Tag Archives: Broome

Introducing Archipelago

Last week I flew over the majestic horizontal waterfalls of the Buccaneer Archipelago and from the moment we entered the King Sound my inspiration and creativity had retuned. The Kimberley never fails me.

Previously, I’d been trying to design a millinery collection on the back of a somewhat traumatic week and the process was proving difficult, my mojo just wasn’t there. Any creative will tell you that losing the mojo is quite normal, it’s finding it again that’s the challenge. Immersing myself in the breathtaking environment of my backyard, the Kimberley, is my key to unlock the block. Give me the red dirt and rocks of this rugged frontier, the stunning ocean country of water holes and white sandy beaches, the bush, the falls, the pindan sand, the sunsets and the sunrise .. just throw it all at me and then it’s ‘Whamo – Inspo’! – just like that.

When the opportunity presented to jump onboard a half day flight over the Horizontal Falls I was beside myself with excitement and in true eager form, early to the hanger for departure. I’ve experienced the Falls a few times over the years but this particular timing was with our King Spring tides and I knew the Falls would be at their best.

Roebuck Bay was completely empty when we taxied out from Broome and over the Bay, but nothing prepared me for how we’d find the Buccaneer Archipelago; it was like mother nature had pulled the plug and instead of hundreds of islands, there were literally thousands, for as far as the eye could see, and of course the Falls were absolutely magnificent – I was in pure awe, once again .

My love affair with this region began in 1997, when I lived and worked on a boat on a pearl farm in the remote, Gerald Bay. We flew to work on a sea plane, landing in the Bay in front of our mother ship, the Cossack Pearl. I’d spend ten days living on the boat and working on the pearl farm, chipping shell and cooking for the crew and then fly back to Broome for our four days off. I was living the absolute dream.

The Cossack Pearl

Driving the shell cleaning boat

Over the years since those crazy pearling days I have returned to the region on private charters and with organised tours, adventuring onboard boats and planes and I just can’t get enough of the place. The Buccaneer Archipelago is magical, filled with colour and movement and life.

Last week’s adventure was with Fly Broome by light aircraft over the archipelago, king sound and the spectacular Horizontal Falls, landing at Cape Leveque for breakfast and a glorious swim in the ocean. I also toured the region earlier this year with Go Horizontal Falls a cruise adventure through the archipelago by boat from cockatoo island taking us through the Falls and circling us over them on the flight home from Cockatoo to Broome. From both magnificent tours I returned overflowing with inspiration and with complete happiness. I feel so connected to this part of the world and never take it’s beauty for granted, nor the positive effect that immersing in the Kimberley has on me, the emotions it stimulates are exactly what I needed to get designing for this show.

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Water rushing into Horizontal Falls

The Horizontal Falls

I created my beautiful Archipelago inspired collection incorporating stunning silks from local fellow creative, Sally Bin Demin, and my eight piece collection was showcased by the gorgeous finalists of the development program for young indigenous women, “Kimberley Girl” at the program’s finale event.

I am so proud to be involved in this event and I am thrilled with the collection.

My adventures to the Archipelago and Horri Falls overflowed me with inspiration to create and it is with great excitement and pride, that I formally introduce you to my eight piece Millinery collection aptly named “Archipelago”.

For more details including stories and prices to purchase the pieces which are now officially available for sale, please visit www.hatsbyfelicity.com.au .

For more information on the above mentioned Archipelago adventures click the links and tell them the Mad Hatter sent you.

Keep smiling and don’t forget to tour your own backyard.
x flic

DO IT FOR YOU

Today I started my 2019 goals; probably a few weeks behind most of you .. but with the temperature high of 38 degrees (feels like 44) and humidity of 78%, it felt right to be inside, playing with coloured pens.

Before filling the butchers paper, though, I retrieved last years goal setting page; happy to cross quite a few items off the list, and to admit there are a few others to make a celebrity guest re-appearance for 2019.

All in all a great year for me, starting with a trip to South Africa for a stunning family wedding (see previous blog). Not only quality family time and an adventurous safari but I also met the talented Jacquie from J K Millinery in Cape Town, who was an absolute delight.

