creations on a foam head or on my own head, so I encourage people to try them on for my enjoyment just as much as their own and those who’ve gathered around. I love seeing how differently people position a piece on their head. I always say with my creations, “there are no rules”. I also love watching how a hat or headpiece can change a woman’s demeanour, her stance, how she holds herself, looks at her self – a hat can instantly create a confidence and release a personality. This goes for men wearing hats too. A man’s presence can strengthen; his shoulders move back and confidence grow when he puts on his hat. A hat can command instant respect and for some, their identity is their hat. 478571-ian-amp-034-molly-amp-034-meldrum article-2611723-1D48D2DE00000578-5_634x609

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Local Broome identity and friend Baamba

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My DAFWA work colleagues with their new Sunbody cowboy hats

Wearing hats, coming together for events, catching up with friends and meeting new people are all so important when you live remotely. The Milliner on the move adventures are always such a joy because we get to indulge all of the above and more. IMG_8341 IMG_0297 IMG_0277 IMG_0304 IMG_0319 IMG_0309 It’s our Ladies Day and Cup day in August and the commissions for bespoke creations have been plenty. Prior to these prestigious events though, it’s my 2015 collection unveil at the Broome Turf Club and Corporate cup race day Friday 24th July. I am in the final stages of preparation for this collection and event. And believe me; I get as nervous on my local stage as the big one in NYC! Speaking of which, the countdown is now less than two month’s till the Hats by Felicity NYFW show! I better get back into that shed! IMG_0227 Have a wonderful day and a belly laugh with a friend. Xf quotes-1461

Breakfast at Tiffany’s anyone?

I have always been infatuated by the 50’s and 60’s and drawn to the elegance and style of Audrey. Her innocence and sophistication may not ooze from this country girl in jeans but if muses are the goddesses of inspiration, then Audrey Hepburn is mine. Audrey-Hepburn-2 This year the Hats by Felicity collection sprinkles the aura of Audrey through materials, style and design. I find it so hard not to share the creations as they materialise but having accepted my second invitation to the runway of New York Fashion Week, I need to keep yet another collection under wraps.

One thing I will share with you all though, is the special little treat soon to appear in each hat and headpiece that I create. With the greatest of joy I introduce you to the new Hats by Felicity hat tag, a button made from mother of pearl. IMG_7263 Broome’s pearling history began with the pearl button, so you can imagine how proud I am to share this with the world and to honour my home of 20 years in every piece that I create. The shell is Pinctada maxima, fished from the ocean bed of the 80 mile beach, south of Broome.

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Broome history: Onboard a pearling lugger diving for pearl shell

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Broome history: hard hat divers dived for shell to produce the mother of pearl button

Twenty years ago most of us in Broome worked in the pearling Industry. I lived and worked on a boat, on a pearl farm in the magnificent Buccaneer Archipelago. I worked for a family business and we farmed the magnificent pearl. I flew to work on a sea plane and after 10 days on the boat returned to Broome to spend the hard earned cash in four quick days, before flying back out to sea. It’s what we all did! The pearling industry gets into your blood and the people you lived and worked with became yet another family, many of whom for me are still here in Broome. The Pinctada maxima oysters that we proudly farmed produce the biggest and most beautiful pearls in the world.

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View of the Buccaneer Archipelago from the plane

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Pinctada maxima oyster with pearl

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largest south sea pearl in the world

A much, much smaller version of south sea pearl might appear in my creations at this year’s Hats by Felicity show, so keep a keen eye out amongst the feathers, for our lustrous gem.

As legendary as the pearl, remember the story of Arno the Belgium fashion designer who I met at the Broome rodeo the eve of last year’s Broome Cup? https://millineronthemove.com/2014/08/23/station-hand-stitches/

It seems only right that the next Hats by Felicity chapter should include Arno, so with great excitement I announce that Arno is designing as we speak, my NYFW dress for this year’s Spring Summer runway event. As for what I’ll be wearing? Well, that’s another secret under wraps; perhaps the inspiration will be a 1929 born cosmopolitan from the same homeland as Arno himself?

I pinch myself that I’m heading back to fashion week. Already there’s not enough hours in the day and days in the week to achieve my long list of ‘to do’ but the excitement has set in and thats what its all about. This is my life at the moment and I’m waking up every day loving it! Flic and hats NYFW I’ve got another wonderful group of friends making the Big Apple trip this year to support me and I cant’ tell them how much this helps me along. I’m so blessed. A group of us have pitched in and rented a fabulous home that is walking distance from the show and would you believe, on the wall in my bedroom of this NYC home, sits perfectly a framed picture of none other than the Oscar winning Audrey herself. That’s what I call a sign.

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BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S, Audrey Hepburn, 1961

Sprinkle kindness, beautiful people. till next time … xf

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