Fashion Friday – Rachael Henson Millinery

A fabulous Milliner who showcased for the first time at our event was Rachael Henson Millinery.

Having recently won the latest Millinery Association of Australia’s Design Award 2018, we were elated to secure Rachael to showcase.  Her winning piece was a knock out, showing such style and grace. Rachael expresses her work as “a combination of feminine shapes, designed to be a blend of elegance with a dash of high spirits”. And that Rachael does. 

Rachael goes on to say “I love helping to create memories of those special moments in your life whether it is a wedding, a special occasion or if you are going to the races”. 

Rachael started making hats in 1998. She studied millinery in Canberra, and then Adelaide, Australia,  On returning to Canberra, she started her own millinery business and has been making hats for dignitaries, race goers, brides (and their mothers) ever since. Her hats have jetted off all over the world, including to royal weddings. Rachael also makes head wear for theatrical productions.

In 2015 Rachael was fortunate to work for Phillip Rhodes in Melbourne in his workroom for the spring carnival.  

Rachael says, “A great hat is like a new pair of shoes or a fabulously cut dress or pair of trousers, it will make you walk confidently with your head held . Why does this happen?  I suppose the reason will inevitably be different for everyone, but I suspect the right hat will tap into a part of the personality the wearer likes, and without words, shows this hidden or underused part to the world…. or maybe it just feels good. 

Someone wise and anonymous once said ‘Happiness is a New Hat’. While this could be a bit ambitious, the right hat will certainly make anyone feel special. I’ve seen it.”  

Good luck Rachael Henson into the talents of the millinery arena

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Fashion Friday – Meet the Incredible, Millinery by Mel

What a privilege it is to bring to you a Milliner who has taken  fashions  on the field by storm – the talented Mininery by Mel.  Here is her story brought to you by Thoroughbred Events Australia.

Take it away, Mel ….

A little about me:

My full name is Melanie Atherinos and I am the owner, designer and the creative hands behind my Millinery label – Millinery By Mel.

I have always been a very creative person that loves everything pretty and matching, so millinery is the perfect profession for me.  I have been very fortunate in my life to have had many opportunities and diverse career paths. After leaving school I studies Child Care where I worked for 6 years on the Sunshine Coast before moving to Mount Isa and being given the opportunity to study Marketing and take up the position as Events and Marketing Manager for a large Hospitality venue in the town. After having my son, I was started my own ‘work from home’ business specialising in Costumes and Event decorating.
After several year my husband and I decided a change was needed and we bought a caravan, packed up our family and started on our next adventure of seeing more of this wonderful country we live in.  We spent 3 years travelling around but then decided to return to Mount Isa when our son turned 8 as he wanted a ‘normal’ life again.  Outside of millinery my interest include camping, gardening, anything creative.

A little about my business:  Millinery By Mel

My business is Me, myself and I…. It started as a hobby and with the help of Social Media and the internet, it is now a full time plus business that sends fascinators both nationally and internationally.  In the last month, I have had a dramatic increase in the amount of international sales and I have been sending many designs to countries such as United state, Italy, China, New Zealand, Ireland, England and even Dubai.

Are you from a horse racing family or a fashion family background ?

No – not from either
Before starting to make Millinery, I had only ever been to 1 country race meet and wore a fascinator that I bought off Ebay and stuck a few extra feathers on to match my outfit.
I have ridden a horse once and decided it was better (and safer) for me to admire them in the paddocks. I am fortunate to live only 500m from our towns horse paddocks so I enjoy walking each day with my dog through the paddocks.
My favourite race meets now and definitely the Outback Country Races, you get to meet so many people from all different places and is wonderful to see the effort the ladies from the Stations go to when dressing up.
My greatest fashion belief is that you should always wear what you feel comfortable in – if you don’t feel confident and comfortable in what you are wearing – your true beauty will not shine through.

Have you Always lived in Mount Isa?

I was born in Cowra NSW where I lived for a couple of years before my family moved to the Sunshine Coast where I completed all my school and lived till I was 22. I then moved to Mount Isa for a change of scenery. I have called Mount Isa home for the past 17 years. I love living in the Outback and at this stage have no plans to leave.

Are you single or married with a small family?

I have a small beautiful family consisting of my husband, 12 year old son and a 22 year old stepson. I also come from a small family with only 1 sister. My mum lives in Mount Isa also and is often found helping out in my studio.