No sooner had I touched down home over the Bay and into Broome, it was self imposed studio lockdown, creating the collection for my Sydney Exhibition in Balmain. With inspiration oozing from Africa I proudly showcased to a packed house with Artist Lara Scolari; and just like that, the Millinery year was in full swing.

Like this year, 2018 began with the privilege to showcase a creation with London Hat Week Great Hat Exhibition, and although the hat traveled to London without me, I was thrilled that London based friends and family visited the Exhibition to see my feathered creation, “Kungkulu Ku” perched amongst 300 chosen pieces from around the world.

The Great Hat Exhibition is now in its fourth year and the theme for 2019 is “World Garden”. Again, I’m beside myself with excitement to be one of 180 milliners chosen to exhibit from around the world, and I hope those who’ll be in London mid April will pop in to see my “Desert Dancer” creation, honouring Australia’s Sturt’s Desert Pea.

I was thrilled to receive the High Achievement award for Home Based Business through the Broome Chamber of Commerce Small Business Awards, and super thrilled to feature with ABC Landline who filmed a beautiful story showcasing my millinery story and art.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-28/outback-milliner:-the-international-success-of-a/10439282

The documentary, MadHattan; (from Broome to the Big Apple) launched in Melbourne as part of Melbourne film and fashion week with a premiere and Q&A, which was a great experience; and the BBC also did some filming in my backyard and our beautiful Broome, shooting a feature soon to be aired with the Julia Bradbury TV series – so London’s certainly calling this year!

With two great friends, we embarked on the Variety Bash again in 2018, raising money for kids with special needs and kids in isolation and drought. Our second year as the Mad Hatters, and this social commitment, to Variety, the Children’s charity is looking to be an ongoing part of Alice, the Queen of Hearts and Mad Hatter’s lives.

We’ve committed again in 2019 and will be driving from Melbourne across the Nullarbor to our finish line in Geraldton WA, so if you think we might be coming your way (we drive no direct route whatsoever) .. like and follow our Mad Hatters pages so we can keep you up to date.

https://www.facebook.com/MadhattersCar2278VarietyBash/

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A great year for sure and I’m filled with pride as my little dream to develop a career from passion continues to grow, however, before one can get too carried away, we were once again in 2018, on several occasions throughout the year, slammed back into reality, losing mates that we just absolutely loved. Men, taken with the dreaded cancer and by car accident, and taking their own life. Devastating for us all still to this exact moment; and we would happily give back all the accolades and acknowledgments to have them all back here, but this thing called life just doesn’t work like that.

This is the reason I, personally, continue to strive so hard and have a go at what some see as the unachievable dream, because death reminds me of how precious and short our life is, and how important it is that we prioritise to be happy and kind and to just ‘have a go’.

And then precious little people arrive; in 2018 my niece, Esther Honey Brown (just love her name). It’s amazing how one little person can bring so much joy.

So, apart from driving across the country in a car called wonderland, what’s the plan for 2019? Well, the list is long and ambitious and with the goal to travel, create and innovate – I’m just going to keep ‘having a go;’ with a genuine smile and with thoughts for those who won’t get the chance. I would love to think we’d be spared the pain of loss, for even just a year, but in these tender few weeks, it’s already upon us.

So my friends, my message for 2019 is simply to ‘do it, and do it for YOU.

And in the words of our mate ‘Spoon’ (below), who was taken oh so suddenly, …

“Do what you love, and love what you do”.

Here’s to 2019!

x flic

“You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are”.

It’s Mango season in Broome, and everyone goes a little crazy …
It’s also the season for giving and receiving … mangos! LOTS of delicious mangos. November in Broome is all about mangos. The house scent is sweet, the blender is mixing and breakfast starts with the cool cut squares of delight. We love this time of year when each door knock comes with the box of mandatory mangos; kids are climbing the town’s trees, everyone’s walking around with a spare plastic bag and there’s a funny sense of ‘community’ coming from this local, somewhat common fruit.

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We love ‘giving’ and along with two great friends I’ve recently been involved in the Variety Bash, which too, is all about giving. An International fundraiser for kids that was brought to Australia by none other than Dick Smith, the Variety Bash is focused on raising funds for special needs equipment for kids. Variety Bash entrants can sometimes have the added joy of physically delivering this equipment to kids along the most remote of Australian roads, joined by a Variety family of rally cars and crazy dressed characters in tow. It’s all about the kids, and we have to admit, there’s a big kid in us all.

