Clayton Community Centre


Robert-working-sm1I’ve always had an interest in fashion: as a costume designer, a sculptor, a jeweller. I love the exuberant creations that grace the runways: Galliano, McQueen, Westwood. I love to see the hats that accompany the dresses, hovering between fashion and sculpture.

It was inevitable that I should eventually be drawn to hats as a form of personal ornamentation, so I began to collect. I became interested in how they were put together and started having my own ideas about hats and what they should look like. I started deconstructing some to see how they were put together. I bought books on the subject;. I studied these and, one day my wife told me that she had found a millinery course for me, adding that it was about time that I satisfied my craving for information on the subject.

That’s how I met Karyn Gingras, owner of Lilliput Hats. I learned the basics from her. Karyn is a warm, generous person and has been very helpful with techniques, information and advice. Later, I started making hats seriously! I enjoy making hats.

Unfortunately, millinery in Canada is not a big thing and supplies are hard to come by. Although I try to buy as much as I can from Canadian sources, most items come from the US and Europe, particularly England. Now, wherever we go, I look for sources of supplies and particularly for the bits and pieces of vintage decoration that have become my trademark.

As a designer, I tailor the hat not only to the occasion but to the person. My cocktail hats are unique. I only make one of each, as I would with other sculptures. As one of my clients said recently ” You could sell fifty of these to fifty women all going to the same party, and all of them would still be happy upon seeing each other.”

I sell mainly to private clients who, while they attend typical events such as weddings, openings and parties, do not want typical hats. If you are going to wear anything other than something for warmth or protection, you will be noticed so, why do it in a plain, boring, generic hat?