In case you hadn't noticed yet, I have a bit of a thing about Millinery.
I mean, the kind of Millinery that really stands out from the rest; beautiful, vintage style with a modern, contemporary twist; bold, yet elegant creations ~ statement pieces that draw the type of admiring glances from passers by that inject you with that sense of confidence and knowledge that your chosen accessory has transformed your entire outfit into something totally knock-out.
I came across Uma Turan through Facebook, and as soon as I saw her exceptional creations, I was in love, captivated by everything I saw…
All Imagery Copyright (c) 2010, Merry P
"Ever since I was a child I loved making things. I used to make outfits for my dolls and made knitted headbands and little purses for my friends. When I was about eight years old and living in Turkey, I remember my mother used to tell me off for using her make-up and for putting it on the neighbours' children (particularly if they were from a religious family!). I moved on to drawing for a few years influenced by my mother’s very good artist friend, Fusun Gulen. When I moved to London I found all these fantastic museums and courses and started my designing course at Kensington and Chelsea College."
"I always loved theatrical costumes and over the top dressing up, particularly headpieces. So when I came to London I started studying sculpting, which I really enjoyed, but while I worked with clay, the colours, feel of fabric and the sparkle of jewels were missing. Finally I decided to make hats.
I studied theatrical millinery from Jane Smith who has made hats for many films including Harry Potter, Atonement, etc. And I was also fortunate enough to learn from Ian Bennett who is a fantastic teacher specialising in feathers. I finally completed my HNC at the Kensington and Chelsea College with Kirsten Scott who was formal milliner for Karl Lagerfeld. I then went on to work for celebrity milliner Stephen Jones. It was dream come true to work with such a great milliner and a wonderful person about whom I had only read about in my millinery books!"
"I love the 1950’s glamorous look ~ When I make a hat I always imagine that era’s models like Dorian Leigh, Dovima or Georgia Hamilton wearing my pieces…"
"When I design I do get inspired by anything that makes me happy and excited or sad and thoughtful; love, emotions, friends, art, travelling, history, flowers, objects, (particularly special jewels and gold work), photographs, opera, music and more…it can be anything…"
"I work with a variety of materials. I absolutely love working with silk, felt, diamontes and crystals."
"I absolutely love making bridal headpieces. The joy that goes into creating the headpiece and using one handmade silk petal after another is just unexplainable. I think they make you look very elegant and innocent while you are walking down that aisle! I made quite a lot of bridal pieces last summer working with my clients and to ensure that each piece is tailor-made to their specification."
Prices for one of Uma's designs start from about £120 for the the more simple creations, up to around £1,800-2,500 for the very elaborate pieces with luxurious materials. Uma also only works by appointment from her London Studio.
"Some people find that hats are a very expensive fashion accessory and most are interested in buying one to match a particular dress. I feel that buying a hat is more like an investment that you make in your image and it doesn’t have to exactly match with one of your dresses. What is important is that the hat goes well with your personality and that it gives you the freedom to wear it with a number of dresses and on different occasions in a number of ways. One little hat pin or a little change such as adding a broach or a feather can make it work for you with a particular dress."
Uma pictured below in her design studio…
Photograph Copyright (c) 2010, Corin Ashleigh Brown
Uma says she plans to work with a couple of young clothes designers for next year for the London and Paris Fashion Weeks – whilst simultaneously working on the designs for her new collection. I can't wait to see it!
"I just took part in Tart Event organised by David Carter at the beautiful 40Winks Hotel and am also planning to take part in March again. In mid-April I will be exhibiting with an artist friend at the Russian Club in London. I will also be displaying my work at the Spirit of Spring Fair in May."
Uma, it has been a complete pleasure to get to know you and interview you for Love My Dress – thank you. I look forward to featuring more of your beautiful creations in the future.