Custom made 1940s style pink and grey felt bird wing tilt hat: Tanith Rowan Designs
Pink glass stone earrings: Claire's (recently - in case you'd like to get a pair for yourself)
1930s black and clear glass bead necklace: Maejean Vintage
Black 1940s style jersey dress: Clothing store in Scarborough, Ontario that closed down years ago
Grey faux patent leather skinny belt: (Possibly) Joe Fresh
Grey 1940s/50s winter coat with embellishments: Sybil Style
1950s pink mesh gloves: Unknown, had for years (possibly eBay)
1950s/60s black clutch purse with chain strap: Gift from a dear vintage loving friend ♥
Black seamed nude stockings: eBay
Black faux suede 1940s style shoes: Walmart
Lip colour: MAC Diva
Photography by Tony Cangiano
♥ ♥ ♥
It's a safe bet to say that just about every single one of us who wears vintage has certain holy grail items in mind. Those pieces that seem to go above and beyond mere wants or even wishlist entries and into a near mythical realm where even just thinking about their acquisition is enough to make you tremble with joy. For many, many years one such item for me had been a sophisticated late 1930s or 1940s bird winged adorned tilt hat - and all the better if it included my favourite colour ever, pink.
I looked far and wide, but none that fit the bill and my price range ever crossed my path. Enter my good friend, fellow vintage blogger, new mom, and mind-blowingly talented milliner Tanith Rowan. Earlier this year she asked if I would like to collaborate with her and together we could create my dream vintage style hat, which I would then share with all of you here (of course, she did all of the actual creating, I just discussed my fantasy hat specs with her and let her weave her incredible millinery magic).
Using vintage images and photos of vintage hats that were similar to what I had in mind, along with some lovely back and forth (detailed) discussions to really ensure we both had the same style and design of hat in mind, Tanith set to work to create a 1940s looking bird wing adorned tilt hat that, as you can see in these photos, is gorgeous to the point of leaving me at a loss for words.
Instead of using real feathers or whole bird wings, we both wanted to go for the super ethical route and leave all the little winged critters with their appendages, so instead Tanith crafted the "wings" out of felt, which along with velvet is (save for the netting and sturdy elastic strap to hold it in place) what the rest of this beguilingly beautiful pink and grey topper is made from as well.
There is an incredible sense of honour and joy that comes with having a bespoke garment of accessory made for you. In the course of my blog's life, I've had the great pleasure of experiencing it a small handful of times and can tell you that nothing on the fashion front compares to when a gift seamstress, crafter, jeweler, or in this case, milliner, is able to not only realize your vision for a particular piece, but to create something that is even more sublime and special than you could have ever hoped for. This is precisely what Tanith did in creating this awesome 1940s vintage style felt tilt hat for me and I can’t begin to express my thanks and appreciate to her for doing so enough.
It, like all of her work - which you can see anytime in her online shop, Tanith Rowan Designs, as well as on Facebook and Instagram, where she shares many of her fabulous millinery creations - knocks your socks off instantly. Not only is this hat visually stunning and incredibly vintage looking, but it is also exceptionally well made. In fact, that quality of the materials and the degree of skill involved with its creations eclipses that of many actual mid-century hats that I own.
Tanith's love for what she create shines though in each and every hat, fascinator, and headpiece that she designs. Pulling on old school inspiration and her own vivid imagination alike, Tanith's pieces are nothing short of genuine works of wearable art. I feel incredibly fortunate to now call this magnificently lovely vintage style feathered hat my own. It takes pride-of-place in my hat collection and will remain a treasured part of my wardrobe for as long as I live and indeed, should I ever have children or a niece to pass this along to, I know that it will become a family heirloom because it really is that amazing and beautiful.
Now, a hat this special called for a backdrop against which to shoot it that would fit its old school style perfectly. This meant our usual photography location haunts around town such as the lakes, woods, parks and our yard were all out. We both agreed that a vintage building or house was in order, yet as there are incredibly few of these still left in Penticton (that are accessible to the public, in the case of houses, I mean), we didn't have a lot of options.
Thankfully however, one that was ripe for the picking, if you will, not mention just a few blocks over from our own abode, is an elegant early twentieth century home called The Leir House, after the surname of the family for whom it was originally built. This stately stone house hasn't been used as a private dwelling in a long time, instead it is a cultural hub for the community, hosting arts, culture and creativity themed events and classes for the public to partake of. As such, unless a private function like a wedding is taking place there, you're free to pose with it anytime you'd like.
Knowing how scarce vintage buildings are in Penticton, Tony and I had been saving the Leir House's Chronically Vintage debut for a truly exception outfit and thanks to Tanith's gorgeous vintage style chapeau, we felt that this was just the one to do that with.
In some photos, I'm posing with a stone gazebo that's located near the small parking lot at the front of the house, in others I'm in the back yard/garden, and in one I'm sitting on a flight of stairs that run alongside the side of the house. As it is a large home on a bit of property, the Leir house affords one many lovely locations in which to take photos and on a very chilly afternoon recently in November, Tony and I did just that.
I partnered my bespoke vintage style hat with a beautiful c. 1940s grey winter coat (which is making its blog debut here today as well) that I got about three years ago now (its glamorous pink lining and grey outer hue made it a natural pairing for this hat in the same colour families), a simple black jersey dress (that while modern, does look quite 1940s-ish), and an assortment of accessories that colour coordinated well with the hat, coat and dress. The temperature seemed to plummet by the minute, so I was very thankful to have such a sturdy, warm coat (which as it's wool, when I wasn't in front of the camera with, I tucked a black velvet scarf around my neck with, so as to protect my sensitive skin, which is allergic to wool, with - but I wanted to show off the collar of the coat here, so I didn't sport my scarf on camera that day) and a warm felt hat as well to help keep near winter's chill at bay.
As 2014 nears its end, I feel especially blessed to have been able to find one of my vintage holy grails, not in this case from a second hand seller, yard sale or thrift shop, but instead created with love and unending skill by a friend and gifted milliner on the other side of the world (Tanith lives in Australia). This fact, I promise you, makes my new hat all the more special, important and beautiful to me, for I not only played a roll in its creation, but personally know that talented hands that crafted it for me.
Should you be yearning for a custom made hat of your own now (and I know you are!), you can contact Tanith anytime to chat about how she can make your vintage (or otherwise) hat dreams come true.