Help Susan Dillon of Kitty Mae Millinery kickstart her own run for the roses
A Kentucky Derby look from Kitty Mae Millinery.
Millinery -- real millinery, where hats are made and blocked from scratch -- is a dying art, and nobody knows that better than self-taught Denver milliner Susan Dillon, who markets her completely hand-wrought, sculptural work under the name Kitty Mae Millinery. "I am saddened by the number of people who assume that I simply buy the hats and then decorate them," she says. "It seems that nobody expects anything to be completely handmade anymore, but I am doing my part to keep that tradition alive."
Dillon's dream this spring is to create a Derby Days 2013 collection in time for Kentucky Derby season. The Derby, Dillon notes, "is pretty much the big show for American milliners." And she's looking forward to the challenge: "My collection for 2013 is inspired by street art and graphic design, with lots of bold color combinations and abstract flowers."
See also: - Best Handmade Hats - 2012: Kittie Mae Millinery & Accessories - Denver milliner Susan Dillon makes chapeaus fit for a queen. The Queen. - Dress up your head at Kitty Mae Millinery. It just might stick.
To dream up a truly unique chapeau is costly, though, in terms of both materials and time. "One of the reasons millinery and handmade hats are relatively expensive -- although you definitely get what you pay for when it comes to these handmade works of art -- is that each different style and size of hat requires an entirely different block [the wooden form used to get the shape desired]," Dillon explains. "But since you can combine different brims with different crowns to get new hat styles, each block can increase the variety of styles I can offer almost exponentially."
A good hat block, she adds, can cost anywhere from $100 to $350. It adds up.
But the enterprising Dillon plans to go all out for this year's Kentucky Derby, and to that end, she's launched a Kickstarter with the goal of raising $5,000 by February 12. And for every contribution, she's offering a stylish selection of rewards, from beaded hat pins and handmade silk flowers to hats from the collection and free photo shoots. Here's her pitch:
"I would also like to help bring back 'hat culture' and really just celebrate the art of dressing up by throwing a Kentucky Derby event here in Denver, where we will also show off the Kentucky Derby and Spring/Summer 2013 lines," she explains. Is it time for the ladies to start dressing up again? Visit Dillon's Kickstarter page for more information.
Find information on hundreds of other arts and entertainment events in our online Calendar.
To keep up with the Froyd's eye-view of arts and culture in Denver, "like" my fan page on Facebook.
Get the Arts & Culture Newsletter
Find out about upcoming performances, exhibitions, openings and special events happening in the Denver art and theater scene.