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Our theme for this eight day Variety Bash bubble of ‘giving’ was the Mad Hatters, and in ultimate costume we travelled absolutely no direct route in our 1985 gold Mercedes called Wonderland, from Melbourne to Fraser Island. As the Rookies, Alice with the white rabbit always in her hold, the Queen of Hearts with one of the most impressive heads of all, and I as none other than the Mad Hatter, fumbled our way through our first Variety Bash, and after but but a few ‘far from short’ days knew that we were all completely hooked.

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Even though we broke down 45 minutes into the drive and I literally froze on the side of the road, having flown in from Broome the day before, the ‘positivity’ from the mechanics, even given the seriousness of the situation, as they calmly reassured team Wonderland that “you will finish the Bash – everyone finishes the Bash” meant we did exactly that; and as I started to thaw out in front of the King Lake cafe fireplace, surrounded by random strangers enjoying coffee and cake, with orange hair, a mad top-hat and wearing a chest belt of cotton reels; I too believed them.

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Without giving too much away, I can, in a mad hatter wonderland riddle kind of way …give you a few hints on how the white rabbit spent his weirdly timed Variety Bash day …
The fact that after minutes of breaking down we were ‘silly stringed’ by the Blues brothers, clearly meant our first friends on the bash were NOT the Blues Brothers; but instead our first friends were the mobile mechanics, who not only fixed our car but ‘swept’ us down the road to the finish line each day.

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Not that they or any other ‘bashers’ knew who we were out of costume, because when we weren’t the Mad Hatters we were dressed in the evening theme of the night.

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On the second day the Blues Brothers kidnapped Alice! These suited men and lady were destined NEVER to be our friends! “Where the bleak is Alice?” Truth be known, In true character, Alice often disappeared; found sneaking a peak into a truck or car, pulling a golf buggy down the course or in front of a news camera, on TV;

 

As we started to meet fellow bashers, we quickly bonded with some serious ‘girl power’  including the PJ Party, Cherry Bomb Car-e-oke, Charlie’s Angels, Spice girls and Cat woman, who often needed time out from the joker and batman.

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No sooner had we designed the car routine of driver, navigator and entertainment coordinator, we were captured in print by Melbourne’s Herald Sun, and of course, now published, the Blues Brothers wanted to be our friends!

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We missed all but one lunch on the bash and even though ‘it’s not a race’ we nearly always drove in last … because we were always so well photographed along the way (well that’s our story), or we were simply looking for Alice .. “oh there she is” – in Pooh bear corner talking to Sunday All Over Macca!

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We missed most of the ‘fun’ stops and didn’t see the beer truck once! (all put down to our careful pace of driving).

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As the delirium progressed, the mad hatter began to eat cupcakes in every town, while the Queen of Hearts precariously posed and Alice chased the Blues Brothers, who stole the White Rabbit AGAIN!


As crazy, loud bash cars drove up to schools we were presented with equally loud squeals of excitement from kids; we took selfies, threw lollies, (must get better at throwing) and danced and dabbed on basketball courts. It’s something special when a kid tugs your jacket and says they are SO excited to be YOU for book week!

Sometimes we forgot we were in costume as we ran into Telstra shops and public toilet blocks; and how many people get to play with Sesame Street in Parliament House after dinner with the Governor General.

 

We won the apple iPhone 7! Well … the rabbit did!

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Our absolute favourite Variety Bash moment was a “Where’s Wally” one and we ALL fell in love with a ‘cowboy’.

After cornering Wonderland like a dream around Bathurst, the cryptic route notes indicated that we were going through my home town of Rylstone, NSW; mum got the boys (my brothers) into the Globe Hotel but someone or anyone forgot to mention to my beautiful brother ‘Billy Brown from outa town’, who doesn’t do social media, that his sister was an orange headed mad hatter. Personal highlight besides his reaction, was to see my mum run across the road so excited. She almost wouldn’t get out of Wonderland, or let the white rabbit go.

I was so excited to see family and great friends along the way; and just as excited to pull in to the Pub with no Beer.

