Tag Archives: Broome

“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

 

 

 

 

 

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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!

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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.
xf

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

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.

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S, Audrey Hepburn, 1961

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S, Audrey Hepburn, 1961

Sprinkle kindness, beautiful people. till next time … xf

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My proud runway bow

New York Fashion Week. Wow! Where on this great privileged earth do I begin?

I don’t know how to explain how absolutely petrified, insanely excited and ridiculously proud I was all at once, that moment when the show hair stylist pushed me through the entrance and on to the runway because as we all predicted, I froze and stalled at the gate.

In the lead up to the show, our East Village apartment had likened a sweat shop as my buddies who had flown in from around the globe helped put together goodies for the 150 VIP show bags.

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Holly the sweat shop Manager

There are only certain friends in the world you can ask to fold programs without looking at the contents within.

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I wanted my friends who had made the big NYFW trip, to not see a snippet of the collection before the big day. They weren’t allowed to the viewing nights in Broome or the fittings day in New York. My house and backyard studio were even out of bounds. I wanted them to experience the wow factor on the day, as VIP guests at the New York Fashion Week show.

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Karen and Holly seated and waiting for the show

I did make one exception to the rule for my friend Jane, from the Kimberley desert region of Western Australia, to have a backstage pass to help with the models dresses and shoes and bless Jane, she even kept her glasses off for most of the backstage experience to not focus on the headpieces that I was still trying to keep a surprise. I am sure Jane and Lidia (my other saviour helping hand) could write their own blog of our time backstage, however, we’ve decided that what happens behind the scenes at Fashion Week is a form of secret women’s business that will stay behind the scenes.

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Backstage Jane has a model dressed and ready to go

While we were backstage, the rest of my 20 guests excitedly lined up for their VIP show seats out the front of the Helen Mills Event Space in Chelsea, revelling in the excitement and keeping an impressive run of social media updates for those back home in Australia and Broome.

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I was the first designer to showcase at the Designers Premier so my music created the opening mood for the show and what an emotional, heart hitting opening I proudly presented to the world. Created to perfection by incredible talent from Broome, the NYFW chatter was quickly quietened by the emotional tribal tune that left no dry Kimberley eye at the show.

Behind the scenes we could not see but only hear the crowd reaction as one by one the models took the runway and showcased to perfection, my collection of hand crafted, one-off, millinery pieces; the wearable art that had consumed my year by it’s creation.

A model prepares to enter the runway

A model prepares to enter the runway

Each piece presented to the runway was proudly named in honour of my friends, who in March this year held a surprise gala fundraising event to help me get where I proudly stood this moment – on the runway of New York Fashion Week, presenting the millinery fashion for Spring/Summer 2015.

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My VIP guests behaving according

I had been so busy backstage that my nerves didn’t enter the room until my time to enter the runway and as mentioned, I did need a little push. That walk down the white runway towards the hustle of cameras is a blur. I remember seeing my friends and being unable to control the smile that took over my face but I couldn’t hear a thing and don’t remember anything other than giving a wave to a familiar face on the way back and towards my out.

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Proudly wearing RM Williams, Sportscraft and Jewels of the Kimberley pearls from Broome

My fabulous RM Williams boots scooted me up and down that runway without me coordinating a step.  Twelve months of preparation, of creation and administration was over in around eight incredible minutes flat. The models had presented my 20 piece collection to the world and I proudly took my bow. And back in Broome now, the entire adventure seems a dream.

As the reality sets in I’ll tell more tales – in the meantime, I’ll leave you with these first pics of Hats by Felicity behind the scenes and on the runway of New York Fashion Week.

Enjoy. xf

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