Hats on for new arrival

Kate Davison, milliner

Kate Davison, milliner - Credit: Archant

YOU did it! You finally found the perfect dress for your special occasion, only to be subsequently flummoxed at the prospect of now having to search for a matching hat. However, fear not, help is at hand in the form of Kate Davison, a milliner who has recently relocated to St Albans.

Kate began her millinery business in 1999 after being supported by The Prince’s Trust upon her graduation from University. She hopes her move to St Albans can provide local ladies with the opportunity to find the ideal hat to complement any outfit without the need to travel far and wide.

Kate both designs and creates a range of hats ready for exhibition at the Country Living show each March. Alongside this she meets clients individually and creates bespoke hats according to individual specifications.

The design process involves Kate sourcing her materials from a number of different suppliers, from Cornwall to Switzerland. Once these are gathered she seeks inspiration from nature and her surroundings and experiments with different arrangements to create something unique.

Kate ensures that she always uses high quality materials in her designs. As she says: “Silk is always used for flowers, along with freshwater pearls, Swarovski elements and pheasant feathers.”

In addition, lace can be used as an overlay, as Kate describes: “This creates a more vintage look, which has been popular since Kate Middleton began wearing a pillbox style hat.”

For the base of the hat itself sinamay is used. Kate explains: “Often hats available on the high street will use one or two layers of sinamay whereas I use three layers to create a firmer construction.”

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Kate is then able to dye her creations to match the colour of an outfit perfectly, which is invaluable when attempting to co-ordinate accessories.

Colour matching can be a complex procedure. Kate notes: “The warp and weft of a fabric will affect how the colour shines,” and this must be considered within the dyeing process. However she is undaunted by such a task and happily takes the time to ensure the exact colour is reached.

The designs in the collection vary from small sparkly hair accessories for bridesmaids to larger more statement hats intended for Royal Garden parties. Generally prices range from £25 to £300.

Kate considers: “It is a privilege to be chosen to create a hat for such a special event as a wedding or a party” and she hopes to take away some of the stress that can surround such an occasion.

Kate encourages clients to try on a number of different styles to find which suits them best, as these can often be the ones least expected.

During the busy Summer months each hat takes between four to six weeks to produce. This period reduces to three to four weeks at quieter times of the year.

If you’re particularly short of time you can also send a colour swatch or accessory to Kate who will then create the ideal match for you.

The range is currently being extended to include winter hats made of felt, in classic colours such as black, grey and camel along with unique animal prints.

From the elaborate and quirky designs seen at Ascot to a simple stylish fascinator for a wedding, a hat can make or break an outfit, and Kate is more than happy to help provide the finishing touch for the perfect outfit.

Kate Davison’s designs can be viewed at: http://www.katedavison-milliner.co.uk/ and you can email her directly at kate@katedavison-milliner.co.uk.