Saturday, October 23, 2010

Vintage Millinery: Building an Idea Book

While surfing the Web for vintage millinery images, I came across a photography blog, Paul Ryan Bohman: Fine Art & Photography. Needless to say I was extremely impressed by his photography skills.  Although I loved all of his fine art image categories (portraits, commercial, maternity, etc.), I tried to stay focused on the  fashion photography section of his portfolio, in particular, this vintage fashion show.  Remember, I was not looking for a photographer, but for vintage millinery images.  Still, I lost focus.  After all, this post is about creating an idea book.  But then I realized how elegant these ladies were in their hats.  The hats weren't funky, just elegantly simple and classy.  These were not the types of hats I wanted to use as examples for an idea book; but then, maybe I was taken to this site for a purpose.  Maybe these images were telling me to be true to myself.--to create elegant, creative fine art regardless to trends.  After all, I only have to make what I like.  How liberating!  Now, on to the idea book.

One of the requirements for my first millinery classes was to compose a millinery idea book.  It was explained that the purpose of the book was not to copy the collected designs but to improve on them, to "make them your own."  The book was also to be used for designer's block--just by looking at a design could spike one's creative juices.  Today, my idea book resides on my computer.

I have noticed that some "designers" are so accustom to copying others' designs that they are paralyzed until a creative designer creates.  So what happens to the brain when it's not exercised, not pushed to its limits?  It does not grow, and thus the copier will always have to copy. 

I link to or follow a site because I feel that its content offers fine examples for additions to an idea book.  So, for those new to millinery, check out the links to the right on this site, and also check out some vintage millinery books.   You may find that the saying, "There is nothing new under the sun." is true.  To prove this point, check out some of the fashion plates from the 20s (perhaps even several years before) and 30s--top hats, picture hats, caps, cloches, beret, turbans, and more.  However, this does not stop one from creating something fresh from something old, vintage or not.  Do the research; have fun.


  1. I could not agree more on the subject of copying! I think that all creative minds get their inspiration from several diections: sometimes inspirations comes out of nowhere, but more often one needs to make an effort to find it: this includes research, books, often visits to the library, intentional travelling, knowledge of the histoy of costume .It is a full time job that comes with being a milliner. Thank you for the wonderful post!

  2. I agree Anya, and that's also why I believe in continuous learning.