Category Archives: Uncategorized

Starting work on my new Spring / Summer 2015 AURELIA Collection

Although it can be very daunting coming up with inspiration for the design concept of a new collection, sometimes it comes to you in a flash.  On this occasion, inspiration has come from a wonderful holiday in The Maldives (lucky me!) where diving every day amongst the fish and coral reefs was a highlight.  The variety of colour and shapes was incredible.  From there, it was a short step to jellyfish, focusing primarily on the organic movement of their tentacles and intricate ‘internal blooms’.

Ultimately, it was the serenity of movement of these extraordinary creatures that got the creative ideas flowing. The name I have chosen for the new collection is AURELIA – aurelia aurita is the latin name for the moon or saucer jellyfish and the saucer shape will be the base for several of the hats. One could also say that aurei (latin for golden) is equally relevant because, after exploring all the vibrant colours on offer, I eventually have homed in on softer, more neutral colours including gold & beige.

I thought it might be of interest to see some of the sketches I made during the design process to give you an idea of how the concept evolves. Early sketches were pretty vibrant as you can see

Early Aurelia Collection sketches
Early Aurelia Collection sketches
Some more!
Some more!


There were loads more pages in my sketch book but I suspect you get the idea.  Jumping forward then quite a bit, here are some more sketches which will be much closer to the hats which will actually be in the AURELIA Collection.  These are monochrome, pen & ink illustrations – but I don’t want to give everything away!  (Forgive the poor quality images with inbuilt shadow!)

010 009 008 007 006 005 004 003 002 001

The plan at the moment is to have 21 hats in this new AURELIA Collection – there may be more if I get carried away.

I am now at the stage of having ‘blocked’ most of the bases – as you can see from the photo below. Once those are complete (almost there), the fun it then comes when I start adding the trims and ‘movement’.

Here I am with some of the early completed bases
Here I am with some of the early completed Aurelia bases

The only hat in the collection that has actually been completed was done so a while ago but it was the first one off the drawing board following that holiday in the Maldives and it was the one that gave me confidence to base a whole collection on this design concept.

First completed hat in the Aurelia Collection
First completed hat in the Aurelia Collection
Close up
Close up



Launching my new MONTY Collection!

My MONTY Collection currently contains a variety of trilbies and fedoras which are styled to be worn every day. I have always wanted to launch a range of such hats ever since I spent a year working in Paris for Maison Michel (Chanel) during my year abroad from university. While there, I was struck by how the wonderfully chic Parisian girls (and guys!) wore hats not just for ‘high days and holidays’ but as part of their everyday attire – in fact, you looked out of place if you weren’t wearing a hat!  Over here, there is a tendency to think of hats only in terms of weddings and Ascot – but why not bring a bit of Parisian sophistication to London and the UK?

Everyday style

Everyday style

Obviously everyday hats should not be overly elaborate and hopefully will be treated like a favourite coat. That said, there is no excuse for them to be dull and boring. The style of hats that sprung immediately to mind were trilbies and fedoras for my everyday  Monty  Collection because these were the sort of hats that I would mostly likely wear. Also, they could be easily adapted through colour and trim to suit the individual. Although the Monty Collection is currently based on trilbies and fedoras, other styles could well be added in the future.

Trilby with Guinea Fowl feathers
Trilby with Guinea Fowl feathers
Small Trilby with Leather
Small Trilby with Leather









One of the first steps in coming up with the Collection was to sample various qualities of felt because this obviously would have an impact on price. However, it quickly became apparent that the cheaper options of material just didn’t look or feel right. I came quickly to the conclusion that, although they cost a little more to make, the higher quality felt was infinitely better and the hats would last far longer. So out went the cheaper felt options!

Fedora with brass and leather
Fedora with brass and leather
Trilby with Peacock Feather brim
Trilby with Peacock Feather brim









Secondly, I didn’t want to be restricted by a single colour of felt / hat and so sampled a variety of different colours. In the end, I decided on 5 core colours for both trilbies and fedoras which are charcoal, dark blue, burgundy, light grey and cream (there is actually a 6th option of navy for fedoras).

Trilby with pheasant feathers
Trilby with pheasant feathers
Small trilby with brass band and bow
Small trilby with brass band and bow









But the real fun comes with thinking of ideas for the trimmings as this is what will give the hats their individuality. To be honest, there appears to be no limit to what can be used for these hat trimmings in terms of colour combinations and texture – I think of new ones every day. The ones illustrated here and in the collection gallery on my website are just a starting point and it will be interesting to see how they develop.

If you are interested in joining the merry band of Monty wearers, do please get in touch
M. 07796 444 315

Making hats for Fashion Week

Over the past few months I have been working a few days a week for the wonderful Stephen Jones and his incredible team in the ‘Model Millinery’ department and have been loving every minute of it!

This department focuses on creating Stephen’s couture and innovative designs which has meant that I have been able to work on some amazing pieces for various designers throughout Fashion Week. Here are some of Stephen’s awesome designs which I have worked on for him –  I just wonder what the next wonderfully mad creation will be!

