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In the Studio with Natalie Bikicki, Milliner..

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Natalie Bikicki has made a real name for herself in the racing fashion world, mixing a fashion-forward aesthetic with progressive materials and techniques. Her origami winged headpieces and edgy metallics have won her legions of fans trackside and have seen her work atop the heads of numerous celebrities. 

Last year she was selected to make the world's most expensive headpiece in collaboration with jeweller John Calleija, a gothic masterpiece in leather and latex with stunning gemstones intertwined through it. It was modelled on Derby Day by the beautiful Kate Peck and looked every single cent of its $3million price tag. 

This season we have a mix of her signature origami pieces and pretty metallics, which would look equally at home on the racetrack or walking down the aisle. 

TEH - Thanks for having us today Natalie, there's some pretty things on your table right now, so tell us what we can look forward to from Natalie Bikicki this season?

NB - I was incredibly curious this season in experimenting with various textures, I always love to use latex origami, (a Bikicki signature) but this year I added metallic leather, mesh, and metal, to give this range modern, clean lines - I'm especially excited by my detailed V cocktail hats, designed to be worn with cascading hair, I can picture the wearer looking both dainty and edgy. 

TEH - How would you describe this signature style of yours?

NB - I think my style is best described as contemporary, I enjoy using traditional techniques juxtaposed with unusual materials, sometimes bordering on subversive, but always focusing on the feminine.

TEH - Has there been anyone, thing or place that you think has particularly inspired this style of yours?

NB - There are so many places that I gather inspiration from, one of the most influential is Japanese art and fashion, I love the sense of play and pageantry.

TEH - That makes so much sense with all that beautiful origami in your work. So what was it that inspired you to become a milliner, was there a moment you can remember where you had that spark of inspiration? 

NB - I was always in love with hats! , I remember when I was 8, there was an Easter hat parade on at school, I hadn't bought a piece to wear (which meant I couldnt participate) so I quickly riffled through my knapsack and found a emerald leotard, (godawful I might add) which I rolled into a precarious turban and ran into the parade, it fell off my head halfway through but I knew I wanted to make hats from that moment on!

TEH - Sounds like it was fated occasion, I bet you couldn't have imagined where that moment would have led you?! What’s been the proudest moment on this journey to date?

NB - One of my proudest moments was designing The World's Most Expensive Hat, (which debuted at the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne) it was a major career highlight- the amount of work, organisation, creative challenge, (understanding jewellery design) that went into making the piece was an education in itself, using such beautiful materials with multi award winning Calleija jewellers (1264 diamonds, valued in excess of $3,000,000.00) mixed with the hand carved black leather crown wound in shining latex, with over 6 months of work and determination, still makes me smile when I think about it! 

My career thus far has been an amazing journey, I was a honoured to be Worldwide finalist in Vogue/Muuse 2014 Accessories Design Award, I've had the pleasure of making bespoke millinery for many Australian celebrities, including Jennifer Hawkins, Jodi Anasta, Kate Peck, Lauren Philips, Laura Dundovic, Nikki Philips, and Giaan Rooney, to name a few, and I am currently in addition to being available at the fantastic Eternal Headonist, also stocked in Myer - Melbourne, Sydney and Queensland. 

TEH - Wow, that's quite a list of achievements, Spring must be such a busy time of year for you, what do you love most about the madness of it all?

NB - I love the rush, the busyness of it all, making 10 pieces at once, 2am mornings, final fittings, it is such a thrill, I love it.

TEH - You're always ahead of the pack with headwear trends, so what are your millinery trend predictions for this year?

NB - I think that metallics and modern structures will be very much on trend this season, unusual halos, sharp silhouettes, a fresh approach with clean neutral colours.

TEH -  Do you have a top tip for creating the perfect racewear look with millinery to stay on trend?

NB - Start with the outfit! This may sound insane coming from a milliner, but if you have your outfit organised, the millinery can be selected like a perfect cherry finish on top of your ensemble cake.

TEH - I agree though, the outfit is a very natural place to start with the look, and definitely the best choice when getting headwear tailor made. So our favourite question, what would be your perfect millinery ménage a trois? I.e. If you made the hat, who would have designed the outfit, and who would be wearing it?

NB - If I could have absolutely anyone to collaborate with to design my perfect complimentary outfit, it would have to be Maticevski, I love the stunning elaborate nature of his work, but then who to wear it? (I'd be hard pressed not to want it for myself!) It would have to be Cara Delevinge, I love her strong features. 

TEH - Aha. Dem Brows!!! Finally, what’s your favourite tune to listen to in the studio, are you an upbeat kind of person or more mellow? 

Music can really change what I end up making! I love the French band Air, while I'm stitching, but something with much more upbeat (like the Presets) when I'm placing pieces together.

TEH - Both great choices for the different paces in a milliners life! Thanks for having us in your studio today and we look forward to a really fun Spring racing season. 

You can buy Natalie Bikicki from our online store here

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