Modist nummer två att intervjuas är, Mimi Theobald från Scotland. Intervjun är på engelska.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in the Scottish Highlands where my parents have a hotel business. From an early age my mother, who is very fashion forwards, involved me with the weekly cabaret. As such, I developed a passino for fashion and grew up admiring the latest catwalk creations but my artistic side was projected through music playing in numerous orchestras. At the age of 17, I changed my life dramatically and quite surprisingly to others, I joined the Army and trained as a nurse in the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corr.
When and why did you decide to become a milliner?
My life had changed dramatically as I entered the military lifestyle; enjoying the oppurtunity to travel but also study to gain a degree. It was at the age of 21 I met my husband who was an officer in the Royal Australian Navy. So within a heartbeat, I found myself moving to Australia, buying a home to renovate, then finding I was pregnant.
Did you go to school to become a milliner, or did you learn by yourself?
I trained at college for 2 years, during this time I attended the International Millernery Forum in Australia where I met the most amazing and inspirational man, Neil Grigg. I did a work shop with him and soon after the Forum, I was knocking at his studio in Sydney and managed to convince him to train me. I worked under Neil for a year and during this time, I really learnt millinery. He was such an inspiration and taught me that in millinery there are no boundaries. College taught me how to make hats, Neil taught me how to make beautiful hats! He was a hard taskmaster, but he was always right.
At the end of 2009, we relocated back to my home town of Inverness, Scotland. This was to be closer to my family and allow my parents to spend time with their granddaughter. This has been fantastic and has enabled me to do more with my millinery. Additionally, the greater access to ‘natural’ feathers (either straight from the farm or given to me, like pheasant) has been inspiring. I love the texture and flexibility of working with feathers – dying them and trying to create something unique.
Where do you get inspiration for your creations?
A lot of my inspiration comes from the catwalk, especially haute couture, where I study colour combinations, fabrics and trimmings. I then take these concepts and ideas and develop my own designs. I find that when I create a hat I work with the fabrics that I have. I find it is like experimenting to get the right ingredients. That is the hard part, the easy part is putting it together.
Are there any milliners you admire, and why?
My favourite milliner is indeed Neil Grigg, having worked with him closely he really can turn his hand to anything. Many milliners get lost in thinking all about the hat. Neil definetly taught me that there is more to millinery than just making the hat. For those who are interested in learning the craft, I definetly would suggest going to college to learn as this will teach the foundations and will also allow one to meet other like-minded people who also have so much to offer in other skills.
Which part of history is your favorite considering hats?
My favourite period of time in regards to headwear, I would say now is the best time. As in wearing a hat today is sure to turn heads, whereas in the past, everyone wore a hat.
Which famous person would you like to create a hat for, why, and what would it look like?
There is no particular famous person (except maybe the Queen!) that I would like to create a hat for. I enjoy making hats for the everyday women – who when wears the hat that I have created, makes her feel fabulous and stands out from the crowd like a celebrity.
Do you have any advice for others interested in creating hats?
Being one of those people who can wear any hat, I have loved collecting hats. I love the creativity and individuality that people express through their choice of headwear. My mother taught me about fashion over the years and how to dress for the occasion. She has influenced me most and through this I have learnt how to create headpieces that compliment the outfit. I help style my clients for their events, creating a hat is not about the hat itself, it is about the ensemble. The outfit should look fabulous and creating a beautiful hat is creating the perfect look.
Where you do see yourself in the future?
My plan for the future is to continue learning and experimenting with new styles and ideas and hopefully, one day, have my designs seen on the catwalk of Milan.
My recent achievements through millinery have been:
- Highly commended for Millinery Competition Royal Ascot UK 2009
- Millinery Award Royal Randwick Doncaster Day 2009
- Silver Plate Award Aug 2009 ‘Hat of the World’ Italy competition
- Finalist in Decade Parade Miniature Hat competition, Stockport Hat Museum 2010
- Final six in ‘Who wants to be a milli-naire?’ competition at Royal Ascot, National Hat Day 2010
Where can we find your creations, and more information about yourself?
At the moment I have a studio where I work from home in Inverness. I have been very fortunate to have had lots of articles written about me in the press, as I do attend big race meetings (Ascot, Grand National). I have received lots of coverings online such as Telegraph, news.com and Hello magazine. I am currently involved in several fashion shows and my name is becoming known in the Highlands. It takes time letting people know who I am and what I do. Many people do not realise that they can have a hat/headpiece made.
Modist.se and all readers thank you, Marilena, very much for taking your time with this interview. Hopefully your words will inspire people and milliners in Sweden as well as throughout the world.
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