I don't normally look at websites of other designers when I'm working - I usually prefer to absorb things sort of by osmosis - magazines, TV, websites in general, etc, etc, but this time I thought it might be interesting to see what others are doing, and what their take on 'spring/summer' is. Where previous years collections have been available to look at on websites, I have - I haven't restricted myself to only looking at this years collections. As the designer Valentina said about designing - 'design for the century, forget the year'. Which I read as 'don't be a slave to the trend!'
My very first port of call was to Google 'millinery', 'summer millinery', and 'milliner'. I should point out here and now that this post may be light on nice shiny bright photos, because I'd rather not commit any glaringly illegal copyright breaches. So most of the images I'll be posting here will be very rough hand drawn sketches done by me, from the pictures on sites (all designs credited to the designer they're by, obviously).
In no particular order, I looked at the following milliners:
http://www.ginafoster.co.uk/ - things I liked a about her designs - she seems to have lots of beret shapes, in different materials, I really liked one (Orlov) that had feathers graduating in colour from white at the centre to darkish blue at the outer, and I love another (Premier) that has a button shape in a matt black material at the centre, and a big swoosh of black satin around it. the ones I don't like so much have huge flowers on them. Which is unusual, because I quite like flowers on hats - it may be their positioning, or that they're too much for the hats? I like the use of the veiling on 'Millenium' - the way it covers a small area of the face, and lifts up to create a stiff drape at the top.
Lots of pillboxes and saucer / mini beret shapes - lots of feathers and silk (especially gathered or pleated taffeta) - lots of big, sideswept brims - blacks and purples alongside naturals and neutrals - lots of sinamays and straws, and yet more silks. One with a pleated straw brim that I like lots.
(His ready to wear s/s 12.)
Sisal, buntal and straw in general - trilbies - wide brims, some angled, some not - sinamay, mostly blocked - pastels colours, greys, pinks - discs, large and small - hot pinks - petals and leafy shapes - deco shapes - black and white.
His S/S 2012 collection is entitled "Chinoiserie-on-Sea", inspired by Brighton and the Royal Pavilion.
He's used lots of straws, in many different colours, and lots of wired shapes. He's not slavishly adhering to any trends, but kind of doing his own eccentric thing (which I really like). There are shapes (very) reminiscent of Royal navy bicornes, shapes that remind me of China (hence the 'cinoiserie', I suppose!), and lots of slightly off-the-wall wired shapes.
LOTS of sinamay - coloured, not natural - lots of broad brims, angled up - some discs at steep angles - flowers and feathers (loads) - lace discs with flowers - sinamay twists - one VERY big brim with crin and sinamay - quite a lot are a bit twee (I think, but I do have quite eccentric taste, I admit, and see my earlier post about my hatred of sinamay) - very Mother of Bride-y / middle aged / uber middle class. But a lot of the hats are photographed on older models, so I'm guessing that's his market. Definitely uninspiring though.
I don't really like Pip Hackett's work either, I'm afraid. Very fussy and too much going on with most of the hats and headpieces, for me. I think I prefer more simplicity. Admittedly, it didn't help that the website is slow to load!!!
Anyway, there are lots of silks - flowers (especially lillies - I like the hats with lillies more than the ones with roses) - lots of feathers - button / saucer bases - big silk bows, etc.
straws and meshes - lots of veiling and lace over other materials (like straw) - lots of veiling full stop! - disc and beret shape bases - some wired shapes - flowers and feathers, but cleanly done, not fussy - drinking straws. Veiling over straw cloche shapes.
I have to admit that William Chambers is probably my favourite milliner*.
So there's my round up of summer millinery - straws, sinamays, flowers, feathers, small hats, big hats.....
If nothing else, this exercise has firmed up in my mind some of the things I like and don't like about summer hats! (Eg, I don't like the usual run-of-the-mill sinamay shapes that you see everywhere.)
*along with Behida Dolic, but she only really works in felt most of the time, so not suitable for this project.