My family is my greatest support and fans – followed by my friends. Without these special people in my life I would never achieve my many great successes.
As much as my son says tracing leather leaves and flowers is ‘boring’ he always fronts up to the studio to help when needed. My husband steps in and is a fantastic ‘Mr Mum’ during the busy times and keep the household functioning when I am working long hours.
When did you discover your passion for millinery.
After travelling, I returned to my job as a Marketing Manager and I decided that in my spare time I needed something creative to do. So, I bought a few Millinery supplies from online… little did I know where that first fascinator would lead me to.
For 12 months I continued working as well as making Millinery in my spare time, however the demands of my business became to great and I chose to quit my job and take up millinery full time. Since then I haven’t looked back and I just keep getting busier and busier.
Initially my work space was a table beside my bed in our bedroom, it then took over the spare room and now rent a 2 bedroom unit that is home to the expanding Millinery By Mel Studio.
Did you study or are you self taught?
Learning millinery skills has been a lot of trial and error as well as completing online training through Hat academy. Unfortunately, due to living in Outback Queensland, it can get very expensive and difficult to attend training held on the coast however I was fortunate attend a few workshops including learn skills from Carole Maher and will also be flying to Melbourne later in the year to attend a Louise MacDonald Workshop.
I do look forward to in the future completing further studies and training with well know milliners in the industry. I do not claim to be a Milliner rather just a designer of beautiful headwear, one day my goal is to complete studies in Fashion and Millinery, however at this stage I am enjoying what I am doing.
My favourite material to work with is leather, I love the many ways it can be used and the fact that is it tran-seasonal and can be worn at any time of the year.

The most unique designs I have ever had to make were for a hairdresser for hair shows and were made from many hair extensions.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_media_grid grid_id=”vc_gid:1541132825633-1546ded4-abeb-6″ include=”6246,6245″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Have you been to Melbourne Cup?

In 2016 I attended Melbourne Cup for the first time – we went on a P&O cruise from Brisbane to Melbourne. We had a lovely time in the Home Straight Marquee however this meant we didn’t get to see a lot of the fashion and festivities that Melbourne Cup is renowned for. I hope to make my way back there one day with friends to experience the full week of racing and fashion.

My dream to achieve
To be completely honest – I think I am living my dream (ok maybe my dream has a few more hours sleep in it. LOL)

As I always say…. If you find a job doing something you love, you will never work another day in your life.
This pretty much sums me up, every day I get to go to work and be  paid to create beautiful designs. I am so fortunate to work with a large number of lovely ladies who truly appreciate and praise my efforts. It is so rewarding to receive the glamourous photos of the my clients dressed up for Race days.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_media_grid grid_id=”vc_gid:1541132825643-529b50d6-bfbe-3″ include=”6248,6251″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_media_grid grid_id=”vc_gid:1541132825664-f0bdf9db-2607-1″ include=”6252,6250″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Fashion Friday – New Talent – Natalie Edmonds Millinery

It is so exciting meeting new up and coming milliners and seeing their take on millinery.  With new milliners comes new ideas and today we would love to introduce you to Natalie Edmonds.

Natalie has been learning millinery since 2010 as she has a natural flare for creating and this would help build on her existing textiles and design skills.  Natalie said millinery was challenging and rewarding and there are always something new to learn.  “I’m always researching new styles, ideas, trends and enjoy following the domestic and international fashion houses to see how I can use my talent to suit my client needs.  Millinery also brings peace and order to my often crazy schedule.”

Natalie has participated in workshops with both domestic and international award-winning milliners as she loves building on her skill set and learning new techniques.  Her love has developed for specialising in race day headwear but is enjoying special pieces for mother of the bride/groom, cocktail parties and special functions.

It is with pride that Natalie is working hard for her first Spring/Summer collection to be released at the Thoroughbred Events’ Spring Racing Luncheon ‘exclusively”.  Her main focus is to produce designs and styles that will suit everyone – using beautiful Spring colours to enhance her millinery.

When it comes to making a headpiece Natalie is very much mood orientated.  “Sometimes I’m fascinated by a particular colour, fabric or texture or I will see a shape that I just want to block,” she said.

“I just let myself be guided by the process and enjoy blocking and making trims as I go, sometimes my original idea never eventuates and I end up with something far more magical- which is always rewarding.”

We are all be cheering Natalie on as she showcases for the first time.  Our guests are in a real treat.  Good luck Natalie and continue working on your dream!!!

