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Monday, May 23, 2016

Posh People Exclusive Interview: Mover and Shaker Ellen Christine Chats With Whom You Know About Hats Today, Her Love for Outlander and Her New Successful Collaborations Our Coverage Sponsored by Paul Mayer Attitudes

Mover and Shaker Ellen Christine

Paul Mayer's luxuriously, comfortable designs keep women coming back for multiple -- even dozens -- of pairs. Classic, yet contemporary and always comfortable, his shoes are an addiction that we highly recommend. A staple of the Paul Mayer collection is the simple ballet-flat, with true ballerina construction for a perfect fit that comes in a variety of colors and materials. A cult favorite is the cozy, a flat with lavender-scent infused soles adding style and fragrance to collector's closets as Paul's designs emerge in sophisticated design incarnations season after season in the most incredible hues, textures and modern innovations in luxury footwear because we know firsthand how incredibly brilliant he is. Mayer founded the brand in 2004 with partner, Jeff Levy. All shoes in the line are manufactured in Spain’s Valencia region, along the Mediterranean coast by a skilled staff of 12 artisans. They craft each pair of shoes with an old-world attention to detail that includes in-house embroidery, quilting and stitching as well as custom tanned leather. This allows the brand to cater to each retailer’s specific demands in with timely and consistent alacrity, with orders completed in an unheard-of 3 to 5 weeks. When not in New York, Paul can be found traveling to his myriad of stores across the country meeting his loyal clientele or vacationing in his favorite spot, the Royal Hawaiian on Waikiki Beach. 

Paul Mayer is a Mover and Shaker: 





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Currently, ongoing and continuously favored by the international fashion press, in April 2016 Mover and Shaker Ellen Christine added another Harper's Bazaar cover to her collection with their Serbian Edition. As Ellen loves to work in collaboration with designers and private label companies, she is now working with three labels to create ongoing collections for their client base. 

With Maggie Norris Couture, a premiere luxe designer in NYC who makes eloquent, exquisite designs for the well-connected both here and abroad, Ellen creates over the top headpieces and hats. By working in a palette that reflects Maggie's collections, she adds a flavor of Old World charm and modern creativity for Maggie's private clientele. One of the top hats she did for Maggie's atelier in blush pink was just in the New York Times atop the head of one of their socialite clients. She has fashioned headpieces from art, antique prints, and vintage elements for one of Maggie's most forward-thinking collectors who is invariably captured by the lens of Mr. Bill Cunningham. Maggie Norris brides are more fairytale than most, and she is honored to make veils and headpieces to complete their looks.

In Ecuador, there is a little town named Montecristi, where for generations they have woven the finest straw hats in the world. Monticristi, the brand representing these most talented weavers has asked her to design a collection in collaboration with the Monticristi label for men and women with a distinct Ellen Christine flair. All of the hats come with a certificate of provenance, and are handmade in New York. The styles designed echo classic styles of the 1930's and 1940's, heyday of hat wearing in the Americas, so as to give a nod to history and to underline the finesse of these craftsmen. 

This past year she designed her first fur collection in collaboration with Jonevon Furs, a long-established accessories and fashion company based in Manhattan, to bring a downtown vibe to their luxe classical hat selection. Working with sheared mink, colorful fox and sable, the hats in this, her premiere collection provides an avant-garde edginess to Jonevon's library. Their techniques opened up a whole new world of process, and design and provided inspiration for the next collection, now in development. The Ellen Christine Couture for Jonevon Furs Collection is available through her website, or in Jonevon's duplex showroom in the fur district of New York City. 

As the newly elected President of the Milliners Guild, she is hot on the trail of projects that emphasize the importance of headwear in our current retail environment, and the importance of hand crafted, original millinery in that market. The Guild is currently participating in an installation at the gallery of City Lore, on the Lower East Side called : "Madhatters: New York Hats and Hatmakers" in conjunction with Arts West Chester. Look for a Guild pop-up shop near you, as they initiate their first at Arts Bash 2016, inside the historic building of Arts Westchester. The racing season will bring another pop-up to the Garden City Hotel in time for the Belmont leg of the Triple Crown. As Madame President, she can only hope to stimulate and inspire, push and shove, herald and articulate both their members and the public at large so that hats remain at the forefront of the Accessories market. 

