April 22, 2014

10th Stroll with a Hat – Pick up your hat and join us for a stroll!

Filed under: Millinery trivia and events,Passejada 2014,Passejada amb Barret — Cristina de Prada @ 11:32 pm



On Sunday April 27th 2014, the tenth edition of Barcelona’s Stroll with a Hat will take place, starting at noon on the corner of Rambla Catalunya and Diagonal.

The Stroll with a Hat (Passejada amb Barret), an event open to all hat lovers, started its life in 2005 by the hand of milliners Nina Pawlowsky and Cristina de Prada who have since taken care of its organization. Year after year the number of strollers has increased spectacularly until reaching a record participation of one thousand people in 2013. Anything goes, not only the classic hat, but also caps, turbans, bowlers, fascinators, top hats, etc.

To get a taste you can visit the hat exhibition “Joies al cap – Barrets del segle 21” at Centre d’Artesania Catalunya from April 10th to May 11th at 11 Banys Nous street.

For more details and access to the press kit we recommend you visit the website: www.ambbarret.com


Don’t forget your hat!



El domingo 27 de abril de 2014 a las 12 del mediodía se celebrará la décima edición del Paseo con Sombrero de Barcelona, que empezará en la Rambla de Catalunya a la altura de la Avenida Diagonal.

La Passejada amb Barret de Barcelona es un evento abierto a todos los amantes de esta singular prenda y nace en el año 2005 por iniciativa de las modistas de sombreros Nina Pawlowsky y Cristina de Prada, que se encargan de la su organización. Año tras año el número de participantes ha ido creciendo espectacularmente, hasta llegar al récord de 2013 con más de mil personas participando con su sombrero en la cabeza.  Todo vale, no solamente el clásico sombrero, sino también gorras, tocados, turbantes, bombines y un largo etcétera. Es una manera especial de pasar un buen rato y dar la bienvenida a la primavera.

Para ir haciendo boca podéis visitar la exposición de sombreros “Joies al cap – Barrets del segle 21” en el Centre d’Artesania Catalunya del 10 de abril al 11 de mayo en la calle Banys Nous 11.

Para más detalles y acceso al kit de prensa os recomendamos visitéis la web: www.ambbarret.com


¡No olvidéis el sombrero!



El diumenge 27 d’abril de 2014 a les 12 del migdia es celebrarà la desena edició de la Passejada amb Barret de Barcelona, que començarà a la Rambla de Catalunya a l’alçada de l’Avinguda Diagonal.

La Passejada amb Barret de Barcelona és un esdeveniment obert a tots els amants d’aquesta singular peça i neix l’any 2005 a iniciativa de les modistes de barrets Nina Pawlowsky i Cristina de Prada, que s’encarreguen de la seva organització. Any rere any el nombre de participants ha anat creixent espectacularment, fins a arribar al rècord de 2013 amb més de mil persones participant amb el seu barret al cap.  Tot val, no solament el clàssic barret, sinó també gorres, capells de còctel, turbants, bombins i un llarg etcètera. És una manera especial de passar una bona estona i donar la benvinguda a la primavera.

Per anar fent boca podeu visitar l’exposició “JOIES AL CAP: Barrets del segle 21” al Centre d’Artesania Catalunya del 10 d’abril al 11 de maig al carrer Banys Nous 11.

Per més detalls i accés al kit de premsa, us recomanem visiteu la web: www.ambbarret.com


No oblideu el barret!

April 12, 2014

A hat made of a hat… or what I call a "meta-hat"

This is the hat I made for last year’s  Stroll with a Hat (Passejada amb Barret).

