Tuesday, March 22, 2011
People think I must be a skilled milliner because of the three hat-making classes I organise every year, but the truth is I wouldn’t know where to begin. Fortunately, though, I know a Man Who Can! Enter Dillon Wallwork, a milliner who oversaw the design and production of headgear for HM Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana amongst others and who has been the millinery tutor at Chateau Dumas for the past three years. He’s even designed a hat for Kate Middleton."
Dillon is that rare thing. An accomplished and talented milliner, a patient and thorough teacher and an all-round nice guy – funny, charming and down to earth.
He’s often assisted by Adrian Howard who is the in-house milliner at Fortnum and Mason and the two together make a superb double act. I love my millinery weeks at Chateau Dumas, as much for the fun and laughter as the glorious hats that people make from felt, straw or sinamay. It’s so good to see people return and this year we have 3 budding milliners who’ve come back for a second to learn with Dillon.
So why millinery? Chateau Dumas lies at the heart of France’s hat-making region and it seemed an obvious workshop to run. Simple as that! There are three hat factories locally (among them Europe’s largest) and the very sweet International Hat Festival which takes place every year in July. We shall be taking our students down there again this July to soak up the atmosphere, gather ideas and encourage the inspiration to flow.
Hats off to Chrissie for inviting me to write about millinery at Chateau Dumas. Our prize draw will soon be over – Like to win a place on Dillions Millinery?
See http://www.chateaudumas.net/ for details of the courses. Please leave your prefered cousre in the comment box of the blog to enter the giveaway – the winner’s name will be announced on 1 April on the original blog post here http://bit.ly/hDCR2S .