Virna is a super talented milliner with an intense passion and pride for her craft. Creativity, a sharp eye for detail and a confident individuality all shine through in Virna’s work.
Virna has worked with influential milliners such as Phillip Treacy and has significant experience in the world of film and theatre including working on award winning productions such as Disney’s Lion King and Aladdin.
Whether creating one of a kind show pieces or individual wedding headwear, each piece is uniquely inspired, hand crafted and made bespoke to order using the finest materials.
Over to Virna now to tell us more about her creative art and her business.
Tell us a little about yourself and your business
I am a hatter working predominantly in fashion and theatre based in Guildford, Surrey. Having trained and worked alongside leading designers such as Piers Atkinson and Philip Treacy and creating pieces for a variety of West End shows like Aladdin and The Lion King, I have evolved toward making bespoke pieces and ranges for grand occasions and events as well as more intimate, bespoke head-wear.
Whether unique one-off show pieces or themed ranges for wedding ensembles, every hat, fascinator and accessory is inspired and lovingly handcrafted with technical detail, creative prowess and a dynamic imagination.
What motivated you to start your business?
I guess essentially I want to bring a little more theatre and personality into the world; to help envision and encapsulate leading roles, not just for special occasions but to try to define and inspire characters and confidence through what we wear and the profile we project.
I was naturally drawn to weddings for the beautiful theatrics and ceremony. Hat’s are all about the feeling they evoke and the greatest of fashion statements but often over-looked at one of life’s most significant events. Even then, so much styling is focussed on the bride many of the other leading characters are often neglected completely.
My business aims to encapsulate the style and personality unique to every wedding and working alongside planners and stylists help develop and accentuate a theme that can be applied throughout, with master piece’s for the bride AND groom, bride’s maid’s fascinators and page boy’s button holes.
Tell us a little more about the day to day activities of your business
We have just moved into our new studio in Guildford, Surrey so our day typically starts with a stroll along the river. (It’s so nice having a studio in walking distance!). Once inside, if I’m not completely immersed in a piece or developing a particular range I’ll beginning by sampling and experimenting with new materials.
I love researching particular subjects for new ideas and filling my sketchbook with cut out pieces of fabrics and weird images and could happily be lost under a pile of fabrics.
My work is so varied it’s impossible to be bored, working up a head-dress for Katy Perry before accenting a bejewelled turban; it’s easy and fun to jump between projects to keep things exciting.
If our readers were to order from you, what can they expect?
Certainly something slightly eccentric, quirky and meticulously made but also hopefully something more than just material. I have to get to know a little of my customers, who they are and want to be so there’s almost always some tea, cake and good conversation.
How can couples judge if a company is the right fit for their wedding?
I think they should agree with the aesthetic and philosophy of the company and go with their instinct, find a designer that will make them comfortable and make them a part of (all the best bits of!) the creative process.
The bigger picture – does your business offer goods/services outside of the wedding world? Tell us more
I am still very involved with theatre and have a new Disney show I’m looking forward to working on. Given my experience in theatre I naturally work with a lot of performance artists from a variety of backgrounds including some burlesque and more provocative acts which has lead me to developing a range of fetish-inspired headwear.
I have also been running craft classes for a few years which, now we have the studio space, am looking at setting up workshops for aspiring milliners.
What have you got planned for the next 12 months?
I have a few fun collaborations with fashion and underwear designers lined up along with some exciting cat-walk shows but for the most part this summer is going to be all about weddings. Especially my big sister’s who’s going to be getting married back home in Italy at the end of August. She is going to need something spectacular!!
And finally, what or who inspires you and why?
This is always a tough question as it’s everywhere but I’m often inspired by geometry and the mathematics of nature. I love clean lines, complex shapes and contrasting textures.
Mother nature is the consummate designer, tirelessly working and reworking, never giving up as her vision is continually perfected, creating something so natural and organic, completely masking the years of evolution and coding that has gone into it to ultimately merely suggest a momentary instance of absolute beauty.
All images courtesy of Virna Pasquinelli