We were getting a hold on this ‘Bash’ thing and decided it was time to take a stance and publicly punish the Blues Brothers for stealing the white rabbit and kidnapping Alice. We dressed up the main Blues offender in Alice’s apron, wig and makeup in front of hundreds of onlookers at the Big Banana.

Some thought us brave, others thought us mad, but it was ‘he’ who took the punishment ten steps further; … and where our love for the Blues Brothers bloomed.

By the time we got to Fraser island we’d traveled the outback roads of four states in eight days and the Mad Hatters were self declared as ‘wrecked’! Only to be announced as winners of the BEST THEME bash honour, so the costumes had one .. last .. night.

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On behalf of Alice and the Queen of Hearts, I take this opportunity to thank ALL our friends and families who supported the Mad Hatters and our fundraising efforts for the kids and our sponsors for supporting car 2278 Wonderland in the 2017 Variety Bash.

And just when we thought it was all over, Team Captain Alice pulled rank and diverted Wonderland to the Bundaberg Rum factory; only to once again disappear, and reappear with the leader of the opposition.

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The Melbourne to Fraser Island Variety Bash raised $1.25M and our little car raised over $15,000! Goes without saying – we have registered for next year’s event!

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So, how does someone re-enter normality after an experience like this? … Well, what is ‘normality’ anyway?!

Just like after any adventure, I was filled with inspiration. I could’t wait to get back into my millinery studio. The next few couture creations were quickly underway and with a new boost of creativity and my Hats by Felicity collection was hinted with whimsical ‘Wonderland’ joy.

 

The Variety experience reinforced my embrace of positivity and fed my my love for giving; fundraising has been such an integral part of my life, since a 19 year old Miss Australia fundraising entrant, and it completes me.

For 2018 we have some exciting Mad Hatters fundraising events in the planning, that will take place in Victoria, Frankland River WA, and Broome; to which Alice, Queen of Hearts and Mad Hatter hope some of our new Variety family might make a celebrity guest appearance, and meet our wonderful local communities, families and friends.

And where in this crazy yarn is the Hats by Felicity update? Well, with all this creativity I’ve been turning one of my many dreams into reality and developing a very special merchandise range.

I have always adored beautiful stationery and essential treats for the tropics and have designed and developed a delightful and useful merchandise range of notepads, sketch books, hand fans, coolers for our drinks and for the bottle of bubbles; tote bags, water bottles, pannikins etc … the beautiful list is almost endless; and after the inspirational feedback from the MadHATtan documentary, and the Variety experience, I decided to embrace the positivity and inspiration and have a go.

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To get a starter collection of the merchandise range landed in Broome in time for the Christmas market I have launched a Kickstarter fundraising campaign. I’d love you to check it out and should you like to give it a ‘kickstart’ pledge, it would be my absolute joy to gift you with a product from the range the moment it hits the Broome studio floor; hand selected with love. This merchandise range will compliment my couture millinery creations and ongoing collections and my custom designed commercial range of Cruise Broome hats and the like.  2018 has definitely been the year for growth.

“We’re all mad here, I’m mad, you’re mad.” How do you know I’m mad? said Alice, You must be said the Cat, or you wouldn’t have come here.”

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I always love to sign off thanking my incredible friends; who support and encourage me and my crazy days and ways. To you, I once again raise my glass. Thank you!

Here’s the Kickstarter link for my Hats by Felicity Merchandise range. I’d be thrilled if you’d check it out.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/flic/hats-by-felicity-merchandise-product-range

Thank you and keep smiling,

x Flic

 

 

 

 

 

Sore thumbed Olympian …

I can see the Empire State Building from my Manhattan apartment window – did you know they change the colour of the tower lights every night? Tonight it’s orange and blue. I have to pinch myself that I’m here.

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It’s been a massive run to my third NYFW show and thanks to my friends and some amazing sponsors, and the creative headspace from working for myself (yes … I’ve finished with the Ag Dept.), I am well and truly here, all glue guns blazing, with my Spring Summer 2017 collection of millinery creations, and I’m ready to show to over 300 VIP’s and the fashion world, in but a few short days. To say I’m a tad nervous is absolutely nowhere close to the mark!

