Rachel's atelier is hidden down a quirky alley running parallel to St James' Street and backs onto Lock's hatters. As you go up the windy stairs it really does feel like going back in time when craft skills were revered and milliners were more abundant. Ushered into the showroom by Rachel's lovely assistant I sat amongst a garden of exquisite head wear, trying to stop myself from picking them all up and looking closely at all the workmanship! Stunning, simple and all collectable.
Hat Works exhibition and the Worshipful Company of Feltmakers Competition so I was looking forward to finding out more about her and her millinery career. Rachel has been in millinery for 22 years, I loved the fact that she began as she and her friend at the age of 18 came to London with this idea that they could make Clown costumes and sell them. Thankfully for the millinery world this didn't take off and she contacted lots of milliners to see if she could get work experience with them, renowned London milliner Graham Smith took her on and she began in his workroom.
Rachel talks with reverence of her time with Graham Smith and how he embedded her passion for the importance of good workmanship above all else and that a hat or headpiece should always flatter the wearer. Working in his workroom meant these skills are without question though she felt she needed the skill of working with a client, which she went on to do with Philip Somerville, honing her skills for setting up her own label. Rachel only makes bespoke, couture pieces for clients. Each year she creates a collection taking reference of the seasons colours and textures, these are the starting point for the customers that visit the atelier for a consultation.
|Rachel Trevor-Morgan in her atelier|