A tip of my hat(s) to you, readers! And Happy Summer! As the newest member of the MILIEU staff, I found my first issue – Summer 2019 – such a treat to work on. From the beginning, I have loved the collaborative style of Pamela Pierce, the magazine's editor in chief and founder, and her team. When we began to brainstorm our summer issue, we discussed the idea of a story about performance fabrics—this brilliant, newish category of fabric armed to handle pool days, wet bathing suits, outdoor entertaining, and a hot dog dressed with all the fixings. Suitable for most weather conditions, performance fabric is moisture-and-stain resistant and won’t fade in the hot summer sun. The question was—and always is— how do we tell the story in a creative and charming way for our readers?
A brief aside: Working as a style editor, I follow the couture shows each season and am drawn year after year to the colorful, rich style of the Italian houses—Etro, Pucci, Missoni. Angela Missoni, creative director and president of the famed knitwear company founded by her parents in 1953, produces the grooviest photoshoots for her family’s brand, and I went completely bananas for her Spring Summer 2018 campaign starring Kendall Jenner, shot by Harvey Weir in New Mexico’s White Sands National Monument. The striped hat! It was cemented in my brain the moment I saw it.
When we decided to go ahead with a story on performance fabric, I thought, hats! Let’s show our favorite fabrics via wide, flippy brims and maybe piled on a stand or hung in effortless perfection on a wall, á la Tom Scheerer. Much to my delight, the staff liked the idea, and then I was (hats) off on my first assignment for the magazine.
I did what I always do when I first begin to work on a fabric story—I went to straight to New York’s D&D Building, and spent a day flipping through wings, gathering samples of my favorite outdoor fabrics. I went into each showroom and realized that more and more, the fabric houses were not only creating performance fabrics, but also performance trims, which I knew would be a perfect adornment to any straw hat. To maintain a cohesive point of view, I decided to stick to my favorite performance stripes —both in fabric and trims—excited to play with points of intersection and the angles created by those meetings.
Inspired by cabana-striped umbrellas on the Italian Riviera and bathing clubs in New England, I wanted our hats to feel as if they were just worn and much-loved, an old favorite shared by generations, plopped on the same hook or sandy spot year after year. I feel so lucky to have been introduced by the team to the photographer Brett Wood, who had the genius idea of using palm branches to create the illusion of a tropical location with their shadows.
I found the perfect bamboo hat stand at Housing Works, a non-profit secondhand store whose proceeds benefit AIDS research. I then enlisted Brookyln-based seamstress, Brenda Zheng, to create a cabana “awning” from R. Holland’s coral Cabana Stripe fabric.
Call me cheesy, but I even dressed for the day! Check out my striped shirt below.
It was a jam-packed day, but I’m so happy with the results. Check out the issue for hat sources, and of course, our favorite summer stripes!
Snapshots and Written by Lucy Bamman, MILIEU Style and Market Editor