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Fashion Friday – Kylie Heagney hits Sydney

We are so excited to be welcoming Kylie Heagney to our Spring Racing Luncheon.

Kylie is a Brisbane based Milliner who creates stunning headwear using the finest materials sourced from around the world. Her hats and headpieces are beautifully made with fine attention to detail.

Her millinery has featured in numerous fashion events including the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival in Brisbane and Fashion on the Field events both locally and interstate. Kylie is from a racing family and this is where her passion for beautiful and unique headwear began.

After relocating from Melbourne to Brisbane Kylie decided to pursue studies in Millinery completing her qualifications in Cert II – Cert IV at MSIT, as well as attending various workshops and the hats off to Brisbane Millinery forum. This has given Kylie the skills to combine traditional and modern techniques whilst giving her pieces a unique touch.

And on Sunday 16 September, Sydneysiders have the opportunity to not only see Kylie’s wonderful work but meet her and talk to Kylie about her work and perhaps your style!!!!!

Tickets are on sale now.


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Fashion Friday – Top Line-Up of Milliners Secured for Spring

While it is chilly outside, Thoroughbred Events Australia have been busy securing an amazing line-up of Milliners for their spring event.

Autumn 2018 Milliners

In what was the quickest response to date, all Milliners have been secured for our next event.  You will get to know all these Milliners over the coming weeks.

The venue is also confirmed and we are pleased that the Tattersalls Club are on board again for this exclusive luncheon.  With stunning huge windows overlooking Hyde Park and exquisite decor, this venue is ideal for TEA guests due to such grandeur.  With only a maximum of 80 seats, it will be open to regular attendees first then the public.

Each Milliner brings something new and exciting for Spring.  Between all the Milliners confirmed, you cannot count the number of awards won in total.  So at this event, it will be the people’s choice that will crown this year’s Milliner for Spring 2018 at The Spring Racing Luncheon.

Winner – Kerry McGlone – 2018 Autumn Millinery Award

Tickets will go on sale Monday 9 July for attendees who have previously attended, then to the public on Monday 16 July.

With french champagne being served while viewing the Millinery on arrival, this event most certainly is fit for a Queen.

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2017 Winning Wednesday – Milliner – Carol Watson, Spring Millinery Luncheon


The Winner of People’s Choice Millinery Award – Carol Watson, The Hat Room

Expect Bold and Colourful for this Season

Racing has participants from all different aspects, you can be involved as an Owner, Industry Professional (Jockey/Steward/Stable hand/Trainer etc.) or simply as someone that attends the races either every weekend or once every so often. While we enjoy going to the races for a variety of reasons, for some racing is not about the horses, drinking copious amounts of alcohol or trying to win their millions on Winx- it is all about the FASHION!!!

In the modern era of racing there is such a big focus on race day fashion, including what is in trend and what is a no no. For the gents it is all about picking the right suit, including the colour, designer etc. For the ladies it is about the dress, the shoes, how to have our hair and what accessories to compliment the outfit- however, one of the most important parts to our outfit is our MILLINERY (Gent Tip: these are the head pieces that you see the ladies wearing at the races, commonly referred to as Fascinators/hats). This is where the most important person comes into the equation for a WINNING outfit- MILLINERS! Without the creative flair and inspirations of such talented individuals, people like myself would be without stunning pieces to add to our outfit.

On Sunday 17th September, we held our annual Spring Millinery Luncheon and the attendance was outstanding, including a lovely bunch of ladies who flew all the way from Melbourne to be with us. We were fortunate enough to have 14 amazing milliners from all along the East Coast of Australia show case their colourful creations, while enjoying a scrumptious meal. Here we celebrate outstanding achievements by women in the racing industry and today’s day was Elizabeth Treweeke (daughter of Richard Treweeke owner – to hear about the woman of the moment – Winx) and Lucy Keegan-Attard (wife and right hand woman of Jason Attard Racing).  One of the highlights of the day was the awarding of the People’s Choice award, this award involved the milliners entering a work of art and the attendees voting on their favourite.


Our Winning Wednesday interviewee this week is the lucky winner of the title for 2017- Carol Watson from The Hat Room. We caught up with Carol not long after being crowned the People’s Choice to get to know about the woman behind the stunning piece and to learn about what is on trend and the no no’s for the remainder of the Spring Carnival.

