Exclusive: Philip Treacy

Mimi ON Apr 24, 2012 AT 9:35 am

Chrissy Iley managed to pin down Milliner (hat-maker) to the stars, Philip Treacy (aka the man behind the head wear of Princess Beatrice, Lady Gaga and the late Isabella Blow) in his London Workshop to talk us through each of his favourite things – which he was then photographed with on location by the amazing Kevin Davies. See what he has to say about each of his most coveted possessions in Chrissy’s interview below…

Phillip Treacy

Philip Treacy - hat maker to royalty, luminaries , the rich , the famous and the adored - in this London workshop surrounded by his favourite things (photo by Kevin Davies)

Philip Treacy talks to Chrissy Iley

Everyone sucks up to famous designers – Isabella Blow was one fashion journalist who didn’t. This was taken at the end of a shoot for Harper’s and Queen We were a double act. I first met her in the early nineties when everyone was walking around in power suits and she was wearing a see through dress that looked like a cobweb. She had a fantastic sense of humour and was very irreverent. She was the least tragic person I ever met.

Photograph of Philip Treacy and Isabella Blow ( also by Kevin Davies)

Photograph of Philip Treacy and Isabella Blow ( also by Kevin Davies)

Valentino Laced Shoes

Valentino asked me if I’d make some shoes for a show. Shoes? I thought I’ll give it a go and made ten pairs. It’s a limo shoe. You can’t go anywhere in them but it’s a shoe hat. A hat for your feet. It’s about creating desire not practicality. They sell for £5,000 a pair.

Lady Gaga Waxwork

I make her hats so she sent me her waxwork from Madame Tussauds. This is what Lady Gaga looks like without hair or make up. None of us look great without that. I made the lightning and telephone hats she wore for the Grammys. I specialise in interesting women – Pamela Anderson, Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall, Grace Jones. Grace sent me a text when she saw my Lady Gaga Grammys hats saying Gaga had copied her.

Hat Blocks

These are the wooden moulds for hat making. Every hat has its block. I make the prototype. It’s carved by hand in wood. This one is for Grace Jones’s hats. All the blocks have different personalities. They take on the personalities of the people.

Collection of Feathers

I grew up with hens, geese and pheasants on a farm with my parents. I didn’t think one day you’re going to be a hat. Feathers are a living, breathing incredible weightless material. Texture and nature and pattern are all in a feather. These are turkey, chicken and pheasant. The pheasant has been tortured into a spiral. We burn them, dye them, singe them. Ordinary feathers made to look extraordinary.

Unicorn and Slendertone Face

The unicorn is my logo and was made out of gauze by Shirley Hex, who taught me how to make hats at the Royal College of Art. The unicorn is a symbol of magic which is what I’m trying to create. Like the Slendertone Face, which I wanted to be aerodynamic, futuristic and aesthetically beautiful. You could be wearing it on the tube and nobody would know that you had a facelift by the time you get home. Surgery without a knife. Slendertone Face is a lifting and anti-ageing device that targets a key contributor to the ageing process – the atrophy of facial muscles. Muscles naturally waste in the face and body as we get older. As the facial muscles are directly attached to skin, when they decrease in mass the attached skin sags and hollows and causes ageing of the face.

Lace Mask

This was worn by Lara Stone, David Walliams wife, on the cover of French Vogue’s 90th Anniversary edition. It’s a beautiful cover with no typeface. The editor asked me to make some masks and this one has a double eyelash thing going on which is inspired by Marilyn.

French Vogue’s 90th Anniversary edition with Lara Stone

French Vogue’s 90th Anniversary edition with Lara Stone

Warhol Picture of Marilyn Monroe

I love this because I love Marilyn. She is the ultimate illusionist, a very smart person who developed the trick of playing a dumb blonde. The photographer Richard Avedon told me she would be nervous in the make-up room but in front of the camera she would be calm because she had a role to play.

Family photo

My father was a baker and my mum a housewife. I am the second youngest of eight children. I like this picture because they look happy. They are no longer alive and they would be so entertained by what’s happening to me. They used to love Dynasty so they got such a kick out of the fact I made a hat for Joan Collins.

Grace Jones’s Crystal Bowler Hat

This is Grace Jones’s bowler hat and I art directed her shows a couple of years ago which she described as arriving back on planet earth. She’d be livid to hear me say this but she is a very nice woman. She doesn’t like me telling anyone that because she likes people to think she’s scary. People who are perceived as monsters are often the opposite.

Isabella Blow’s Ram’s Horn

These were the ram’s horns that I made for Alexander McQueen’s first Givenchy show. Isabella arrived with them one evening as if straight from battle and they were the prize. McQueen had spent the weekend at her place and he wanted horns so she ordered one of her rare breed sheep to be killed, so the poor animal was.

Slendertone Face Exclusive edition will be available exclusively at Harrods and Slendertone.com, priced at £400

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