Whether or not to sketch before making a hat is something that is often discussed in the forums. I think it simply depends on the type of hat, and possibly on your working process. I enjoy sketching although I’m not particularly good at it, but it works for me. Many sketches don’t get to become a hat, but I often review old sketches for self-inspiration. From sketch to finished product it’s often a long process with many changes. In this case the hat started as an open hat box, and it was only later on that I decided to add the top hat:


My choice of material for the structure of the hat was “toile gommée”, a very stiff canvas that is sold in France and that is very hard to work with, but that added the stiffness required for the hat box. It’s very hard to sew through, so it’s not my material of choice. It can be blocked because the stiffener softens with steam and water, but it takes muscle!


The hat box is made of tie silk that comes in narrow bolts intended to make gentelman’s ties. I think this silk is what inspired me to make the hat because it just talks hat box to me. The “tissue paper” inside of the box is silk organza (from a leftover piece that my friend Paco Peralta gave me), and the hat is made of silk shantung to match the green cape that Paco made for me.

The most difficult part was the top hat, making sure all stitches where hidden and the fabric was nice and tight. Going “miniature” makes life very difficult, particularly with such a thick material as the toile gommée. But that stiffness of the material is what allowed me to flare the top of the hat with my hands with some water and when it dried it was rock hard.

Meta-hat1Another important moment when making a hat is deciding where and how to sew the elements that make it. I used two plastic headbands, covered with elastic cotton velvet ribbon, and I played a little with the position of the hat…


I wore this hat in Madrid for the Head over Heels event organized by Value Retail Spain at Las Rozas Outlet. Stephen Jones was the mentor of that event and we had the good fortune of getting an inspiring talk from him. I love that he praised those of us (all milliners) that were wearing a hat at the moment, if we don’t wear hats who is going to? And the big surprise? There were a few of his hats on display and one of them was a hat box with hats, how crazy is that?! Here you can see it, on the left, behind the great man himself. Could they be more different and yet spring from the same idea?:


And here I am, wearing the final product, on the day of the Stroll with a Hat, next to my good friend Nina Pawlowsky:


October 1, 2013

9th Stroll with a Hat – 9ª Passejada amb Barret – 9º Paseo con Sombrero

Filed under: Millinery trivia and events,Passejada 2013,Passejada amb Barret — Cristina de Prada @ 9:24 pm

(texto en castellano debajo – Spanish text below)

Nina Pawlowsky and I are working hard at getting things ready for next years Stroll with a Hat (it will be its 10th edition no less), and as we get our hands dirty I realize I did not write anything on my blog about this years edition and it’s been a few months since it took place!

And would you believe it? 1000 commemorative badges flew off our hands and some people did not manage to get theirs! Bottom line? More than 1000 people participated on this years Stroll with a Hat, and it certainly felt like we were a multitude. There were friends that attended and I didn’t even get to see them through the crowd!

As always it was an amazing experience for everyone!

Fotos Passejada 2013

My hat was a whimsical headpiece composed of an open mini hat box with a mini top hat perched atop, I will give you more detains of how I made it in a future blog entry. I also wore an amazing green silk cape, 50’s style, made by my favorite couturier, Paco Peralta.

If you want to see more, take a look at the flickr group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/passejada2013 where some of the participants of the event hanged their pictures.

And the best thing of all?… We had a glorious sunny day!


Spanish text follows – Aquí sigue el texto en castellano:

Nina Pawlowsky y yo estamos trabajando duramente de cara a la próxima Passejada amb Barret (Paseo con Sombrero). Será la 10ª edición y queremos que sea especial. Mientras estamos de preparativos me he dado cuenta de que no había escrito nada en mi blog acerca de la Passejada de este año y eso que ya han pasado unos meses!

Parecerá increible pero 1000 chapas conmemorativas (que regalamos cada año – desde hace 5 años – a los participantes) volaron rumbo a personas ensombreradas y algunos incluso se quedaron sin la suya. ¿Conclusión? Más de 1000 personas participaron en el paseo, y la sensación fue también de muchedumbre pues hubo amigos que participaron y a los que no llegué a ver!

Fotos Passejada 20131

Como siempre una experiencia única para todos!

