Page 139 - The Hunt - Spring 2019
P. 139

                  Tiffany Arey at Devon Ladies Day.
seen at daytime events without one of
her signature hats. Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, meanwhile, favor smaller, more intricate headpieces.
In America, milliners like Arey and Schiavio have capitalized on the demand for fashionable, one-of-a-kind hats for the Kentucky Derby and steeplechase events. “I never set out with the intention of do- ing anything more than for myself,” says Arey. “People started expressing interest and buying them, and that’s how I eventu- ally started this side business.”
Demand hasn’t let up since. Every day is a balancing act for Arey, who dedicates evenings and weekends to hats. “It doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for other hobbies or too much socializing,” she jokes.
Local milliners see an uptick in demand come spring—especially for large brimmed hats to wear at Kentucky Derby soirees. “At those parties, people are more liberal in terms of [style]. They’re willing to wear wilder hats,” says Schiavio. “People start contacting me in April, even up until the day before the Radnor Hunt Races.”
As the season progresses, hats pop up
at Point-to-Point, Willowdale and, most of all, Radnor Hunt. “The hat competi- tion at Radnor has grown,” says Schiavio, a contest judge and a committee co-chair for Radnor’s picnic patron area.
At the Devon Horse Show, the hats tend to be more outlandish. “I think it’s gotten to the point where it’s an all-out kind of thing,” says Arey. “While it’s supposed to be strictly a hat contest, there are people who show up in costumes.”
Arey meets with clients in her studio, where many of her hats are showcased. Some of them are available for rent to local clients. She also sees some demand for fall events like Australia’s Melbourne
Cup. “The Australians are doing a great job at really pushing the envelope in terms of both fashion and millinery. It’s just become so innovative,” she says. “It’s an honor when someone reaches out to me for a hat and let’s me know they’re going to be taking it to wear so far away.”
Creating such intricate designs often takes weeks. “Some things can get very, very involved,” Arey says. “I’m mostly making everything with hand sewing, so it’s very meticulous work.”
And despite a milliner’s best intentions, things don’t always go as planned. “The hat tells you what it wants to be as you’re
making it,” Arey says. “You may have somewhere you think you’re going, but your fingers start moving in a different direction because the hat is talking
to you.”
Schiavio’s creative process typically
takes several weeks—and if things aren’t working, she may scrap a project entirely. She, too, works out of her home, juggling her hat making with her family and career. “[Hats are] just completely free—they’re just how I feel,” says Schiavio. “[They let] you be something else for a moment.”
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