In our latest interview with a LoveHats.com milliner, we headed to a more rural area of London – Wimbledon, where the studio for Juliette Botterill millinery resides. It’s in this studio where Juliette designs her high quality millinery that is both wearable and elegant, and is adorned by the likes of the Royal Family. However, Juliette has not always been based in London. Juliette began her journey in Glasgow before moving to London to work for Philip Treacy, where she designed hats for couture fashion houses including; Alexander McQueen, Valentino and Givenchy to name but a few. We’re here now so you can get to know the personality behind the brand a little better…
Although Juliette studied for her MA in Fashion Design at Glasgow School of Art, her desire to create came from somewhere else, “I was lucky to see many different cultures from an early age, places like Indonesia and Papua New Guinea where there are a lot of hand crafted industries. I remember drawing fashion illustrations and creating mock fashion shows for my parents! I was always interested in the construction of materials and the abundance of possibilities with what you could do with them. Later, I went on to study textiles at university.” Yet, despite all this physical colour – one of Juliette’s biggest inspirations came from an unlikely source, “I stumbled across the book ‘When Philip met Isabella’ while researching a project in the library and found it fascinating; it instantly hit a chord with me.”
So what was Juliette’s next move? To work for Philip Treacy of course, where she gained gained invaluable experience making hats for prestigious events such as the Royal Wedding in 2011 and Royal Ascot. “The most important fact Philip taught me was attention to detail… And the engineering of a hat, making something quite complicated sit effortlessly on the head and stay there.” This ethos exists through her current collections, as all hats are handmade, from the structure to the details of the trim; nothing is made in the factory.
“I design two ready to wear collections a year. I tend to work on developing the shapes first, as I like to have a diverse amount of shapes to appeal for different clients and occasions. Then I will work on colours, materials and trimmings. I don’t really follow millinery trends. The ladies that buy my hats want a hat that will really suit them and that they’ll feel comfortable in.”
When discussing the future of millinery, Juliette noted in a change of attitude in millinery, “Over the last couple of year, ladies really don’t want fascinators any more. The focus is very much on a ‘proper hat’ whether it be a cocktail hat or a larger piece. I think one of the important parts of my job is to make sure that the person finds the perfect hat for them – whether that be big and bold and attention seeking or small and more discreet.” So What’s next? Juliette promises a continuing evolution of her brand, “Over the next 5 years I will create more beautiful hand made hats incorporating new materials, while still of course using traditional millinery techniques and I will always maintain an exemplary level of detail and craftsmanship.”