Mi sombrero consistía en una divertida toca compuesta de una mini caja sombrerera con un mini sombrero de copa apoyado encima, ya os daré más detalles en el blog en un futuro próximo.


Si queréis ver más fotos, os recomiendo que vayáis al grupo de Flickr en la que los participantes han colgado sus fotos: http://www.flickr.com/groups/passejada2013.

¿Y lo mejor de todo? Lució un sol espléndido.

April 23, 2013

Book review: Fabulous Fascinators, 14 fantastic projects from simple to advanced

Filed under: Hat book and magazine reviews — Cristina de Prada @ 10:12 pm


stickerThe printed book “Fabulous Fascinators, 14 Fantastic Projects from Simple to Advanced”, by Kerry Aston, was recently released by Morse-Brown (who are also behind the www.how2hats.com ebooks). I’ve received a free copy from them so I could review it in my blog, which I am happy to do (keep them coming). I loved the presentation upon arrival, with the book wrapped in tissue paper with a big sticker that said” MAKE HATS. TURN HEADS.”

For starters, and just in case you cannot be bothered to read the whole review I will tell you that you will want to buy this book if you are a beginner wishing to learn how to make small headpieces, cocktail hats and whimseys (aka fascinators) out of sinamay. You may even want to buy this book because you need to attend a special event and you want to make a small headpiece for yourself, just that once. You may also want this book if, like me, you cannot help but buy any hat related book on the market.

THREAD AND NEEDLE are central to this book. If you want to make a small headpiece, with this how-to book you are on the right track and I recommed it. Once you get a taste you can move on to bigger things.

Having said this, I will rant for a little while and then get back to the review…



Some of you who know me well, know that I despise “the F word” (and I’m not the only one, really not). FASCINATOR is a word I rarely use. The reason is because more often than not the word Fascinator is used to describe badly made, glued up horrors composed of a bought sinamay base, a couple of feathers, some badly cut veil and a couple of buttons. All of it held up together with hot glue. That sort of “fascinator” makes me cringe (even if it looks nice from afar). Just google hot glue gun fascinator to get an idea of what I’m talking about. I’m not saying you cannot use a hot glue gun in the comfort of your home to glue up together whatever takes your fancy, what I’m saying is that doing THAT doesn’t turn you by miracle into a milliner, a craftsperson or an artist, and that portraying yourself as one and selling those products to the public only means that your are DELUDING yourself and selling a second rate product to an unsuspecting (and clueless) customer. There. I said it.

If you hate my guts for saying what I’m saying, it’s your right to do so. But if you ALSO enjoy making headpieces, cocktail hats and the likes, you should KNOW that there is so much MORE that you can learn and that you can become . You can easily start with this book and move ahead. Instead of hating my guts you should thank me for pointing this out and you should embrace a world of possibilities, because there are a great many resources out there that will allow you to reach your goal and help you become an accessories creator and if hats are your thing, a MILLINER. Bottom line: a hot glue gun is not the way. You are allowed to disagree, of course, in which case we will agree to disagree.

*RANT ENDED… back to the review*


BACK TO THE REVIEW. Fabulous Fascinators is a book written by Kerry Aston, and it includes 14 projects requiring different skills. All projects have sinamay as it’s main material and have plenty of detailed step by step pictures.

Each project has been given a name, and introduces a technique. They’ve been classified as Easy, Intermediate and Advanced. These are the projects:


  • Marcelle: working with veiling
  • Cerys: Moulding bias strip
  • Colette: Moulding bias strip II
  • Courtney: Sinamay flowers & petals
  • Naomi: Sinamay & veiling bows

Intermediate projects:

  • Sophie: Rolled edges
  • Florentina: Feather pom pom
  • Alicia: Feather mount
  • Lily: Sinamay Calla lilies
  • Mia: Working with crin
  • Henrietta: Sinamay disc

Advanced Projects:

  • Stella: Wired sinamay
  • Mirabella: Blocked fascinator
  • Catherine: Your “pièce de résistance”…


The descriptions are detailed and it has been well thought out to make the projects achievable, simplifying some processes but still achieving a good result.