Ellen Christine Couture millinery is available by appointment at the showroom in West Soho, Hudson Square always, for private clients and buyers. In Connecticut, the upscale clothing shop L'Armoire, of New Canaan, always carries a selection chosen by Diane Roth, the owner. And watch for the next trunk show, bringing Ellen Christine Couture hats to other horizons.  We are so pleased to present Ellen Christine in her newest Posh People interview.  Peachy Deegan interviewed Ellen Christine for Whom You Know.

Ellen was previously featured in 2013:
and Ellen was featured as a Mover and Shaker in 2010:

Peachy Deegan: How does one become the subject of a magazine cover and how much background work for you goes into it? 
Ellen Christine: It’s the editor’s choice at the end of the day. A stylist or editor will call in for some pieces for whichever shoot, and the hats either make it into the editorial, or they don’t. If the shot is cover-worthy, then, poof! It shows up on the cover, always a wonderful surprise, and always a huge honor.

What covers are you proudest of and why? 
All of them, since it took so much work for them to even be a suggestion, let alone happen.

What covers would you like to grace that you have not yet? 
Someday, when I grow up…….American Vogue.

What should the world know about Maggie Norris that they might not know yet? 
Well, Maggie worked her magic at Ralph Lauren for a long stretch, and her influence in the world of design is almost subversive. Maggie’s eye is infallible, and her nuance creates its own sunami.

What three hats should every woman own and why? 
Everyone needs a cloche, or a version of a cloche. And a cocktail hat, now popularly called “fascinator” to trip the light fantastic. And a perfect derby, or a feminized version of a fedora, a la 1930’s.

What three hats should every man own and why? 
Every gentleman needs his own fedora, either as a trilby (stingy brim), a homberg (think Bogart in Sabrina) or a drama piece more in the style of Quentin Crisp. Add to that a basic porkpie for a downtown hang, and a Montecristi, king of panamas.

Congratulations on being the new President of the Milliners Guild! What kind of campaign did you run and was it a landslide winning election? 
Ha! Yes, thank you, voted and tallied for my very first run at the position. Our Guild is branching out and the members wanted someone to bang the drum, and not slowly.

How long is your term as President and what do you hope to accomplish over this time? 
For the time being, it’s a one-year post, but that could change if I do a superlative job. We’re hoping to branch out and have many more activities to raise the public’s awareness that such a Guild exists in the 21st Century. 

How can one attend your trunk shows and find out about them? 
Follow me on FB, Twitter and Instagram! I post everything.

What are the biggest differences between off-the-rack hats and yours that are custom, and why should no one ever wear an off-the-rack hat if you believe that to be so? 
There’s no problem with wearing a prĂȘt-a-porter anything, since we live in a climate of instant gratification. Better that there should be a hat on a head than no hat on a head. Off the rack means that it was not designed for you specifically, and so many people wind up in my showroom bemoaning the fact that they’ve never found a hat that worked for them. Wellllll, that’s because not everyone has the same face, the same eyes, the same expression, or the same shaped head. Your bumps are different than the next person’s bumps, even if the numbers are the same. So with a custom hat, it’s not just your face, but your manner, your venue, your attitude that comes into play. We don’t design a hat to go with a dress. We design a hat to go with a face, and the person behind that face.

What is the town of Montecristi like and have you been there?
Montecristi is a tiny village in Ecuador, where a special palm frond grows. The people who live there have a culture of weaving that palm into the most extraordinary hats. I haven’t been there as yet, but at some point in the near future I hope to make a trip down there.

How do your collaborations transpire and what percentage of those that start with a proposal end up with a collection? 
We are approached by many companies that have interesting ideas. If it’s possible to see these ideas through, we accept and go forward. Perhaps 50% of these ideas make it through, by their nature, not by choice.

Of those collections, what was it about the proposals that made them so successful? 
When a designer has a proposal for us to work with them, it may revolve around a specific collection, or client, or advertorial that they have in mind. What makes them successful is their acceptance of an end product that works.

