The Wylde Interview: Victoria Grant
THE HAT HALL OF FAME
Quirky and gallant, Victoria Grant’s take on millinery adorns both high society and high fashion. Hatting celebrities worldwide, the famous London-based milliner has dressed the most stylish heads in fashion, her pieces worn by Kate Moss, Madonna and Rihanna
INTERVIEW BY THEA LEWIS-YATES,
WORDS BY LAUREN RAE
Victoria Grant's bold creations have appeared on magazine covers worldwide, including Vogue and Numero. Even with the dazzling success of her career, she continues to create timeless pieces with an air of sophistication and quirkiness.
Victoria is currently hosting an exhibition entitled Hat Hall of Fame, to display her most iconic pieces and also a number of never-before-seen designs. The exhibition is being held at London's Hotel Café Royal and runs until the 2nd March.
Passionate about all things quintessentially British, Victoria sat down with Wylde to discuss the exhibition, her aspirations and just how she survives fashion month.
Tell us about your LFW exhibition Victoria...
I'm really excited about this exhibition. The Hat Hall of Fameshowcases a selection of my most signature pieces. Featuring hats that have been worn by icons including Madonna, Beyonce, Gaga, Rihanna, Cara Delevingne and also my signature crystal helmet Athena, which was shot by Karl Lagerfeld. It shows highlights from three of my favourite collaborations, one being with artist Antony Micallef. There are three pieces which I have sculpted from straw and buckram - which Micallef has hand-painted. Also my collaboration with the stained-glass artist John Reyntiens, with whom I created a stunning stained-glass crown, using his traditional techniques and mixing them with a contemporary fashion twist. And then, of course, my recent collaboration with jeweller Stephen Webster - using his fine jewels on my couture hats, and Seven Deadly Sins hat pins on my signature Kiss berets.
How did you get into millinery?
It was a fabulous accident! I have always loved creating with my hands, from sculptures to installations, playing with light, customising clothes and designing interiors. I stumbled across hats when customising a hat for a shoot - and in a moment of epiphany, decided that hats would be the perfect medium within which I could express all my ideas and visions. Hats are the perfect stage to outlay my imagination - with hats you are allowed to create theatre and fantasy with no boundaries. They just bring so much fun and glamour into every day!
Your hats have been featured in so many iconic publications - does it still excite you seeing how stylists interpret your aesthetic?
Always! When I release a piece into the hands of another creative, I’m always excited to see what context they give it. The stylists, artists and photographers we work with are all at the top of their game and massively talented, so seeing the visions and stories they come up with is a total treat. It just shows how many lives the hats can have. I wish I was one of my hats!
Describe your signature style in 3 words.
Seductive, Elegant, Mischievous.
In a world where dress codes are ever more relaxed, how would you encourage women to invest in a hat?
I think people choose hats to accentuate themselves and bring something unique and less formulaic to the way they dress. Hats can really express your character and they allow you to explore different roles and sides of yourself, from formality to theatre. They can be fun, provocative, decadent or just quintessentially chic, it depends on who you are, or how you style them.
You've collaborated with celebrities throughout your career - who would be your next dream client?
I think it's time our Hollywood starlets returned to wearing hats... this is my mission!
Your designs are typically witty, naughty and always have an element of subversion. Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere! Mostly daydreaming, I constantly have miniature movies and visuals running in my mind, I guess my work just comments on my reaction to my surroundings.
Typically British motifs run throughout your work - punk, the monarchy, union jacks, hedonism. How important is London to your aesthetic?
It will always be at the centre of me. I am crazy-in-love with London. I love the diversity and the heritage, the contradictory architecture and the clashes of culture. It's colourful even when it's raining, thank God!
Of all the LFW brands, who would you love to collaborate with? Hmmm, that's a hard one because there's so much talent here, there are so many styles to play with and I’ve never considered my work to fit only one. But I always love Alexander McQueen, purely for the exquisite unrivalled theatre.
How do you survive the madness of fashion month?
Victoria Grant 'Hat Hall Of Fame' - The Club at Hotel Cafe Royale until March 2nd, 2016. Admission free