I've been wearing hats as long as I can remember. As a kid, I was always running around with something fun and crazy on my head. As I got older I started collecting vintage hats and clothing, it was a natural progression I guess.
I'm not sure, but I think Christian Dior said this: "I think that in town you cannot be really dressed without a hat. It is really the completion of your outfit and in another way, it is very often the best way to show your personality. It is easier to express yourself sometimes with your hat than it is with your clothes. Hats are important!" And that he says a hat is one of the best ways to show your personality. And he goes on to say that hats are the quintessence of femininity and are such an efficient weapon of coquetry!
My authentic vintage netting hat collection is growing slowly.
I added a wonderful mini top to my collection last month - and guess - it was a gift from my dear Anya Caliendo from New York!!! But who is Anya? If you want to know - please continue reading...
|Authentic vintage hats. The one on the bottom left is made by my lovely lady Dolly von Sucre - from authentic vintage materials.|
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed opening the beautiful package. I felt like it was my birthday! You do such beautiful work Anya!
It's really pleasure to own and wear.
I love her hat boxes too!!!
She is a milliner.
A word that is not known by many people nowadays, or maybe just a forgotten one.
A milliner is a designer of women’s hats.
This term was originally used in the 18th-century to define the travelling haberdashers from Milan, the so called “millaners”, who made the finest womenswear of the time.
Every village of England used to have a milliner, until the 1960's when the attention on voluminous hair made people forget about hats.
Headwear for women began in the Middle Ages, first as a necessity as it was ordered by the Church to cover their hair. Later head coverings turned into a status symbol, according to the type of hat worn as well as a fashionable accessorize.
The use of hats became less popular during the Second World War, for practical reasons and since then hats have slowly lost importance in the fashion panorama.
Recently, thanks to various royal weddings and the advent of extravagant pop stars the hat has made a new debut on the catwalk and milliner is being rediscovered as a profession.
Russian born, Anya Caliendo is the epitome of old world romanticism with everything from her obsession with black and white photos of royal families to her chosen profession of couture millinery.
Her atelier must be filled to the brim (pun intended) with treasures destined to be worn by the city’s most elegant women. In addition to making everyday wear hats she also designs for theatrical productions, fashion photoshoots and runway shows.
Couture milliner Anya Caliendo runs her own atelier in New York, having learned the art of millinery in London from two legendary names in the field, Rose Cory and Stephen Jones. She worked on the creation of hats for the collections of Jason Wu spring/summer 2010, Donna Karan spring/summer 2010, Kinder Aggugini spring/summer 2010, Comme des Garçons spring/summer 2010 and John Galliano spring/summer 2010. Her fabulous hats have graced the pages of renowned fashion magazines, such as this month’s Vogue Mexico.
I have never seen hats more beautiful and more elegant and more Ooo La La than Anya's.
Here are some photos (me wearing the hat made by her, the costume is created by me). Here is a short interview I've done with a modern day milliner with old world beauty. Enjoy!
Idda: What is your unique story?
Anya: My story is really not that unique at all. Just like so many immigrants before me, I came to the US in search of American Dream. I landed in New York almost 12 years ago without having a slightest idea where I will end up being or how my life will turn out to be in a new Country. I had 20 dollars in my pocket and a wagon of stubborn certainty that if I will work hard I will succeed. I fell in love with Fashion and when the time came to choose direction, I chose millinery - hat designs. I spent years trying to master my passion into perfection. I was lucky to have the best teachers one can possibly dream of. In 2008 I registered my brand "Anya Caliendo. Couture Millinery Atelier" and in 2010, only 2 years later, I opened my own Couture Millinery Atelier where I work and create hats every day. I suppose, I am a lucky girl, but "luck",per say, has very little to do with it because "the harder I work, the luckier I get."
Idda: Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
Anya: I discovered that inspiration is something that lives everywhere I look: in people who surround me, movies, books, theater, rain, cup of coffee, the color of the sky, remote memory that surfaces out unexpectedly out of the corner my mind, old photographs - there is really no limit to the sources of inspiration. All you need to do is open your heart to the world.
Idda: What have been your greatest challenges as a designer?
Anya: There were so many of them! The greatest challenge, I would say, was to learn how to combine design aspect and business aspect of what I do. Add to it learning how to operate a very unique business in the context of modern fashion market, while staying true to my vision and finding my own audience. I have made several mistakes along the way, but I have learned a lot as a result. In the end, each mistake I made contributed to the strong sides of my brand.
Idda: What materials and techniques do you favor?
Anya: I love working with fabrics both traditional and nontraditional. It all depends on the mood of the hat I am creating: some demand pure Italian silk, some favor plastic or aluminium foil, some ask to be gold plated - I always listen to what my hats are whispering to me. When it comes to techniques, I balance traditional and new. Millinery is such a vast field that learning is a constant mode ever present in my work. Whether I am taking new lessons with the masters who work with furs or have a Japanese teacher travel to my Atelier to teach me unique method of preserving fresh flowers. While traditional techniques will remain the back bone of millinery, new ones have to be introduced frequently in order for the art of millinery to move forward.
Idda: Any exciting projects for the future?
Anya: Yes and, fortunately, many of them. I love a great challenge. Most of the time it arises out of Collaborations with unbelievably talented people. Right now I am working on creating a very special editorial order for one of the most talented stylists I have ever worked with Sissy Vian. There is also a production of a new Collection which will be very special (can not go into more detail, but it has an amazing destination!). There are collaborations with several magazines, photographers, designers - all at the same time. Nothing is more interesting than this. I am very blessed this way.
Dita Von Teese wearing "Louboutin Lover" by Anya Caliendo Couture Millinery Atelier
PREPARE FOR A TRULY AMAZING JOURNEY AND VISIT ANYA CALIENDO'S FABULOUS COUTURE MILLINERY ATELIER
18 FIRE ISLAND AVENUE,
BABYLON, NY 11702
TUESDAY - FRIDAY 10 A.M.- 6P.M
SATURDAY 10 A.M.- 4 P.M.
Thank you so much for reading!
Sending you love,
Anya Caliendo and Idda van Munster