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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Posh People Exclusive Interview: Mover and Shaker Ellen Christine Chats With Whom You Know Readers about Spring Hats, the Derby, Ascot and the Conservancy Luncheon Our Coverage Sponsored by Hallak Cleaners the Couture Cleaner

Ellen Christine

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With two covers on Italian Vogue, Mover and Shaker Ellen Christine is well known throughout the accessories industry, both here in America and in Europe. Featured in Vogue, W Magazine, and Harper's Bazaar magazines multiple times over the past three decades of her career, Ellen Christine is much sought after by editors and celebrity clientele as well. Her hats walk into some of the best events in town. Fashion is her business, and those in the know beat their way to her Soho showroom, for private appointments, collaborations and the world’s best to put on their heads.

Recently, Ellen was highlighted in Bard's version of "Hats: an Anthology by Stephen Jones", and she's done an installation called "Threads", at a museum in New England, Strawbery Banke. 
We are pleased to say that Ellen is also evening up the trade deficit as she has begun to sell in China, via a luxury portal, as well as on several other sites online including, and the site

Featured in the current issue of Sposa (Bride) Vogue, the bridal collection seems to be taking off for the editors. Always in Brides Magazine, this is the first time in the upscale Italian issue of bridal fare from Vogue. Ellen continues to be popular with stylists, for celebrity clients, ala Gaga, Katy Perry, and has been fortunate to have made lots of press appearances. Back to back issues of W made her very happy. 

Ellen continues to pursue her love of opera, learning more and more. Whenever the adored Roberto Alagna comes on the scene, he gives gives her homework which is a joy. This past summer Ellen went to Orange, for an opera festival, called "Les Choregies d'Orange", where he was singing. Lots of inspiration there! Her new project: researching the viability of opening a School of Design in Puerto Rico. Her new Hat project: an art installation called Paper Hats (working title), with shaped made from hand made paper that she does with pulp. It's a blast, but it will need funding, so it's not an immediate venture.   We are thrilled to present Ellen as our latest interview in Posh People!  Peachy Deegan interviewed Ellen Christine for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: It is spring and time to break out the hats! How much more busy are you this time of year? 
Ellen Christine: This is our busiest time of year. With the Derby, Ascot, the Conservancy Luncheon in Central Park, so many diplomatic events and our brides, we are busy getting the world ready for Spring.

What are the hottest trends in hats for Spring 2013? 
The fedora remains faithful for all, with a touch of gold, glitz, or feathers. And the "platter" hat, very much a European trend, is forging it's way to our shores. Very glamorous, very chic.

How do trends in hats emerge? Don't you just set them yourself since you are Queen of it all? Trends in fashion are complicated, but as always, there is a pattern to how they happen. In the 1940's, and earlier, what you saw on the silver screen became the fashion item that every woman wanted. Now, it's the street, or your favorite celebrity, that makes inroads to style, and helps create the trends that emerge. Because we work with editors of all the best fashion magazines in the world, their ideas, and our collaborations with them set a tone that usually shows up on the runways, and later, in the stores.

How does hat-wearing in New York differ from other parts of the USA and why?
New York, and the US, is a more sportswear-conscious country. New Yorkers can be a bit off beat. Not that they dare to do that, but it's permissible. In fashion circles, at events, for bridal, a New York look will be more drama, more glamour. You see the same thing happening wherever an event is taking place all over the USA: red carpets everywhere demand high drama. It's just that in NYC we have more red carpet events that elsewhere in the country. For Polo matches, for races, for weddings, important hats must be worn, or you will look out of fashion. In NYC, there is lots of access to high-end millinery, so we make it easier for everyone to find the perfect hat.

