by Sheena Sood
Doing her part (along with John Galliano and Marc Jacobs in their Fall '08 collections) to bring the art of custom millinery back to the mainstream, Katie Burley creates whimsical and one-of-a-kind hats for a variety of occasions. With a supply of vintage materials and rare objects, the San Francisco-based designer hand-blocks and trims each couture hat. Katie discovered her obsession with "all things cranial" as a student of Fibers and Wearable Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art. For her, hat-making is all about line, gesture, color and composition; each hat is a sculpture. Also a part-time art teacher and a part-time florist, she takes inspiration both from children's uninhibited imaginations and from nature.
Katie has collections for cocktail occasions, summer weather, bridal affairs, and for men. My favorites are her pheasant feather cloche and the "Apple Martini" cocktail hour piece (both pictured). She's also happy to create a special hat for a particular event or individual. Hats can be ordered through her website. Feel free to request that a specific material be used on your hat in order to match it to an existing garment.