Victoria Grant designs are beyond traditional luxury headwear. Delighting both designers and clients the world over, Grant has a strong passion for all things British. A traditional London Milliner, her provocative visions marry timeless, elegant creations. Having dressed the heads of some of the most stylish fashion icons, Grant continues to innovate and inspire with her expressive works of art.
Your designs are cutting edge while still possessing such refinement. Can you tell us a little about your design process?
My design process is very instinctive and experimental. As soon as I have an idea, I try to make it – there is no drawing in-between, I am entirely 3D. Sometimes I have absolutely no idea how I will succeed in creating a certain structure but once I have a creation in mind, nothing will stop me! This leads to a lot of experimentation and resourcefulness in searching unlikely places for new materials or components. With all of my designs, be they experimental avant-garde or more timeless and elegant – quality is King – so everything is made meticulously by hand incorporating traditional millinery techniques.
Customizing pieces on a private consult basis lends true uniqueness and authenticity to the piece one wears. Do you have a set process that allows the client to collaborate with the creation, or are you more driven by your personal instinct of what would fit them?
When doing Bespoke it is important for me to meet the customer and discover a bit about who they are as a person. My objective is to draw out their character, I never just design for style or appearance – it’s about finding and crowning my clients style.
Bespoke consultations usually begin with a glass of champagne and chat in my Notting Hill showroom. I love my clients’ reaction when they walk into the showroom – it’s like watching a child discover Narnia. We discuss their personal style and, of course, the event for which they want the hat made. This might be a decadent party or a formal and honorable affair such as collecting an MBE from the Queen at Buckingham Palace. I do a lot of hats for red-carpet events and VIP parties as well, and I have a lot of brides who are looking for something more high-fashion and nonconformist for their wedding day.
Then playtime begins as we move around the room trying on different hats to see which shapes and colors really suit them. My objective is to design a piece that compliments their bone-structure and works to enhance their natural features. One that makes a statement true to them.
You have accessorized some of Hollywood’s most elite, such as Madonna and Beyoncé, as well as the modeling world’s own Kate Moss and Cara Delevigne. Is there someone you dream of creating a piece for, either from the past or present?
Well, that is a hard one! There are so many fabulous characters out there. I suppose Coco Chanel would have to be [at the] top of my list. Obviously having begun as a Milliner herself – it would be a great honor to create something that she would find fabulous and fun! I would like to design her one of my Light-Up Neon hats covered in pearls with a feather that almost touches the sky. Can that be arranged?
Your pieces range from elegant and sophisticated, to whimsical, to sharply modern. What is the inspiration process that drives you to what you will create next?
My process is quite impulsive. I am inspired by everything around me, especially art. I follow my instinct rather than trends and prefer to discover rather than emulate done fashion. I have always had an untamable imagination and my best ideas come through daydreaming. Music is really important in finding this flow. Each hat takes such a long time to create, that it is really important that I enjoy the whole process. I enjoy beauty, humor, elegance and mischief – you will find all these elements amongst my designs. I’m happiest when in my creative bubble!
Any insight into the creative trail we can see you blazing in 2016? Are there any new techniques you are excited to try or are currently implementing?
I am crazy excited about 2016! We have a smoking hot collaboration and some unusual projects, but I’m afraid that at this moment I’m sworn to secrecy. You will have to watch my website