Hat’s off to top milliner

Milliner Catherine Hart at work. Picture by FRANK REID
Milliner Catherine Hart at work. Picture by FRANK REID

FROM Ascot to Dubai, the work of milliner Catherine Hart can be seen throughout the world.

 The entrepreneur has designed hats for some of the most prestigious events in the racing calendar as well as for more personal occasions.

 With a clientele which includes customers in Hartlepool as well as others from as far afield as France and the USA, the Sedgefield-based businesswoman explained how designing hats was “the perfect job”.

 The 43-year-old added: “I am a small bespoke business, but I always have something on the go.

 “At the moment it is a couple of winter hats and some wedding hats.

 “I do a lot for the races. I have a few clients who go off to Ascot, I have done the Dubai racing season and Melbourne.”

 But not every hat is like the extravagant creations often seen on show at race meetings.

 “They can often by very personal to the client and very classy,” said Catherine.

 Hats can cost from £125 to £350 and Catherine explained how the design process works.

 “I have a meeting with the client and they may often bring the outfit they intend to wear. They might come in with a very strong idea of what they want, or we might work with a sample from my workshop and I come up with a design for them.”

 The hat creation and fitting stage will follow. “The next time I see the client is usually at the finished hat stage – unless it is posted out to them, depending on where they are in the world.”

 The process of designing a hat can take from two weeks to two months, but Catherine said: “It very much depends on each case, and if someone has indicated they want beadwork it can take longer.

 “I did have one job where I did it in 48 hours and I had not been to bed.”

 But it all adds to the variety for Catherine, who added: “I love what I do.”