Thom Browne / Stephen Jones Millinery Fall 2014

'Fox' top hat Thom Browne/ Stephen Jones Millinery Fall 2014
‘Fox’ top hat
'Fox' top hat Thom Browne/ Stephen Jones Millinery Fall 2014
Wire frame ‘Fox’ top hat

Schiaparelli / Stephen Jones Millinery Spring 2014 Couture

Gold leaf headdress Schiaparelli / Stephen Jones Millinery Spring 2014 Couture
‘Real’ gold leaf headdress
Gold leaf headdress Schiaparelli / Stephen Jones Millinery Spring 2014 Couture
‘Real’ gold leaf headdress

Ulyana Sergeenko / Stephen Jones Millinery 2014 Couture

Black beaded cocktail hat Ulyana Sergeenko / Stephen Jones Millinery Spring 2014 Couture
Black beaded cocktail hat

Hat Featured In The Latest Edition of Wylde Magazine

I was delighted to see that one of my hats actually featured in the latest (5th?) edition of Wylde magazine.  The Newstand website has the following to say about Wylde:

Cover of the latest edition Wylde magazine
Cover of the latest edition of        Wylde  magazine

“Hugely impressive, and impressively huge, Wylde is a stunning bi-annual photography, culture fashion and visual arts magazine, with a few fascinating interviews thrown in for good measure. 

The large scale format – it really is impressively sized – gives the exquisite full page photography that forms the majority of Wylde’s content the space to full express itself. Each issue offers photographic explorations of style and fashion – with handy explanations of who designed the clothes in the shoots – as well as more esoteric and shocking subject matters. Gorgeous, strange and a little bit crazy, all in one impressively sized publication”

They go on to say “As well as being an excellent collection of fashion, photography, culture and art, the sheer size of it means that it has other potential practical uses. Say you were stuck on one side of a river and needed to cross it? Simply use an issue of Wylde as an impromptu raft. Need to construct a small fort? Wylde could provide the building blocks of your castle.  We kid, of course, it isn’t actually big enough to do this, but it is still a hugely impressive publication to plonk down on your coffee table and show off to any visitors.”

It truly is a big and impressive publication, especially as it’s A3 size, and the styling throughout the magazine is absolutely amazing. For this particular shoot, my lovely friend, stylist Laura Sophie Cox, was assisting. She and everyone else on the shoot did such a good job producing these beautiful images.

Using the ‘Ethereal’ hat from my Prufrock Collection, a garland of cream roses, red fruits and black was added to complement the outfit they had put together with black & gold embroidered top and black pencil skirt.  The overall result, as you can see below, is pretty stunning and dramatic.

Full outfit in Wylde magazine photoshoot
Full Outfit featured in Wylde Magazine

Sorry that the close-up photo below is a bit fuzzy but it shows the hat in a bit more detail, together with an inset of my standard ‘Ethereal’ hat just to illustrate the sort of transformations that are possible.

Close-up of my 'Ethereal' hat with added garland
Close-up of my ‘Ethereal’ hat with added garland (and original inset)

Anyway, as you can see below, I am now moving in exalted circles – Victoria Beckham designed the skirt!! Mixing in exalted company?!

Working on a new commission

Over the past week, I have been working on a commission for my wonderful friend Louisa Freeman to wear to a winter wedding this last weekend- she looked beautiful!

Louisa wore an amazing orange coat and wanted a bespoke hat to match her outfit.  After trying on designs from my Spring/Summer 2014 ‘Prufrock’ Collection she fell in love with the ‘Evening’ headpiece.  Given the recent wintery weather, Louisa was attracted to darker colours and decided to have the hat made all in black  with  orange quills, providing a splash of colour.

Here are some photos showing several stages in the making process:

Iona Montgomery Millinery - Prufrock Collection 'Evening'
1. Black sinamay button base
Iona Montgomery Millinery - Prufrock Collection 'Evening'
2.  Positioning trim and securing it to the base
Iona Montgomery Millinery - Prufrock Collection 'Evening'
3.  The finished headpiece

All of my designs from the ‘Prufrock’ Collection S/S 14 (below) can be adapted to compliment any outfit.

Iona Montgomery Millinery - Prufrock Collection
Prufrock Collection S/S14

If you are interested in having a bespoke hat made or discussing a commission, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Contact me on:

07796 444 315    or alternatively email

Commission for Tatler

Last week I was commissioned by Tatler to make a hat for an up-coming shoot.  The whole accessories team loved the style of this hat and wanted me to make either replica or a similar design.

Tatler commission
Beautiful black and white cloche made using strips of braided straw

In order to give this classic cloche style a more contemporary feel, I used ivory parasisal straw and black duchesse satin for the trim.

Iona Montgomery Millinery - Tatler commissionIona Montgomery Millinery - Tatler commission

Iona Montgomery Millinery - Tatler commission

I am really pleased with the finished piece.  I will have to wait and see if it makes it into next month’s Tatler – fingers crossed!

Launching my blog!

Well, it is all go at the moment.  Having decided to set up my own millinery company, Iona Montgomery Millinery, I am busy between making hats and getting my marketing presence underway.

My new website,, is under construction with a single holding page at the moment.  The lovely Ally Gilmore from Jack’s Union, a website design company, is currently tweaking the designs and hopefully the main site will be live shortly.  However, I am really happy how it is shaping up.

iona website

Just last week, I got started on a company Facebook page and already have 216 likes which is a brilliant start – thanks everyone.  For anyone who hasn’t found it yet, the link is Rather like this blog, I think the Facebook site will be a really good way of keeping people up-to-date with news about what I’m up to and projects I’m working on.

Iona Facebook Page

Leaving not a stone unturned, I have even got a new LinkedIn page and already 73 kindly souls have deigned to connect with me!  As yet, I’m not hugely clued up about LinkedIn but I am told it is worth doing for businesses.

Iona LinkedIn

And now, also for the first time, here I am with my own personal blog. I have not had any experience at all with Twitter to date but have set up an account and will have to learn how to tweet when I have a spare moment.  All these social media avenues to exploit – perhaps in coffee breaks between making hats!