Talking Shop

Milliner Erin Saboe doesn’t mince words about being a hat maker. It’s what she does, and that’s that. It all started because she loved hats but couldn’t find a ready-to-wear one that fit her head, so she learned the trade at the top — at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York — and then spent ten years as a handmade hat wholesaler. But mass production was a grind, and she had children to raise, so Saboe recently shifted her focus and opened a specialty hat shop, Go Go Chapeaux, in Cherry Creek North. And her goal now as a freelance headwear hawker? Cover your heads, Denver: Erin Saboe wants all of you, especially the ladies, to put a lid on it.

“In Denver, it’s a challenge to come up with things that are fabulous but not over the top,” she notes of her customers’ taste. “Most women look wonderful in hats, but it takes something a little more understated to get them to put one on.” Saboe’s specialties include wide-brimmed fabric pool hats to shade your face in big style, and she also admits to adoring straw hats and the classic derby shape. The most unusual chapeau she’s crafted was one made from client-supplied elephant hide and bear claws, though she’s almost loath to mention it, out of fear of finding PETA at her door. This fall, she’s knocked out a line of chic reversible wool newsboys in plaid and solid colors, and she’s always happy to reshape or customize any hat to fit a customer’s head...and personality.

“I’m old-fashioned. I’m a little persnickety with my materials. I have a lot of vintage ribbons and feathers in stock, things of a quality that you can’t reproduce anymore,” Saboe says. “And I try as hard as I can to find the best felts and straws,” she continues, noting that really fine hat materials are getting harder to find. But it’s worth it: “I do it because I love hats.” Stop by her shop and you will, too.

Go Go Chapeaux is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday at 290 Columbine Street; go to or call 303-377-3555.
Mondays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Starts: Nov. 3. Continues through Dec. 24, 2008

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd

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