How do you enhance a successful brand with hats? 
Any brand needs to form a client base. This is based on demographics and interest, and so the advertising for that brands is geared towards a market share that targets those elements. By hiring a professional stylist, and planning their advertorials and SM around their client, adding specific props and accessories that may not be in their collection is helpful to round out the target personality. It’s not always about shooting a happy face in a Ferrari. Sometimes a hat will do the trick.

What should everyone know about Jonevon that they don’t know yet?
When you walk through the fur district, perhaps on your way to FIT, take note of the storefronts you pass. Jonevon is by appointment only, and makes fur accessories for runway and stylists. Their quality is classic and consistent, and if you want to be in the know, get to know them.

If you could have an ideal client, what would be the characteristics of that person? 
Every client is an ideal one. Interactions are always input towards inspiration, and since every person is different, every hat takes its own note of reference from that interaction.

What clients do you not have now that you would like to have? 
We would love to see every single head out there with a hat on it. How many heads is that????

We hear you are an Outlander enthusiast. What are your favorite parts of the show? 
Wildly, hysterically in love with this show. My favorite parts of the series are the costumes, all executed in Scotland by Terry Dresbach and her team of elves.

Do they wear hats on Outlander and if so are they wearing yours? If not, why not? 
We are currently in Season 2 of Outlander, and the entire show is in “Paris”. Hats, hats, and more hats. No, I haven’t had the privilege of working on this show, since it uses talent from Great Britain exclusively on its crew.

Please share with our audience your background in costume design. 
Costume has been a part of my life forever. It was from the costume world that I wound up on Planet Hat.

Have you worked on costume design on movies and if not would you want to, and if you’d want to, what kind of movies? 
I’ve contributed to films in the past, and the genre has always been a favorite. Period pieces, historical dramas, etc. 

What movies do you think have the best costume design in the last decade and what did you like about each? 
The Dutchess, without a doubt, for it’s millinery fabulosity. Mirror, Mirror, because 
Eiko Ishioka was a genius. Her costumes for Dracula were beyond. Anything super-hero, because how can we live without Stan Lee and his genre? Anything Colleen Atwood, Catherine Martin, Sandy Powell, Milena Canonero. These are the pieces and the designers that are the keepers of fantasy, and will gift their talents to generations to come.

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do? 
I’d be honored to make the hats for any opera that Roberto Alagna is singing in at The Met. But my friend, Janet Linville, is the genius behind the millinery at The Met, so I would never violate her territory.

What one word best describes you and why?
Enthusiastic! Because I believe that every single day we can make magic.

What do you take your sense of identity from? 
My Mother and my Grandmother, without a doubt.

If you could hire anybody who would it be and why? 
All of my wonderful interns who have proved themselves here. Their energy and youthful exuberance helps us every day.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a cocktail party? 
Which decade? So many hysterical things happened to us all in the 1970’s that I would have to say anything at all backstage at Studio, or at The Limelight, or at The Palladium….

What is your favorite movie and why? 
Of all time????? The original version of The Women is right up there on the list because it’s in the millinery canon. 

Who would you like to be for a day and why? 
Nobody but me.

If you could have dinner with any person living or passed, who would it be and why? 
Always, Edith Head, always.

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite WhomYouKnow

​.com​
column and what do you like about it? 
I love the quotes and repost them every day somewhere.  
But the favorite of all favorites has to be the foodies heaven: Peachy's Picks and Terrific Takeout. She always recommends places to clients, and out-of-towners using this column as a guide.

What else should people know about you?
I am an educator, and a costume historian. In these capacities, I do everything possible to further knowledge about hats as a couture accessory and their place in fashion history. My current mission is to establish a design center in Puerto Rico to facilitate more visibility for Hispanic, Spanish and Caribbean talent in the world view of couture. Through lectures and classes in New York and the surrounding areas, I spread hatlove far and wide.

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?
My website is: ellenchristine.com, and the fastest way to get in touch with this premiere milliner is : ellenchristine.ny@gmail.com. The showroom visits are by appointment only, and a phone call (212-242-2457) or an email will get you in touch with your inner hat loving self on a very personal level. 

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