From bridal crowns and tiaras to trendy royal inspired headbands and everything in between, headgear is the hottest new accessory! Genevieve Foddy, an Aussie from Melbourne, is now styling the heads of all the A-listers. Genevieve studied at the London College of Fashion, where she learned all about the specialized skills needed to master the styles of British society millinery. Upon moving to New York, Genevieve talks to us about creating handcrafted hats and fashionable fascinators looking to the races – or a royal wedding!
What inspired you to start your brand?
I’ve always been interested in fashion history and historic costume and am a bit of a royal watcher (they wear so many great hats!). I’m also really interested in preserving traditional craft skills so when I moved to London and had the opportunity to study millinery I jumped at the chance. The more hats I made and studied the more I became interested in taking this very old-school craft and item of clothing and giving it a modern twist, while acknowledging it’s vintage magic.
I moved back to New York in 2013 and worked for a milliner who makes beautiful day-wear hats, fedoras, sun hats. It was an incredible experience to learn that type of hat making and that side of the business but I missed the kind of millinery I had first worked on in London. Bridal and Derby headpieces are very feminine and intricate and require a lot of very fine hand-work and delicate materials. I really like the precision and delicacy of that kind of sewing and wanted to bring that style of headwear to America.
Do you think hats have become more popular in the US lately? Are royal influences at play?
Day wear fedoras and sun hats have always been popular in America – just think of the laid-back, large straw hat California beach look, or edgy an New York street style fedora.
American women are now experimenting more with special occasion headwear which I think is very much due to the influence of the Duchess of Sussex. And it’s a trend that I would love to further encourage!
In the UK women take any formal occasion, such as a wedding, christening or garden party to wear a fabulous headpiece. Hats are a great way to add exciting pop or embellishment to basic outfit and they make you look and feel taller and more confident. There are so many events now, such as the Polo, the Kentucky Derby and the New York spring social season, where a special occasion hat is entirely appropriate, that I think it’s a trend stylish American women can really make their own.
What are your most popular styles?
For summer 2020 I’m seeing a lot of interest in large straw sunhats and small fabric bucket hats. These styles cover most of your summer hat needs, from cocktails by the pool in a large protective hat, to running errands in town with a cotton bucket hat stashed in your bag ready for duty. Ready-to-wear hats, as with clothing, are speaking to the customer’s desire for form, comfort and practicality, with a stylish edge.
Popular special occasion and derby styles are leaning towards large classic shapes in neutral colors, with sculptural elements such as large bows and dramatic flowers. These are beautiful, timeless pieces that can be worn time and again with a variety of outfits, and always looks both classic and fresh.
The most popular trend in bridal pieces at the moment, and also a significant trend in special occasion hats, is a modern reinterpretation of the headband. 2020 brides can choose from delicate, narrow bands with tiny pearls and petals to statement-making ‘hat-bands’ – large, wide and tall headbands, popular on the European runways the last few seasons. Made in a variety of seasonal colors, hat-bands are a great choice for special occasion dressing if you do not wish to commit to a full, large hat.
Why are hats the hottest new accessory?
Hats are a perennially classic accessory that will never go out of style. They add instant personality and flair to any outfit, provide sun and heat protection and are the perfect conversation starter! There are so many fresh, new shapes, styles, materials and colors available now that it has never been easier – or more fun – the find the perfect hat for every person and every occasion.