Spring was in the air on the day when a bright and cheerful array of hats was displayed at Haberdashers’ Hall to be judged for the annual Feltmakers’ Design Award, a competition for up and coming young milliners from schools and colleges in Great Britain and Europe.
This year was an extremely special one, as we were honoured with the presence of the Lord Mayor herself, Alderman Mrs Fiona Woolf, as well as her husband, Nicholas Woolf. Also in attendance were two Sheriffs’ wives, namely Lady Judge and Mrs. Angela Waddingham, and our Clerk, Major Jollyon Coombs.
Judging the competition were Hilary Alexander, freelance fashion journalist; Piers Atkinson, milliner; Carole Denford, editor of The Hat magazine; Past Master of the Feltmakers William Horsman, retired hat manufacturer; Edwina Ibbotson, milliner and lecturer; Past Master of the Feltmakers Eda Rose-Lawson, milliner; Rachel Trevor-Morgan, liveryman of the Feltmakers and milliner and Ian Wright, liveryman and hat manufacturer.
After some deliberation, ably assisted by the gorgeous Jasmine, who always models the hats so well, the results were:
1st Prize of £1,200
Michael Wood of Kensington and Chelsea College for his fairy-tale head-dress of felt flowers, berries and leaves supported by a profusion of wired twigs. Not for the shrinking violet!
2nd Prize of £600
Emily Mabbut of Northampton College for a delightful little chocolate- box of a hat, perfectly scalloped and decorated with black veiling. Very chic!
3rd Prize of £450
Aleksandra Kukula of Northampton College for her dainty little cream hat, festooned with narrow loops and bows in lime green petersham ribbon. Appealing to all ages!
The £200 award for Craftsmanship
Sassa Ann van Wyk of the Fashion Institute of Vienna, who competently blocked a small fluted brimmed hat in grey, decorated with a suede bow. Very 1940s in miniature!
The £200 award for Commercial Appeal
Grazia Anita Yasmin Lang of the Fashion Institute of Vienna for her pistachio felt cloche with punched decoration.
The £200 award for Artwork and Presentation
Sharon Mensah of Northampton College, who produced beautifully designed and presented work in support of a red felt hat.
The £200 award for Innovative Use of Felt
Lewis Murphy of Northampton for a much favoured little gem of a black felt hat, skilfully incorporating leather and bead-work. Exquisite!
This report, on what is a unique day in the Feltmakers’ calendar, would not be complete without mentioning the traditional lunch and the camaraderie around the dining- table.
Once again, after a celebratory glass of champagne, the chef and his team at Haberdashers’ Hall, tempted our taste-buds with a beautifully presented meal, artistically garnished with colourful nasturtiums and pansies. Delicious!
In his address the Master, Simon Bartley, remembered our much missed judge and liveryman, the late, Freddie Fox LVO. Indeed we all missed his presence and were the poorer by the absence of his amusing but always valid comments on the entries set before us.
Nicholas Woolf also spoke, expressing his thanks and congratulations to the organisers, Rachel Trevor-Morgan and Ian wright.
The winning hats will be on display at Mansion House on the occasion of the Feltmakers’ Banquet on June 6th, when the first prize will be presented to Michael Wood.
Past Master Eda Rose-Lawson.
All photos by Amber Grace Dixon