The style of the projects is very much in line with the current high street fashion trends, but if that’s not your thing you can use the techniques to do other things.


On the critical side, I think more care could have been given to the materials list. I believe a more thorough explanation concerning Sinamay would have been welcome considering it’s the main “ingredient” on the proyects. There are many types of Sinamay (plain, textured…), different grades available, and although more often than not it comes pre stiffened, some times it doesn’t. Millinery wire perhaps deserved more of an explanation, since it comes in different gauges, which might cause confusion when purchasing.

Finally Petersham ribbon, is said in the book to be also known as cross-grain ribbon… I believe that is just a typographical error, since it would be gros-grain ribbon, but my concern is that the two are not always synonymous and while Petersham has a scallopped edge, gros-grain (these days) is used to describe a vaguely similar, but straight edged, ribbon that is generally not useful for the purposes of millinery. More often than not “gros-grain” is used to describe the straight edge polyester “look alike”, but it’s important to search for the right product, with scallopped edge and a composition of cotton and/or rayon.


Still on the subject of Petersham, while I believe that learning how to bleach a feather is all fine and dandy, I think it’s more important to learn how to swirl Petersham ribbon to avoid unsightly wrinkles when binding the edge of a hat. Here is where having proper Petersham (scallopped edge) will be useful, because straight edge ribbon will not curl and adapt to the edge of the hat.

Despite of my rant I believe smaller cocktail hats and whimseys are nothing new and will always exist. The ones in this book are simple to make, but they can be very elaborate, technically challenging and definitely very becoming. Sometimes the outfit and the occasion calls for smaller hats.

Let’s just stop calling them fascinators… pretty please?… with a hat on top.

April 2, 2013

9th Stroll with a Hat – 9º Paseo con Sombrero – 9ª Passejada amb Barret

Filed under: Millinery trivia and events,Passejada 2013,Passejada amb Barret — Cristina de Prada @ 10:37 am

Poster of the 9th Stroll with a Hat

Next Sunday April 7th 2013 the 9th edition of Barcelona’s Stroll with a Hat will take place. If you’re in Barcelona, do not miss it!! And don’t forget to wear your hat! For more details visit the website: www.ambbarret.com

El próximo domingo 7 de abril de 2013 celebraremos la 9ª edición del Paseo con Sombrero de Barcelona. Si estás en Barcelona, no te lo pierdas!! Y no olvides ponerte sombrero! Para más detalles visita la web: www.ambbarret.com

El proper diumenge 7 d’abril de 2013 celebrem la 9ª edició de la Passejada amb Barret de Barcelona. Si ets a Barcelona, no t’ho perdis!! I no oblidis posar-te el barret! Per més detalls visita el web: www.ambbarret.com

February 24, 2013

The making of my "cache-chignon" hat with a green bow

Filed under: Cache-chignon,Hat Designer of the Year competition 2011,Millinery projects — Cristina de Prada @ 9:54 pm


I want to share some of the details of the making of my chignonette (cache-chignon) hat with a green bow (it’s about time, I’ve had this blog entry half written for more than a year).  I’ve made several versions of this hat and I really love it. I’ve never been much of a fan of 60’s headwear, but since I did my research for the Hat Designer of the Year 2011 competition whose theme was La Dolce Vita (Federico Fellini’s 1960 film), I’ve grown to enjoy ,respect and be inspired by the hats of that era.

By the way, if you feel an irresistible urge to own one of these, and you are in Los Angeles, you can buy one at The Millinery Guild boutique!

This picture is of the first cache-chignon hat I made, for the Hat Designer of the Year competition.