The lead up to this years event has been busy. As milliner on the Move I had brilliant trips to Anna Plains Station in the Kimberley and to Yarrie Station and the races of Marble Bar in the Pilbara region. Both of these adventures, however, command their own individual blog space, so you’ll have to stay tuned for these yarns on my return from the shiny red.

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The Broome races too, were a feather above the rest this year with Broome Cup being the most colourful of all Broome trackside events I’ve seen yet. Never have I created so many hats and headpieces in one year and although my fingers are still recovering, I’m already excited to do it again.

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And now I am here, in New York City on the eve of Fashion Week with my Hats by Felicity showing this Sunday, September 11, at 5pm. I keep doing double takes as I see my name and imagine this is how the Olympians must feel – with AUSTRALIA in capitals beneath … i’m sure Olympians have more than sore fingers and thumb, though … and they probably use the stairs, not the lift.

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My runway event will be live streamed through the Hats by Felicity Face book page. I’m showing with Fashion Gallery at the Grand Ballroom of the Manhattan Affinia Hotel 5pm NYC time and believe me, not only are those chandeliers going to shine .. my models are wearing a custom made Bondi Bather special that compliments my collection to perfection and I can’t wait to show you all.

And wait till you see the feathers … my feather collectors have been amazing again this year with feathers coming from all parts of Australia. Without these stunning plumes and while Im at it, without my feather sorter (thanks Ella) I wouldn’t be showcasing half the collection I am about to, so when these hand collected feather creations float upon the runway please feel as proud as I am because without you, they simply wouldn’t exist.

I know I’ve said it twice before, but when this collection presents on the NYFW runway, it’s not just me showcasing, it’s a whole swag of us who are part of the hat and yarn …

I met the models who are going to parade my work yesterday, some of which are return girls from last year. They are a really lovely bunch who looked a tad unsure when I explained the dictionary meaning for Felicity is ‘happiness’ and bliss, and if they feel happy when they are wearing my creations on the runway, then by all means feel free to smile ..

Tonight I have my own big smile with my whole collection around me, I’ve been trying pieces on and assigning them to the models, preening feathers and feeling proud, with the Empire State building shining above me. I can’t wait to show you.

And what do I want to achieve from this NYFW event? Apart from raising awareness of millinery as a wearable art, through my collection entitled “Australia in Bloom” I want to proudly highlight our stunning and truly beautiful rural, regional and remote Australia; and above all, as a small business and passionate milliner, I want to secure a millinery contract in the industry of film – then we can aim for the Oscars after this!

A special shout of thanks to those who have dressed me for the runway, provided me with luscious lashes and fabulous skin, amazing hair and sensational sunglasses; who created spectacular outfits for the models, put together heart pumping music for the runway; for the pearls that are about to walk the runway, who designed my menu of creations for “Australia in Bloom” and millinery materials of stunning best; those who’ve fed me when I was in lock-down creating this collection, who’ve sponsored my name to the wallpaper for the red carpet, models for the runway; for your talented photography (Kathryn Sprigg) and who’ve worked tirelessly by my side making all this happen (thank you Kim St John). You are all tagged with love and thanks. And to my family and my friends, who continue rock my world and make this millinery dream happen … Thank you.

See you on Sunday – I’ll wave from the runway (if i’m conscious).

x flic

PS A heartfelt thanks for this surprise GoFundme site… #fundedbyfriends

https://www.gofundme.com/2mwke97f

Blooming oath I can

It’s been hot in the Kimberley. We’ve had a dry Wet season and the humidity and heat has been taking its toll. Amazingly though, as we mere humans melt in the heat, our desert plants have been blooming. My own desert roses have the fullest clusters of flowers that I can remember.
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The Australian outback, our rainforests, coasts, cities and towns are a constant spectacular of floral bloom and I couldn’t be more excited to showcase our colourful land through my upcoming third annual Hats by Felicity show at New York Fashion Week.

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I am completely pinching myself with the third invitation, after my runway debut at NYFW as the first Australian Milliner, showing with Fashion Gallery in 2014. I feel much smarter and more confident this third time round and although we all know the stress will rise as I near September’s show, the levels will be far less than the past two years. I may even get to enjoy my runway bow?!

