In partnership with: Maison Michel
Whether your diary is bursting with weddings and polo matches or back garden barbecues and picnics in the park, summer 2021 promises to be a bumper social season of post-lockdown frivolity. And, whatever the occassion, if there’s one accessory that’s going to make you stand out in the style stakes, it’s a great hat.
But forget dowdy department stores and dyed-to-match designs. When it comes to fashion-forward millinery, Parisian hatmaker Maison Michel is the last word in refinement, with contemporary, wearable styles you'll want to incorporate into your eveyday wardrobe. Founded by Auguste Michel in 1936, and part of Chanel’s Métiers d’Art group since 1997, Maison Michel built its name creating ready-to-wear and couture collections for some of the world’s most famous luxury brands.
In 2006, Maison Michel debuted its first in-house collection, applying the same exacting standards and traditional savoir faire to its own designs as it did for those of its couture clients. Each Maison Michel hat is handmade in the brand’s Paris ateliers using time honoured techniques that have been passed down from master milliner to apprentice for more than eight decades.
Whether it be shaping a headpiece on one of the 3000 tilia wooden blocks Maison Michel has amassed over the years or the artistic skills of draping, stretching and sewing that imbue each hat with the creativity and quality the house is famous for, it is Maison Michel’s respect for and careful preservation of these artisanal practices that see it stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Today Maison Michel is overseen by creative director Pricilla Royer, who joined the house in 2015, bringing with her an appreciation for colour and a contemporary approach honed while working under Vivienne Westwood. As such, she has expanded Maison Michel’s ready-to-wear collections past classic straw boaters and felt fedoras to include designs which are as much about form as they are function. Think brightly patterned turbans, embellished headbands and trend-led bucket hats and visors. These are hats so stylish you're not going to want to save them for a special occasion.
So where can Londoners go to stock up on Maison Michel’s exacting designs in time for the return of the social season? The house’s beautiful flagship store at 26 Conduit Street in Mayfair will be throwing open its chic monochrome doors once more on 12 April and is more than read to welcome guests eager to try on the brand’s latest creations.
Housed in an airy turn-of-the-century building, the boutique's interiors are inspired by the iconic black-and-white Maison Michel hat box and, just like the brand’s hats, combines period features with sleek modernist elements. The result is an elegant yet interesting backdrop against which to highlight Maison Michel’s millinery and a rather fine place to wile away an afternoon choosing your perfect style. The only thing you really need worry about is how you’ll ever stop at just one.