Chignon cover

A similar one (no veil) made it to the press (La Vanguardia), when I wore it to a 50’s themed party at the Fashion Museum of Barcelona. In the picture I’m chatting away with my dear friend and colleague Nina Pawlowsky:


I did a lot of research for the competition, because it was such a specific theme. Research is something I enjoy doing because it forces me to plunge deep as I try to understand why fashion develops a certain way at a certain time. Here are some of the images I collected during my research:

InspiracionConcursoHats(sorry for the repeated image!)

click on “more” to see the rest… (more…)

October 20, 2012

HAT ME UP® is up!

Filed under: daily life,Hat Me Up®,Millinery trivia and events — Cristina de Prada @ 9:31 pm

When I thinking about brand names for a line of hats, HAT ME UP® was at the top of the list. I loved it but was not sure if it was “right” because English is not my mother tongue, so I asked my American friend  Montez, and she loved it too. After that I could not believe it when I checked and there were no hits on Google, and the domain was not taken. I immediately (after jumping up and down with joy) took the domain and initiated the trade mark registering process.

After all that, the next step was to create an brand identity, and I decided to go for a retro look, both in the choice of letter style and the colours. One piece of advice though, if you decide to create a logo design, better forget about putting an edge around it, it has only given me headaches in the making of the labels and printing of cards (where, finally, I decided to eliminate the edge).


While I’m talking about design I want to thank Joan Solé and his company Totem Taller Creatiu for all the help polishing up the brand identity and also in creating this add for the Tattoo Expo of Barcelona, where I had a booth presenting my new creations.


One of the star products of the Hat Me Up® range is the GARBO vintage silk turban. It’s a tie-turban, and it’s called like that because it’s tied up at the back. The top padded knot is what gives it its “turban” appearance , and the back ends pop out nicely, but can also be tucked under if you don’t like that bow look on the back.


The beauty of these turbans and what makes them so special is the luxurious and gorgeous vintage kimono silk they’re made of. I’m in love with kimono silk bolts, and will search high and low to find the best and most beautiful fabrics.


The other product designed specially for Hat Me Up®, and that has had a lot of success is the Valentina pin up, 40’s bow. A lot of thought has gone into these bows to give them that fluffy retro look without any need for interfacing or wiring. They are cut on the bias and made of a luscious polkadot fabric in a variety of color combinations. I suggest you take a look at Hat Me Up’s Facebook page to see gorgeous pictures of customers wearing them!


Funny that shortly after designing these bows I found this picture in American Vogue from July 1942:


The third item designed for the Hat Me Up® range is the Vera tulle visor headband that I love particularly because of its versatility, it’s easy to wear and it can be worn more discretely with the tulle flat, or more flirty with the tulle ruffled up:


Here I am wearing a Vera tulle visor headband and a wonderful jacket made by the amazing couturier Paco Peralta, I recommend you follow his blog to learn couture techniques, and if you dabble into sewing, you should treat yourself to one of his hand drafted patterns, available at his Etsy shop. And I’m not saying that because he’s my friend, I’m saying it because he is absolutely amazing.


So here you have it, some blatant self promotion, because after all, who is more qualified to talk about me and my work than myself 😉

Keep an eye on Hat Me Up® and treat yourself to something nice, because wearing a hat could literally change your life. And yes, for the better.

14 april 2013: I’ve removed links to the Etsy shop that is currently not stocked!

July 8, 2012

Hat Designer of the Year 2012. Part 3: Paris final


Finally, what a lot of you have been waiting for, the report and pictures of the final that took place on July 2nd 2012. As you can see there was a country theme going on with bales of hay (echoing the theme for the exhibits outside of the hall). I must say that last year the setup was better, but perhaps this year there have been more people daring to look at the hats because they were more accessible.

General view of the exhibit

There was a banner in French describing the competition and explaining the theme, which was “LUCK” but in the banner it had been rebaptized as “GET LUCKY”, not quite the same as you will agree.

