Tag Archives: fgnyfw

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

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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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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

New York state of mind

Apparently there is only three months till I am on the runway of New York Fashion Week!

I don’t know where to begin. The white board has a jobs list, the infamous Roebuck Bay coloured green diary has a multitude of lists, there are pieces of paper strewn across the house and post it pads all over my computers and walls and fridges with more and more lists; even the kitchen blackboard has a list BUT I don’t feel I am getting anywhere near achieving the New York Fashion Week list of jobs to do – and I’m due on the runway in THREE months time!

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We all move through life saying how fast time is passing but I have to say, i’m with those that believe 2014 is on speed!

Since the last update, the models shoes look like they might be close to sorted with the Fashion Gallery helping me find a suitable choice. The Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) has recommended and introduced me to a designer for the dresses and most importantly, my own runway collection is underway.

But there came a time when I couldn’t move in the studio, with headpieces hidden everywhere so I decided to have a viewing night.

I am blessed with friends. I have the most supportive, proactive, encouraging and committed friends and i’m still pinching myself that over a dozen of them are making the trip to New York for the Fashion Week event.

A few friends who are coming to NYFW and one that should be ...

A few friends who are coming to NYFW and one that should be …

I want to give these beautiful friends the experience of a life time when my creations enter the room and therefore have decided they are not allowed to see any part of the collection until they are sitting there, poised in their VIP chairs on the runway at the Helen Mills Events Space for the New York Fashion Week event.

Some of these fabulous friends have been less inclined to accept this unexpected fate but I stand firm and hence, they were not invited to the viewing night.

One of these dear friends who is coming to New York lives on a remote cattle station 10 hours drive from Broome, in the middle of the desert. When Jane makes it to town I am so excited and can’t wait to catch up with her (and kids and husband too) and you wouldn’t believe it but Jane was in town for the School of the air camp school when the viewing night was on. We couldn’t have planned it better but what was that great decision of mine? …. not allowed?! Oh dear … remind me why I made that rule? I felt SO cruel!

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Enjoying the hospitality of Jane and family at Yougawalla station

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Jane is so into her millinery – even when she’s out mustering cattle

The Viewing night was filled with friends that have been on the journey with me, have always shown an interest but who won’t be in New York for the show; along with a few party crashers that I completely welcomed. I am still overwhelmed that ten of the 20 guests were men.

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Twenty people in my lounge room and I was nervous! What the hell am I going to do on the runway of New York Fashion Week?! I was however, thrilled at how seriously my friends took the judging part of the night and can’t thank them enough for the comments, the constructive criticism and their valued input. It’s everyone’s journey to New York and I love that my friends know it!

I know I said I wasn’t going to show any pics of pieces from the viewing night but this sacrifice headpiece viewed on the Today Show is the ONE allowed ..

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Wishing you laughter, giggles and fun beautiful people.

It’s back to the studio and all those jobs lists for me!  x f

Keep calm again