Vivienne Morgan Millinery

Wearing hats is now more popular than it has been for years Discuss this article

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Wearing hats is now more popular than it has been for years. Angela Beitz caught up with Tori Single of Vivienne Morgan Millinery to delve into the world of hats and fascinators.

When Tori Single started making headpieces for friends she soon became hooked. Now with her own line she has taken millinery to a new level, creating beautiful pieces to suit the individual.

How long have you been doing millinery and what got you interested?
I have always had an interest in fashion and design, and I love creating things. I used to make headpieces to wear to weddings, and then friends started asking me to create hats for them. For one birthday, whilst still in London, my mother gave me some millinery lessons with Rose Cory, milliner to the late Queen Mother. Rose is a wonderful lady and taught me all the basic millinery techniques. After that, I was absolutely hooked and started making pieces in any spare time I had. I recently launched my Vivienne Morgan Millinery line after strong encouragement from friends and family.

Where do find your inspiration?
From anywhere and everywhere! I love hunting around antiques and flea markets for vintage trimmings and materials. There is an interesting man in Alfie’s Antique Market in London who supplies jet trimmings to the West End theatre productions, and I bought my first wooden hat block from him. The pattern, colour or era of a piece of material or trimming can provide inspiration for a hat. In terms of the shape of a headpiece, I get inspiration from travel, beautiful architecture and everyday objects. Gossip Girl and Vogue are my style barometers. Steven Jones and other leading milliners are also a constant source of inspiration and reminder that there are no rules when it comes to millinery.

What are some key trends for 2012?
In terms of colours for spring/summer 2012, we will see sorbet pastels in blue, green and yellow, but also strong brights such as shocking pink and coral reds. There are also always elegant combinations of black and white/nude on show at the Dubai Cup. My 2012 collection will use opulent detailing such as lace, sequins, feathers and diamanté to reflect the trends on the catwalk. Despite Ascot’s recent ban on fascinators in the Royal Enclosure, I think the modern trend of small hats or substantial fascinators is here to stay, as they are so versatile and comfortable to wear, especially in hot weather (and also avoid the need for air-kissing); whatsmore, the Duchess of Cambridge has embraced them. For me, however, the most exciting thing about race day is that you will see a kaleidoscope of colours and a myriad of styles.

Different shapes and styles suit different people. What advice would you give?
There are some styles that suit most people. As a general rule, if you have a small face or are vertically challenged, don’t choose a traditional hat with a crown and large brim, as it will swamp you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to choose something small – sweeping, asymmetrical headpieces (with some height that will give you a few extra inches) look great. A taller person can wear a bigger brim. If you don’t have perfectly symmetrical features (who does?), headpieces that perch on one side of your head are very flattering, and a birdcage veil can soften the look beautifully. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable and confident wearing it, and that you enjoy the experience.

Where do you source your materials from?
Whenever I travel I am always searching for haberdasheries and vintage shops. The best material shops in London are on Berwick Street. In Abu Dhabi, Cairo on Khalifa Street has a good selection of silks from India, and I often go there to source material to match a customer’s dress. Madinat Zayed Shopping Centre in Abu Dhabi also has a couple of shops selling some fabulous opulent fabrics such as lace, sequinned and embroidered materials, and there are also some great haberdashery shops behind Electra Street. I recently found a huge array of vintage millinery veiling in stunning colours and patterns in a shop in London, which is a very rare find. I was so excited that I had to go back the next day for some more!

Do you make hats and fascinators for other occasions apart from the races?
Hats look great on all occasions, but weddings and races tend to be the most traditional events to accessorise with a hat. My customers often want to attend a wedding in the UK or Australia, for example, but don’t want to wait until they land to try to find a hat to match their outfit (be it to match the dress, the shoes or the handbag). There are only so many styles or colours of dresses in the shops each season, but with a bespoke headpiece or hat you can really make your outfit personal, unique and memorable. As well as ready-to-wear pieces, VMM offers a bespoke service (including bridal pieces), giving you the opportunity to provide input right from the initial design stage until your unique piece is completed.

What is your favourite piece that you have made?
So far, I think that this would have to be a recent birdcage veil that I made for a bride. I was so privileged to see her wearing it on her special day. She looked spectacular, and as well as complimenting her outfit, the piece really suited her character. It was a real talking point on her wedding day, and the bride and groom liked it so much that she wore it again for a post-wedding lunch – that was really rewarding. Having said that, I truly hope that my best piece is yet to come – the sky really is the limit.
Vivienne Morgan Millinery prices start from Dhs600, email or visit

By Angela Beitz
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

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