Me, in front of the banner

The winner of this years competition has been Honoyo Imai, a japanese milliner. Her hats were inspired by “Omikuji”, Japanese fortunes written on pieces of paper that are bought at shrines and tied on branches of nearby trees.

(click “more” to see the rest of this post!)


July 7, 2012

Hat Designer of the Year 2012. Part 2: My hats

Did you already see my sketches? Well, these are the hats I was asked to make for the semifinal of the Hat Designer of the Year competition 2012 and that have been exhibited for the final at Première Classe in Paris:

Cristina de Prada's hats for the Hat Designer of the Year 2012 competition

Do you want to know how I made them?… Then keep on reading!


The theme for this competition was LUCK, and this hat is a positive twist on a bad luck omen, a broken mirror that traditionally means 7 years of bad luck has turned into 7 years of HAT luck, and that is very good luck indeed. Initially I wasn’t thinking of writing words with the glass shards but every time I looked at the glass shards (made of plexiglass) my brain saw letters, so in the end I decided to write HAT LUCK on the hat!

Plexiglass mirror pieces spelling HATThe plexiglas has a protective film that I kept until the very last minute, and that allowed me to write notes to know which piece was which!

(click on “more” to see the rest of the entry)


July 4, 2012

Hat Designer of the Year 2012. Part 1: My entry -the sketches-

Box in which my hats travelled for the competition

Last Monday was the final of the Hat Designer of the Year, a millinery competition organized by The Hat Magazine, and I was lucky to be one of the 6 finalists with three of my hats being exhibited at the Première Classe fashion trade show in Paris (30th June-3rd July 2012).

I want to give you a full report, but first I must start with a spoiler: I did not win any of the prizes… still, being there at the final, one of the lucky 6 (out of more than 60 initial entries) it was a big satisfaction.

This competition takes place every year, and those milliners who want to participate have to design 6 hats based on the theme that the organizers have set and send the corresponding sketches. Last year the theme was La Dolce Vita, and this year it was, simply, LUCK. A tricky theme! The judge was Marie-Claire Barban of the company Cheri Bibi.

There must be two model hats, to be made to a couture level; two ready-to-wear hats which could be produced in a factory; and two hats made from a flat pattern (cut-and-sewn or knitted).

Of all the entries, the judge (Marie-Claire Barban) selected 14 designers who moved on to the semi finals. These 14 designers where instructed to make specific designs (one of each category) and to send them over to the Hat Magazine. Based on the hats made six finalists where selected to have their work exhibited at Première Classe where the final took place.

I will begin by showing you the three designs out of the six that I did not have to create for the competition. The couture hat was to be a three dimensional horn of plenty in dyed pinokpok abaca (a very fine grade of sinamay) with vintage fruits pouring out of its mouth. The ready-to-wear design was a chenille braid tubular hat, simbolizing a wishing well. The flat pattern hat was a whimsical fortune cookie with an embroidered message saying “YOU’LL WEAR A HAT”.

Box in which my hats travelled for the competition

And next the designs I had to create for the semifinal, and that got me into the final.  The couture design is a chignon cover of double starbright braid in black, with broken pieces of plexiglas mirror that spell the words HAT LUCK, bringing 7 years HAT luck to the wearer, of course. The ready to wear design is a melusine fur felt in grey with fur felt swallows on either side. In france, swallows bring abundance and good luck. Finally the dice cap, made in wool with hand sewn dots in leather, refers to the luck needed in games of chance.

Sketches of the hats I had to make for the final

Strange enough, the first sketch “7 years of hat luck” was stolen from the exhibition during a lapse in surveilance, I hope whoever has it at least enjoys it and treats it well (I would like to have it back, please!)… but it boggles the mind how people have no problem taking what’s not theirs!

This is it from now. Two more posts coming, one with the actual hats I made, and some construction details, and another one with pictures of the exhibition in Paris and all the participating milliners and their hats.

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