British Craftsmanship: The Milliners

Hats off to these great London milliners – carrying on a great British tradition of creativity and, occasionally, eccentricity in the headwear department. And whether your taste is whimsical, wild or just plain alluring, they have a hat or headpiece to ensure you stay ahead of the crowd

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Whimsical and fabulously original, Awon Golding is one of London’s most talented milliners

Awon Golding

Always divine, sometimes surprising and impeccably made, Awon Golding’s hats give wedding guests and race goers standout glamour. Growing up in India and Hong Kong, where she worked as a fashion writer and editor, she hotfooted it to London to pursue her hat-making dream, training in millinery at Kensington & Chelsea College.

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Most Awon Golding hats are made to order, with seasonal collections at Liberty and Fortnum & Mason

Awon interned with Edwina Ibbotson and made accessories for TopShop, before establishing her London millinery studio. Much of her work is made to order, although she produces seasonal collections and is stocked at Liberty and Fortnum & Mason. Having featured at London Fashion Week’s Headonism (curated by Stephen Jones) and received a heartfelt thank you from high-profile fan Lady Gaga, Awon has most definitely arrived in star hatter circles.

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Edwina Ibbotson’s London atelier makes hats and bridal headpieces to order

Edwina Ibbotson

With a reputation for impeccable craftsmanship and style, Edwina Ibbotson has been a go-to for over 20 years if you want a hat designed around your style and the occasion (many of her clients return year after year). Her bridal pieces are simply exquisite and she also designs beautiful hats for mother of the bride and guests, working with leading London designers such as Suzannah. She trained at both New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and London College of Fashion. Pretty much everything is made by hand – from her wooden blocks to hand-dyeing the majority of fabrics and trims.

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Edwina Ibbotson’s fabulous statement hats are perfect for wedding guests

While she’s known for creating some real statement pieces, the work she creates for brides and wedding party at her Battersea atelier is extraordinarily delicate and romantic. Some clients even work from head down – getting Edwina to create a couture piece and then choosing the rest of the outfit – a great idea if you want a real statement piece. Notable hat-wearing clients include Pippa Middleton, so with one of Edwina’s designs you know you are going to cut it in the style stakes.


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Lizzie McQuade makes sculptural headpieces that are always flattering and her designs often feature in international magazines and on the catwalk. Photo: Jessie Lily Adams

Lizzie McQuade

Lizzie McQuade is a Scottish-born and London-based hatmaker. You may well have seen her work in Dazed and Confused, Vogue (UK, Italy and China editions) or on the catwalk because she creates divine fantasy pieces that stylists simply love. Her trademarks are unusual trims and embellishment and clever dyeing techniques; she works with a variety of traditional and modern materials – from straw and felt to latex – in order to create sculptural pieces that are always feminine and flattering, sometimes a little bit quirky.

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Lizzie McQuade’s exquisite wedding headpieces typically take four weeks to create and are designed in close consultation with the bride. Photo: Natasha Brown

For brides, she can create everything from a headpiece to a fabulous hat or fascinator to commission, with most pieces taking up to four weeks and involving an initial consultation and a fitting at her east London studio. While many of her catwalk and fashion pieces are fabulously bold, her work with brides includes really beautiful and whimsical pieces.

See our pick of S/S 2016 bridal heels