It was such an honour to create a bespoke Coronation hat for Samantha Cameron who looked absolutely exquisite in red. The hat was meticulously designed to complement her elegant and seasonal Voletta Dress by her brand, Cefinn.
I had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Samantha herself for an intimate tête-à-tête to discuss the fascinating journey of collaborating together for the Coronation.
It was a moment of shared excitement, creativity, and anticipation, setting the stage for a historic and unforgettable affair.
What was your initial inspiration for your hat to the coronation?
The Coronation was a historic event and it was such a privilege to be asked. A stunning hat lends so much glamour to any outfit and the royal family are an inspiration in how to wear them well.
It therefore seemed the perfect opportunity to plan a very special outfit that definitely incorporated a fabulous headpiece and a standout dress. I knew I wanted to wear our long Voletta dress from Cefinn which comes in a large red floral print on a floaty white georgette base, it’s very pretty with a coronation colour theme that seemed ideal to dial up with an eye catching hat in a strong silhouette.
Would you consider yourself a hat wearer?
I was never very confident wearing hats, I have a small head and have always worn a fringe which can make wearing hats impractical. Saying that, I have got much more confident since attending several Royal events in recent years which helped me discover the shapes and styles which suit me best! I am already excited about planning the hat I will wear to Ascot later this summer…
You have your own brand, Cefinn. What do you think the addition of a hat to an outfit says about you and your clothes brand on these occasions?
I love the excitement and glamour of dressing-up. Nothing looks chicer or creates a stronger impression and silhouette than a beautifully designed hat, it’s the ultimate in glamour and sophistication and essential to making an event feel really special.
I am always designing with colour and fabrics, so working with Jess on my hat for the Coronation was a joy creatively, she instinctively understood what I was looking for and how to make it work with the rest of my outfit.
Why did you go for the colour red and how did you come to that decision?
I knew I wanted to wear our Voletta dress (one of the most popular summer event styles at Cefinn) which this season is styled in white with a bold red graphic floral print. I love red in all shades but particularly crimson, it is brightening and joyful and has a modern, graphic quality that I am always drawn to. The Voletta is easy and comfortable to wear with some very romantic vintage elements that combined with the red and white theme seemed perfect for celebrating the coronation.
What drew you to Jess Collett Milliner's hat designs, and why did you choose to wear one of her hats to the coronation?
At Cefinn, event wear is a key part of the collection in the summer, so I am always talking to customers getting ready for summer events such as weddings or Ascot. If they are looking for a hat, Jess has been one of our key recommendations. I have always admired Jess’s style and flair and her Portobello studio is very near ours making it easy to pop back and forth for appointments. I had total confidence that she would understand what I was looking for.
Can you describe the process of working with Jess to create a bespoke hat that complemented your outfit and personal style?
In total I visited Jess three times, which included my final try-on and collection. I brought the dress and shoes to her atelier, and we tried them on with lots of different shapes and sizes of headpiece for inspiration. We discussed and experimented with the options looking at what was available in terms of colour, fabrication, texture, and decorative elements. Jess is very easy and inspiring to work with so none of the appointments took longer than about half an hour.
What do you see as the benefits of going to a milliner as opposed to choosing a hat yourself, especially on big occasions such as the Coronation?
Millenary is a skill and an art; it is the ultimate in creative expression within fashion. Wearing a hat requires confidence so seeing a milliner who can translate how you want to look and feel at some of your most special events is wonderful creative experience.
How did you feel when you saw the finished hat for the first time, and did it meet your expectations?
The finished hat was perfection, I couldn’t stop smiling and was so grateful to Jess for creating something so special. It was very exciting wearing it to the coronation, it is beautifully made and just as I had envisaged. Because it is in a colour I love to wear, I know I will be able to style it again in the future with lots of different outfits.
What advice would you give to someone looking to wear a statement hat or headpiece to a formal occasion?
Find something which suits your personal style and compliments the outfit you plan to wear, there is something for everyone so try lots on! I would definitely ask for advice from the professionals and trust their opinion as they work with so many women every day. It was definitely worth taking the time to plan in advance for such a big occasion.
Want your very own bespoke Jess Collett Milliner hat?
Jess offers a bespoke service where each piece is made to measure to any specification just for you. This service is by appointment only so book now via email email@example.com.