To kick off the inspiration for creation I ran my Hats by Felicity competition – searching for muse to showcase Australia in bloom. The response was stunning with photo entries flowing in from around the country featuring our flowering plants that stop us in awe. The winning inspiration was from Andrea in Floreat, WA; Western Australia’s Eucalyptus Macrocarpa.

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All this encouragement has flung me well into design mode for the 2016 collections and bespoke commissions. My millinery materials have arrived and my community of feather collectors are delivering the most stunning of plumes.

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Adding to this year’s excitement is an independent invitation to showcase in West Palm Beach Florida, USA. I am thrilled that America has embraced me, and is providing me the opportunity to showcase my millinery passion and art and also to show off my magnificent Australian homeland.

The ride is never without the hiccups though, and my latest was another skin cancer surgery, a small lump from my chest. Not a melanoma this time so no complaints from me and the stitches are out and result is benign. The small scar is simply my visible reminder to continue to be positive and have a go at all goals.

Our Aussie flowers may be outrageously beautiful but the sun ‘down under’ can be downright mean. For most of us adults the skin damage is already done, therefore we need to focus on early detection and book regular skin checks and protect our largest organ, our skin. As old as the message is, we all need to remind our family and friends to slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat.

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I love to raise awareness of millinery and outback Australia but I also feel the need to raise awareness of our harmful rays and the greatness of early detection in the fight against skin cancer. Hats, health and happiness are my parting words for today. Along with a huge thank you to my friends as I near my third New York Fashion Week. Thank you to my feather collectors and inspiration gatherers – this upcoming collection will be the work of us all.

It’s time for me to get lost in my studio shed and start creating. Chat again in a month or two and in the meantime, here’s a snippet of my past two years on the runway of NYFW.

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Hats by Felicity NYFW (2014)

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Hats by Felicity NYFW (2014)

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Hats by Felicity NYFW (2014)

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Hats by Felicity NYFW (2014)

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Hats by Felicity NYFW (2015)

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Hats by Felicity NYFW (2015)

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Hats by Felicity NYFW (2025)

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Hats by Felicity NYFW (2015)

Can I do this a third time? … blooming oath I can!

Ends

Third time is a charm

“A penny for your thoughts” I said to my friends, when the inner turmoil grew.
The invitation to return to New York Fashion Week for the third year in a row was almost too much. What an honour! What a road, what an incredible opportunity – what an expense!
I often wonder if anyone else has the inner battles between their adventurous and sensible self’s. The invitation brought an instant smile from ear to ear.  I was designing catwalk creations, planning the collection, the feathers, the styles, the models outfits, the trip … and then Miss sensible entered the room, crossed her arms and reminded me of the mortgage.
Broome to the Big Apple is no small feat but what important things in life aren’t big? It’s the challenge that brings the reward and we all know I live the cliché’ that life is too short, but there’s still that one little Mr Men book that re-appears from the shelf …

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In an attempt to put both egos to good use , I packed my car with a whiteboard, calculator, pens, paper and planner and headed on a solo adventure south of Broome; to one of my special places, with magical memories and ocean calm.

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A few days prior I emailed some friends who would tell me if I was mad to consider the NYFW contract again or alternatively, mad not to. If anyone is going to be honest, it’s our good friends. And if there’s one place to find clarity it’s on a remote beach. As the sun set over the ocean on full tide I crunched numbers, scribbled pros and cons and sifted through the suggestions, ideas and cautions that had been on my mind and had come from my friends.
The decision is the right one – two just wasn’t enough. I’ve signed the contract and I’m going back to New York. I’ve just got to go for the luck of the third adventure.

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And again, if you are interested, I’d love you to be involved. As well as crunching numbers that special place had me designing creations and for this year’s runway show I want to honour Australia’s stunning flora and fauna, be it from the desert, the mountains or the sea. If you come across any flowers and plants that make you stop in awe, please take a pic for me. I want to create a collection inspired by our beautiful flowers and plants and showcase our striking frontier land.

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This pictorial bloom of inspiration will collate in an album on the Hats by Felicity Facebook page and there’ll be prizes for the pic of pics, to add to the fun.
2016 is going to be another big year for us all. Everyone has challenges and decisions to make. Some of us will achieve the goals and some will be led to another path. Whatever the journey is for you, I wish you great health, happiness and safety, and inspiration for the road.
And to my buddies, thank you.
This is our now, and third time’s a charm.
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Sydney for Sunrise

Since my return from the U.S. and New York Fashion Week, my hands have enjoyed some well-earned millinery rest.

