A Millinery Masterclass Event: Meet Georgina Abbott of Atelier Millinery

With Royal Ascot not too far away, we're delighted to be partnering with our great friend Georgina Abbott, founder of Atelier Millinery, whose wonderful hats we now stock at Favourbrook.

We will be hosting a special evening and drinks with Georgina at Favourbrook Womenswear on Wednesday the 19th of April from 6-9pm, where she will be showcasing her millinery skills as well as offering advice about hats for Royal Ascot, and answering any questions you might have. To RSVP, please email events@favourbrook.com

The hat is an essential part of one's Royal Ascot outfit, and Georgina's creations have been worn the world over. In fact, Georgina is extremely well regarded in the millinery world, having managed events and PR for the British Hat Guild, as well as founding London Hat Week in 2014, and played a role in the reformation of the British Hat Guild, chaired by Stephen Jones OBE, in 2019, all while running her own award-winning business! 

Working alongside Georgina is Martine Henry, a milliner who like Georgina, started her education at London College of Fashion. She went on to study the HNC at Kensington and Chelsea College, and while there received a Feltmakers' Guild Award in Design in 2013. She went on to work for renowned milliners Gina Foster and Stephen Jones before becoming a full time member of the Atelier team. In 2020 Martine collaborated with Stephen Jones OBE to design a series of head wraps and headbands for the Christian Dior Cruise collection.

We caught up with Georgina recently to discuss her lifelong passion for millinery and to discover more about the intricate process...

What has driven your passion for hats since you started this millinery journey, Georgina?

I love the sculptural aspect of hats and their ability to create a mood. During consultations with clients for bespoke orders, I usually ask them what look or feeling are they aiming for rather than which colour or style. Headwear can make the wearer feel classic and traditional to avant garde, or anything along the scale. It's this power to create a mood that continues to fascinate me. When I see my client's most confident smile appear when they try on a design then I know they have found the one. It's a great decision-making moment.

How did the Favourbrook relationship come about?

My love of fabric and embellishment is what brought me to working with Favourbrook. We work in a similar way in that we make a limited number of each design and we aim to use the fabric and other materials to their best effect. This relationship has enabled me to bring the two things together as I now design for each collection, making sure that many of the pieces incorporate colours as well as the same fabrics used in the Favourbrook pieces. We make sure that the overall top-to-toe look is well considered and that the headwear can also be worn as a standalone piece.

How long does it typically take to design and make one of your creations?

Designs happen in my head all the time. They don't all make it as as far as the workroom. I like to work with the basic shape first surrounded by millinery materials so that I can try different combinations together to see what works best. I have a very practical and applied method of design and I like to consider the full 360 view of the shape on a mannequin head before I even think about trimmings. Sometimes a design can be finalised in a matter of minutes and other times it can take weeks of looking at a shape before the final inspiration strikes. There are times when I am so excited about a design that I can't wait to complete it - like a good book or a Netflix series. Once we have a sample to work from, most of our Favourbrook designs take 1 to 2 days to complete.

What are the rudimentary things to consider when choosing a hat for Royal Ascot?

It's important to refer to the Ascot Style Guide as the advice can vary from year to year. All of the Atelier Millinery hats at Favourbrook are suitable for the Royal Enclosure. The rudimentary things to consider are about comfort and fit. Whatever you decide to wear, it has to fit well in order to stay in place without any fuss so that you can enjoy your time at Royal Ascot. We make hats to fit the client. All of our one size designs are available in a range of band widths, elastics and wire frames - mostly with combs for extra security. We choose the method that suits each design best for balance and fit. We are always happy to change the fitting method according to personal preference. Hair styles can play a big part in this decision.

Should one choose the hat or the dress first?!

This is BIG question. As a milliner, I would say the hat comes first of course. My Favourbrook friends would vote for the outfit first! The beauty of Favourbrook is that everything is available in one place. From experience, it's so much easier when you can see the whole look together. Colour matching is easier with everything in the same light and it saves time. Like Favourbrook, we are able to make adjustments to the designs that are available in the store, as well as offering consultations for made to measure headwear.