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In the Studio with milliner Angela Menz...

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Every time we go into the studio of our milliners we get an exclusive (and very privileged!) glimpse into the mirror of their millinery personality and character - the colours, the styling, the materials, the light, the way of working all unique to each artist, and are qualities that seem without exception, to be reflected wholeheartedly in their millinery style. There's a circular reference of the milliner influencing their surrounds and their environment inspiring them right back. 

Never is this truer than going into the studio of Angela Menz. Her millinery is a joyous feast of colour, fun and humour, which can't help but make you smile inside and out. There are explosions of feathers, unexpected textures and materials and unique shapes, in all her headpieces and personal style, and her studio has that same splash of colour and personality. Mostly in pink!

We love seeing what Angela creates each season, it's always and infectious mix of creativity and fun, so we're excited to bring you her Spring 2015 collection of Modern Classics and Carnival styles, enjoy...!

TEH - We always get excited to see the fruits of your creative endeavours, it's always unexpected and fun, so tell us what's in store for us with your collection for The Eternal Headonist this season... 

AM - I’ve thought about my collection for TEH as being spilt in two for different moods and events. First up is what I’m calling ‘modern classics’ that offer styles suitable for derby and the more chic and elegant woman. The second part is ‘Copacabana’ which is for expressing the fun side of your personality and playing with colour and textures, so both have elements that I love to combine in my racewear.

I have used a broad range of materials including luxury leathers, hand sculpted feathers, sequins, crinoline, raffia and vintage veiling, so have experimented with texture and form. 

TEH - You are well known in the racing fashion world for your unique sense of style, how would you describe it?

AM - My style is overall quite contemporary. I love colour and sparkle, but at the same time appreciate beautiful materials and clean design lines, so mixing creativity and fun with quality design and materials is what I do best!

TEH - Style-wise you are very unique in the Australian millinery scene, but have there been any key style and millinery influences along the way? 

AM - There’s a quote from fashion designer Vivienne Westwood that I love ‘You have a much better life if you wear impressive clothes’. I’ve always found this quote to be true when it comes to style.

I love design that has humour and isn’t always serious. If I had to single out one fashion brand it would be Moschino, from Franco Moschino to Jeremy Scott who is now designer for the brand, their work always emphasises all I love about fashion. 

As far as milliners go Stephen Jones is one of my favourites because he has such an impressive body of work and makes pieces that look like art and make you smile.

I’ve always loved those that march to the beat of their own drum in regards to style… those that are a little fearless- even if their aesthetic isn’t one that necessary resonates entirely with me. I like a bit of attitude.

TEH - What inspired you to become a milliner, was it an extension of your interest in fashion design or something that evolved on its own? 

AM - I’ve been going to the races since I was really little as my family was involved in racing. My dad tried to get me to come along with him to the track. As I was interested in fashion he suggested I have a look at the Fashions on the Field competitions. Dad was hoping I’d be interested in the horses, but it was the fashion and social side that I really fell in love with. I grew up in Canberra and before the explosion of online shopping millinery choices were extremely limited, so I started making my own hats. When it came time for me to do a collection for my fashion degree I chose racewear as my theme and everything took off from there.

I always feel excited when I’m at the track and see someone wearing one of my pieces. It’s the ultimate compliment to my work that someone appreciates it and especially wants to wear it at a time when they want to look their best.

TEH - We certainly saw a few Angela Menz pieces trackside last season, so what’s been the proudest moment or greatest achievement of your career so far?

AM - My greatest achievement was winning the National Final of Myer Fashions on the Field in 2011 at the Melbourne Cup Carnival in an outfit and hat I had made myself. My outfit including my millinery later went on exhibition at the National Sports Museum and is pictured in the book ‘Fashion & Flemington’. I feel very lucky that my love for fashion and millinery has allowed me to do, see and be a part of many incredible things. 

TEH - Wow, that's every girls dream! Given Spring racing is in your blood, what is it you love most about the madness of the season?

AM - I love all the fun crazy things you can wear that you wouldn’t necessarily get to wear at any other time. It’s the best excuse to go out and buy lots of pretty new things, experiment and have fun with fashion.

TEH - You certainly have fun with fashion trackside, so what are your trend predictions for this year?

AM - I think smaller pieces will continue their reign this year for the majority of race goers. They are easy to wear and be social for a day at the track or at one of the many spring racing luncheons. They also aren’t so limited to just being worn for the races and can easily be worn away from the race track. Percher style headpieces will be seen at the track for those wanting to make more of a statement.

TEH - Now given you're so experienced in creating excellent outfits with millinery, what’s your top tip for using headwear to perfect your racewear outfit? 

AM - Try lots of things on and play with angles. A hat that is plonked straight on the head might not look good, but when you tip it up and try out different angles it will come to life.

Go for the piece of millinery you love, not the one you think you might wear again. You’ll feel much happier wearing a piece of millinery that excites you and gives you pleasure to own, and don’t be afraid to experiment with colour and contrast. Your hat should be the cherry on top so it’s ok for it to stand out. 

TEH - I'm excited to hear your answer for the next question - what would be your perfect millinery ménage a trois? I.e. If you made the hat, who would have designed the outfit, and who would be wearing it?

AM - I would love to see my hats on a K-Pop or J-Pop band. To turn the Tv on to Pop Asia and see my hats in a video clip would be the ultimate.

Otherwise I’d love to see a hat on Kate Middleton dressed by Alexander McQueen because she’s royalty and he was fashion royalty. I went to the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the V&A and felt teary looking at his work because it was so beautiful.

TEH - Kate Middleton - now I wasn't expecting that, but I'd love to see her in Angela Menz... and Jeremy Scott! Finally, what’s your favourite tune to get your millinery juices flowing?

AM - It just has to be Lady Gaga - Lets Dance!

TEH - Now I couldn't have picked a more perfect track for your myself, I would love to see your pieces on Lady Gaga she would totally rock them! Thanks so much for your time today Angela I really appreciate you letting me inside your studio, and we're super excited to have your joyous millinery in our store again this year. 

You can buy Angela Menz's millinery from our webstore here

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