Apart from the last few bespoke orders for Melbourne’s Spring Carnival, it’s been needle and thread down and time to reflect and plan. I utilise this quieter part of year to take some time out from creating and instead work on my Hats by Felicity business, and I was doing exactly that when the invitation to appear on the Network Seven Sunrise Program appeared.

With a fear of public speaking, it was instant turmoil for me. I knew what an amazing opportunity this was but I also knew this meant facing my fear in front of a nation! I know I’ve just showcased on the runway of NYFW but believe me, appearing live on morning television in front of your home land is completely different. Within 24 hours and with little time to think or dwell, I was at the Broome airport departures lounge anxiously watching my collection of headwear load into the under carry of the plane.

A fish out of water is what I felt like when I hit the big Sydney smoke. The last thing I’d prepared for was arriving into rain and a chilly wind. My poor cardi excuse for warmth was just not going to cut it.

It was late when I slumped into bed. The three hour time difference made it 11pm and I had to be up at 5am, which was 2am in Broome, so of course I didn’t sleep a wink. Instead I watched the sun rise over Sydney before nervously heading to Network Seven studios in the rain.

Thank goodness for smart phones, I may have arrived at the wrong reception but in the right building at least and as I awkwardly juggled the box of hats around the street corner, I found myself at the windows where we see Sunrise viewers waving into the show. Part of me wanted to hold the box of hats high with a big smile but I decided it was best to take my wet hair and baggy eyes straight past the cameras and inside.

I wondered how on earth I ended up here as I walked past corridors of familiar celebrity faces framed on the walls. On about my 15th nervous trip to the bathroom I ran into newsreader Nat Barr, and shrieked “hi” like an excited mad woman before realising Nat would not have a clue who I was. We proceeded to yarn as we held open the bathroom door before I thought – heck, I should just let her go to the loo. After all, she probably only had a three minute break and I had taken up two!

The models they’d arranged for me were a dream – five lovely young women who were both professional and fun and as each of them returned from hair and makeup with piece positioned and big smile I was excited and extremely proud. When they said they felt so happy in the hats I took the moment to explain the dictionary meaning of Felicity and hence ethos of my business, being “happiness” and “bliss”. I welcomed them to smile if they felt happy as they showcased Hats by Felicity and their reactions to this suggestion grew the smile upon me.

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When I entered the studio the girls were standing in line with the camera panning a sneak preview for our segment coming up. I was petrified.



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With rescue remedy under and over my tongue and throughout my mouth (instructions were too small to read) I took my place where the girls had been, as they were led off stage ready to present. Seeing my toilet mate Nat was comforting and Sam Armytage too was a delight. I tried desperately not to notice the cameras knowing only too well it was all about to happen as the stage manager pronounced three … two … one!

With the focus on the hats and not a clue there was a camera on me I survived my Sunrise appearance and the reaction from the studio floor was great. I had little idea what I’d said or done or what the wider community had just seen but the models wore my hats and their smiles to perfection so I knew it was all going to be OK.

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It was such a privilege to introduce viewers to the individual stories of each creation among which was CondoBelle.

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CondoBelle represents friendship, bubbles and fun. I created CondoBelle to honour my very precious friends, who over the past two years travelled to the U.S. to be with me at the NYFW events; amazing women who helped make each event happen and were right there by my side.

By way of thanks and with the greatest joy, I have gifted CondoBelle to these particular friends, as our headpiece creation to share, that will enjoy a life on the road travelling to the many racetracks around Oz, perhaps even beyond …

Keep your eyes out for CondoBelle over the coming years, and if you spot her out and about, say hello to the very precious friend of mine, upon whom she will adorn.

In the meantime, through the below link, I’d love to introduce you to all my creations that travelled to the big smoke to appear on the big screen. Perhaps as you spot CondoBelle send a little cheers to all the wonderful friends in all of our lives. Xf

https://au.tv.yahoo.com/sunrise/video/watch/29968779/turning-heads-at-the-melbourne-cup/#page1