Carol, congratulations on People’s Choice, Let’s get to know the lady behind the very bold and colourful creations.

What was it about racing that got you interested in the industry?

I have always enjoyed the colour and excitement of horse racing. I love how privileged to harness the power of these magnificent animals. I also love fashion. What better opportunity to combine these two passions

When did you get into Millinery and how did you discover your calling for being a milliner?

My husband also loves horse racing so we go to as many race meetings as we can, and I dress up! I used to love creating outfits and tweaking store bought hats to accessorise my outfit. One of my early efforts involved a big Target hat and a very large amount of bright yellow fur! I still can’t believe I wore that thing, but it got me started on this journey.

Did you have to do any special courses/Where did you learn and who from?

Most of my millinery training took place in the millinery studio of Louise MacDonald in Melbourne, she is incredibly generous with her knowledge and a kind and patient teacher. I also attend millinery conventions regularly where milliners get together to learn new techniques from the Gurus and network with like-minded creatives.

Over the last 9 years, I have seen and experimented with many, and mastered a few, diverse and exciting millinery trends and techniques. The most recent was a few weeks ago when I had the pleasure of learning from Ian Bennett, and awesome UK milliner who shared his clever Crystaform knowledge in Melbourne.

Where do you draw your inspiration from when creating your pieces?

My inspiration often comes from a client’s outfit and brief, but I am always playing with materials to see what possibilities exist; other times, I see a shape or subject in an everyday situation and I will try to incorporate that into a design. Obviously there are some important considerations to be taken into account, e.g. wearability, weight, balance and height.

The best part of my job as a milliner is when you see the finished piece on a client with the rest of their outfit and they look and feel fabulous and confident. Confidence is real beauty.

Have you ever created a piece, looked at it and gone “what was I thinking?”

Oh of course, I’ve had my share of disasters, fortunately most of those end up on my own head!
Millinery is one of (if not the most) important feature of a ladies outfit, so what do you see being the trends for the 2017 Spring Carnival and importantly what should we avoid?

2017 is going to be the year of the crown. There are so many interpretations of this trend; Edwardian crowns, floral crowns, metallic jewelled crowns and quirky leather crowns.

This is a flattering shape on most people that is easy to wear. Sculptured feathers are big, and Boater hats and bigger brims are also still appearing in the Fashion on the Field competitions.

They made a TV show with the name “Orange is the new black” however, I would say that Turbans are the new black!

However, I’m a big fan of the big statement hat and nothing completes an elegant outfit better than a statement brim. In terms of colour, we are going to see lots of green and yellow, and florals and black and white never go out of style. This year I suggest adding a clash of colours or patterns to make your outfit ‘pop’.

The biggest fashion faux pas this year is going to the races without a hat!

What can we expect from your Spring Range this year?

My style is bold and colourful and I love a big statement hat. However, the classic elegance of neutral traditional shapes never goes out of style, so I balance my collection with a range of timeless pieces that can be worn year after year.

Guests at our recent Spring Millinery Luncheon had the opportunity on the day to vote for the “People’s Choice”, which was essentially awarded to the Milliner with the most votes on an entered piece. You were lucky enough to be selected as People’s Choice, how did that make you feel?

I was so very honoured and flattered to have my headpiece chosen as ‘The People’s Choice Award’. There were so many great Milliners at the event and lovely pieces entered, so to win was just amazing!

Tell us about the piece you entered and why you chose this to represent you?

The piece is a classic beret shape in nude leather with handmade silk abaca flowers in pastel pinks and greens gold leather accents. The colors are very ‘spring’, and it is finished with vintage French veiling that I purchased in Paris last year.

The Hat Room- is your Millinery based business, how did you come up with the name and what is the mission of your business?

I now have a studio at home, but early on I worked out of a bedroom when my last child left home, hence the name, The Hat Room.

Here is your opportunity if ladies are looking for millinery for the Spring Racing Carnival, how can they get in touch or where can they go to check our your colourful collection?

As well as my Ready to Wear range, I also welcome special and bespoke orders. My pieces can be found on Instagram @thehatroom, or on my Facebook page, The Hat Room.

We would like to congratulate Carol again and extend our appreciation to all the Milliners that gave up their Sunday to showcase their collections, not to mention, to all the ladies that also took the time out of their weekend to come along to view the collections, make new friends and catch up with others and our sponsors that help us make the event possible- a great weekend had by all!

Interview by Kylie Johnson