Last week renowned milliner, Philip Treacy, was in town for a personal appearance at Neiman Marcus on Michigan Avenue. As Philip would agree, Neimans is in the business of glamour. And so is he, so it was the perfect match.
There’s no mistake about it, the man loves glamour. And he truly believes in glamour in your everyday life. He loves hats and admits that, no matter how the chips may have fallen, he wouldn’t have ended up doing anything else.
Well, I love hats and I love glamour and to sit down with him was beyond amazing. To try and write about it is actually a little surreal. The whole experience was just… Well, I described it on Twitter as “maybe the most amazing day of my life.” We even tried on some hats!
Now I just have to figure out how to get my hands on one. Hmmm. Anyway…
Of course I asked him about all the current things happening in his life.
We talked about Lady Gaga. She has indeed applied to be his intern and will have to go through the same process as any other prospective intern. A process which Treacy describes as “pretty rigorous.” Basically, if she can sew and she’s good enough, she’s in; if she can’t, she’s out. And Philip makes a point to let me know that she is quite serious about it. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.
And Sarah Jessica Parker? Another SATC premiere hat???
Yes! He is probably, literally, putting the finishing touches on it as I type this. What will it look like? Well, he wouldn’t say. Here’s what he did say:
Well, she does like a choice… Probably I will see her. And then we’ll decide what the hat is. And then I’ll have to make it overnight.
Can’t wait to see it!!!!!
And I was really curious about the shoes he did for Valentino.
Although a seemingly natural progression to move into other areas of accessory design, I was curious why. He told me that the only reason he did it was because [the Valentino team] asked him to. If someone asks him again, we might see more. Here’s what he had to say about the differences between hat design and shoe design:
It’s still a shape. And it’s a point of view. You can adapt your aesthetic to anything because hats are about shape and function and form, and so is everything else.
It’s interesting to hear him talk about form and function and glamour all at the same time. I think many women would consider function and glamour to be mutually exclusive. But Philip most certainly disagrees.
Glamour is a function. Women are becoming less timid… It’s about not conforming. Hats were the conformist’s accessory and now they’re accessories of rebellion. Hats are fun, really. Whether you’re the wearer or the observer, it’s entertainment. It’s all entertainment.
[Women] don’t grimace when they come and try a hat on. They may not want to try a hat on, but then you can sort of surprise them or amaze them or shock them. It certainly brings out a reaction.
And his clients are certainly those who like to elicit a reaction. As he says,
I make hats for the most interesting cross-section of glamourous people in the world, from Prince Charles’ wife to Lady Gaga, from Marilyn Manson to Elizabeth Taylor… There’s something that runs through the minds of all of them. They’re all… Interesting people wear hats.
And interesting people make hats. And he has some interesting opinions, too. His favorite Oscar look ever?
Cher in Bob Mackie. After talking to him, it makes perfect sense that he would love this. This look brought about a discussion about Hollywood dressing. Obviously, Treacy is a big fan of old Hollywood glamour; he is most definitely not a fan of the Hollywood stylist.
I’m not really interested in that kind of boob-tube induced, spaghetti strap, Hollywood dressing. I don’t find that stylish. They all look the same to me… Stylists have ruined [the business]. They make everyone look the same and they make the artists paranoid about not looking the same.
Interestingly enough, while searching for the above Cher image I came across an interview with Bob Mackie from a couple of years ago, and he uttered some very similar sentiments. Needless to say, I did not mention that I am a stylist and that Arlene and I often have a fear that all the women in Chicago will be running around looking like us!
So with all the royalty and celebrities and iconic designers that he’s created hats for, is there one that stands out as his favorite?
It’s always the next hat you’re going to make. So my favorite hat’s going to be Sarah Jessica Parker’s hat for the premiere.
And I can’t wait to see it and his favorite after that. I’m certain he will go on to create many, many memorable and stunning works of art and, hand to God, I will own one someday. He is a master of his craft, an artist of the highest degree, and I’m so appreciative of the time he gave to me and the talent and gift he shares with the world. Thank you, Philip Treacy.
Here’s to glamour! Clink!
SJP image via Daily Mail, Valentino runway image via Style.com, Cher image via google images