How does hat-wearing in New York compare to the UK and parts of Europe?
In England, their events call for hat wearing because of the Queen, and the rest of the Royals in Europe, who all wear hats in public. The US doesn't have that royalty reference, and so it's who wants what, who wears what, and what makes it practical for the wearer. Fashion has always been divided into two camps: the haves, and the will-haves. The haves do the higher end style silhouette, so often associated with Couture. The will-haves do their own version, wearing designers, pret-a-porter, or creating their own waves. Hats work with both sides of the coin, and as a fashion accessory, often bump up a look.

What is going on with the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic this year?
 MHUSA is still sponsoring the event, which takes place every Spring in Manhattan.

What celebs have been the greatest joy to work with? 
Penelope Cruz, who makes it easy. Demi Moore, who wears so many styles . Gaga, who dares the outrageous. Alex McCord, who trusts my eye, once her husband is on board! Paulina Porizcova, because she's so cool.

Roberto if you are reading, we don't understand why you haven't married Ellen yet. What should the world know about Roberto Alagna and opera? 
Roberto Alagna is our own Caruso/Pavarotti. This generation is gifted with his voice, and his ability to interpret classic operatic roles with a newfound drama and romance. Much like the Errol Flynn of opera, he lends his charm to any role, and brings to each a dynamism not to be denied.

What does it take to get on the cover of Vogue and why?
The editor has to say yes. 

Can you tell us about your new windows with Paul Mayer Attitudes please?
 Paul Mayer Attitudes is a retail venue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Peachy had the brilliant idea of marrying our two brands (Ellen Christine, and Paul Mayer) for the season, and they invited us to fill the store with hats. It's been fun designing the collection, and working with an entirely different color palette.

What one word best describes you and why? 
Energetic, because I never stop, like the Energizer Bunny.

If you could hire anybody who would it be and why? 
Many wonderful talents come through our shop, and lots of them would lend their own brand of wonderful to Ellen Christine.

What is your favorite drink? 
Coconut water, in the non-alcohol vein. And Krug, in the alcohol department.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a cocktail party? 
The proverbial toilet tissue on the shoe joke. It actually happened!

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan?
 There's a little French boĆ®te downtown that I'm fond of: La Ripaille. Alain is always welcoming, and open to whatever we show up with, late, early, a party of too-many, or a small event. I've been going there for over 30 years.

What is your favorite Manhattan book or favorite character in Manhattan literature? 
Epic of New York is my favorite book about the city. It's a tome that encompasses our history, and is amazing to read.

Who would you like to be for a day and why? 
The milliner to the Duchess of Devonshire. As an arbiter of fashion in her day, she stretched the limits, and re-defined fashion for generations to come. Her hat "The Gainsborough" has a history all its own!

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why?
One of the blocks in the Garment District would be nice to dedicate to Millinery. Our Garment District needs all the positive reinforcement it can get. 

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience? 
Horseback riding in Central Park.

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else? 
Cruise around the island on one of the Water Taxis. The reality of this island is like no other, and the point-of -view from the water is so wonderful and breathtaking, that it puts it all back into perspective.

If you could have dinner with any person living or passed, who would it be and why? 
Deceased? It would be Edith Head, hands down. She created Hollywood glamour, and would be full of facts, tidbits, gossip, and wisdom, I'm sure.

What do you personally do or what have you done to give back to the world?
 I do little bits and pieces of charity in NYC, for the Hudson Guild, Gilda's Club, and the Eastside House Settlement . My long term give-back goal is to open a School of Fashion Design in Puerto Rico, as a legacy, and a way to combine all of my experience, contacts, and art.

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here? 
Perhaps the most under-rated here is Governor's Island, but it is starting to come into its own. As a mini-vacation from the world, you can't beat it. Over-rated? The intrinsic sophistication of all New Yorkers. We are as varied, and assorted as the rest of the world, and we are most definitely not as snobbish as some may think.

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it? 
Other than "Top It Off"??? I love the "Peachy's Picks" column, because it's an easy way for me to point friends in the direction of so many new restaurants.

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you? 
My bark is worse than my bite, to be sure!

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers? 

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