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.