Hats Off Luncheon & my adventures in Hat-making!

by Allison Ford

Fashion Art Society (FAS) members were invited to an exclusive preview of the new IMA exhibition “An American Legacy, Norell, Blass, Halston, & Sprouse. “  The collection showcases the works of four Indiana born artists and their impact on each other and the fashion industry.  There were some really remarkable garments on hand, but my favorites were a toss up between a Norell and a Halston.  The tour was followed by a delightful luncheon with guest speaker Dr. Linda McMurray, a retired doctor and engaging woman with a hat collection exceeding 800 pieces.  She gave us many reasons to embrace hats but I think my favorite was “hats give you ‘hatitude’.”  I definitely felt some hatitude that day in my handmade wood veneer fascinator.

I did want to tell you a bit about my hat, seeing as so many people have been asking about it!

I joined FAS early last year as an additional way to network and meet like-minded people.  I also view all local fashion meetings as an excuse to get dressed up beyond my dusty studio jeans and kid chasing shoes.  When I first heard about the Hats Off Luncheon, I knew I would wear something fantastic.  I started scouring etsy for a one of a kind, off the wall, knock your socks off hat but soon realized that my dream hat would cost no less that $250.  So, I

image by polina osherov

decided I would try to make my own hat, something I have never done before.  I was also determined to make my hat out of wood, an homage to my favorite material and a tie in to my jewelry.  At some point FAS posted a photo of a Sprouse dress inspired by Andy Warhol and I knew I wanted my hat to be a loose interpretation of a tropical leaf.  My grandpa had just given me a huge sheet of cherry veneer so I started experimenting.  I cut out multiple repetitive shapes that systematically decreased in size.  I also shaped a little veneer cap to actually hold the leaf shape and secure the hat to the head.  Once everything was cut and sanded I riveted all of the pieces together, lined the cap with leather and sewed a comb inside.  The whole thing is held together with a rivet, glue, and luck.  Turns out they work pretty well.  My hat stayed on all day, and garnered amazing feedback!

I should mention that four new recent acquisitions through the FAS by Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood & Jean-Paul Gaultier were on display at the luncheon.  The event concluded with hat awards in 6 categories including best derby, vintage, and men’s.  I was lucky enough to win runner up for the Phillip Treacy Fashion Forward Award and Best of Show for combining art and fashion! All in all, a great day!

Allison Ford is an independent jewelery designer in Indianapolis, IN. To see some of her beautiful jewelry visit StudioAMF.

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