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Millinery Guild Highlights Local Hat Talent

By Kelsi Smith
Published: Tuesday, October 19, 2010, at 01:18PM
Millinery Guild of Southern California's 'Hollywood Legacy' Show Eric Richardson

Models wear hats by Fanny and June, Carpe Diem and Allison Parson.



Quite the crowd gathered at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel on Friday night to see the Millinery Guild of Southern California's "Hollywood Legacy" runway show, which took place in the hotel's glamorous Crystal Ballroom.

A promised show from current Project Runway contestant Mondo Guerra filled up the front row with Z-List celebrities, relegating the press to the back row. Despite an awkward start from an excessively hammy host, the hats themselves were impressive, well-made and, for this hat-obsessive, extremely desirable.

Phillip Treacy, a world-renowned milliner — though he prefers 'hat designer' — has said that wearing a hat, whilst formerly a way to conform, has since evolved to have the opposite meaning and become a statement of fashion rebellion. It's with that in mind that the work of Guerra and his mentor Montez stand out as true rebellion in the fashion world today.

Guerra presented bedazzled and colorful mousetraps on the runway whilst his mentor Montez took a slightly more sophisticated approach. His outstanding millinery work included a pair of film noir-eque lips complete with nonchalant cigarette and a 40's style hat featuring the words 'C'est ne pas une Chapeau' (This is not a hat) in a playful nod to Magrittes' 'C'est ne pas une Pipe.' Both were wonderful and both were reminiscent of millinery great, avant-garde designer Elsa Schiaparelli.

The fantastic work of Gladys Tamez, featuring birds in their nests — a theme she recently modeled with actress Tippi Hedren of the 60's film "The Birds" — were phenomenal both in execution and theatrics.

Other standouts were the 40's inspired, hand-sewn velvet creations from Downtown's own Diego Castro of California Millinery. Mari of Carpe Diem Hats explored a feminine military inspiration - right on trend for Fall, whilst Allison Parsons (whose models also wore Sue Wong), Bijou Van Ness and Fanny and June harked back to bygone eras of the 20's, 30's and 40's, respectively.

Honored at the show through a filmed tribute was Mrs. Eloise King, a Los Angeles great, and a teacher of millinery who has been keeping hat design alive within the city for over 40 years.

As we have seen the revival of hat wearing gradually approach season after season it is truly wonderful that Los Angeles has such a fantastic representation of millinery talent right on our doorstep. I look forward to seeing more from these both established and up-and-coming designers in the future.

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