For the first time in its history, the Royal Ascot will go ahead behind closed doors.
We have not been strangers to the virtual FOTF competitions that have taken place across the country, with ladies and men raiding their wardrobes to create new looks and taking photos from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
This year the Royal Ascot is not only hosting its own Fashion competition, but also a charity millinery auction, showcasing the work of some of the top milliners from around the UK.
What an exciting exhibition of hats and unique craftsmanship from so many different milliners, giving them (and us) something to look forward to and be a part of, in a time which would usually be the busiest time of their work calendars.
One of the 44 chosen milliners is someone we are quite familiar with over here in Australia, Ana Pribylova from Ana Bella Millinery.
Ana often jetsets to Australia for Spring Carnival to enter in the Myer Millinery Competition, which she has been a finalist for three years running. Her signature mirrored headpieces are always a showstopper and grab a lot of attention from the crowds.
Ana has also won three consecutive titles at the Dubai World Cup for her Millinery and elegant style.
Ana has been kind enough to tell us a little bit about the Royal Ascot Millinery Auction and share some behind the scenes details about her magnificent rainbow mirrored hat!
Tell me about the Royal Ascot Millinery Auction?
Royal Ascot Racecourse and the British Hat Guild, spearheaded by the legendary Stephen Jones OBE, have invited leading milliners in the UK to create a bespoke hat or headpiece featuring a rainbow theme, in-line with the nation’s use of rainbows to thank the NHS (similar to Medicare medical system in Australia) and frontline workers.
Royal Ascot (Tuesday 16th to Saturday 20th June 2020) will take place behind closed doors for the first time in the event’s history due to Covid-19 Pandemic.
In recognition of those working on the frontline of the global Covid-19 crisis, Royal Ascot has launched the #StyledWithThanks charity appeal, and part of this campaign, is a Millinery auction, where hats and headpieces in rainbow colours have been donated by Milliners. Hats will be auctioned online throughout the week of ‘Royal Ascot At Home’ with all money raised being added to the charity fund.
Where did your design inspiration come from? Were you tossing up between a few designs or was this hat the plan from the start?
This year I was chosen to showcase my millinery in the Royal Ascot Style guide 2020, one of which was the silver halo mirror piece. The guide was released, and at that point I think it was two weeks before the world went into pandemic lock down- well the UK did. It was a bit unclear if Royal Ascot was to go ahead, and I know it saddened so many as it’s always such a spectacular event to showcase hats and fashion.
After cancelling the event for the public, Royal Ascot asked me to be part of the first Royal Ascot Millinery Auction for Charity, with a rainbow theme hat design. Instantly I thought the original silver piece which was showcased in the Style Guide, lent itself to a rainbow shape, perfect! So I thought this was a great opportunity to take advantage of using so many wonderful colours in this design- something I would have never done before.
How long did it take to make this hat?
It took about 3 days, between cutting over 200 mirror pieces, waiting for glue to cure and also making the base shape of the hat, I also sculpted the hat block which the halo was made on.
What was involved in making the hat?
I had to make sure before I started that I was able to get all the materials for the rainbow halo I had envisioned, especially the different colours of glass- that was going to be a challenge. Because of the pandemic, getting materials had longer postage times.
Royal Ascot had only given us a week to make the hat, and then another week to get the hat photographed- so when you’re in isolation, you have to become all parts of the band, milliner, photographer, lighting expert all while working from home… and the clock was ticking.
I quickly realised a week was not long enough for any glass to be ordered, so I went on the hunt for all the colours of the rainbow from previous projects in my studio…lucky I hardly throw anything away, who knew that I had so many colours of the rainbow glass in my own studio!!! phew!!!!
So then I got on with cutting the mirror pieces for the halo, over 200 of them, shaping/making the base over my handmade halo hat block, covering the base in cobalt/neon blue, and then arranging the colours of mirrors on it to make the rainbow.
I have never worked with so many colours before, normally my pieces are made in monochrome, so the pattern of how I laid each mirror piece down was different. It is a time consuming piece to make, but the satisfaction in the end is so worth it, it casts the prettiest of mirror coloured sparkles, and always makes me smile- it’s also easy to wear, being a halo it’s so comfortable.
How has the Royal Ascot going ahead behind closed doors affected you as a milliner?
Initially I thought that the event was going to be cancelled all together. I didn’t think that the world, and the UK would have gone into complete isolation for about 3 months… I was truly saddened because Royal Ascot is a highlight on any racing fashion enthusiasts calendar as well as it’s the busiest time of year, in the UK for milliners, so my order book was totally bare.
But Royal Ascot and their marketing team have really, in a very short amount of time – about two or three months, been able to put some amazing fashion features together, like the #styledwiththanks campaign competition and the millinery auction. It’s given milliners, and attendees something to look forward to during isolation, and also put some orders back on my books!
So for me, it’s made me happy that we can still all take part of the fashion again…But I realize it must have been quite a feat, normally I assume planning for each Royal Ascot would take all year- so- congratulations, and thanks for giving us a little of our Royal Ascot fashion experience back.
Personally for my millinery business, during the pandemic, and all the cancelled events, weddings and orders, the silver lining is that I have been able to concentrate on getting my website ready for a new hire collection, as well as clean my studio… that really needed to happen… it also helped me find all those rainbow pieces of glass too!
I am hopeful for the future, and I’m sure racing fashion won’t change, ladies always want to be fabulous and stylish whether at home or at the track, you can’t stop us flaunting a great hat and beautiful outfits, even if it’s from home. Take care- and enjoy the first ever Royal Ascot millinery auction.
FUCHSIA- Swirled with Veil Crinoline Headpiece 💕💜💕 US$250
This piece is blocked with hand dyed toro on a peaked, oblong vintage block. Base measures 7" x 5" and is lined with matching fuchsia silk. The swirled crinoline design and veil are made with hand dyed crinoline in...
A super cute button style headpiece in a structured beret style. It is made from strips of custom dyed crinoline sewn together as a fabric. Lightweight and easy to wear, it measures 7" in diameter, and 3" tall and will...
Tall crown fedora with oversized brim. Habd crafted pale blue feather flowers add a dramatic contrasting feature removable red neck tie for multiple stylish options of wearing. $120/wk hire available at www.millinerymarket.com/en/listings/552513
White satin with silver diamond overlay blocked into a halo crown style adorned with diamanté crystals. The back features ruched white satin. $195 available at www.millinerymarket.com/en/listings/552502
Multi tones of pink with metallic rose gold and a touch of pearl gold. Features handmade leather blossom with veiling and quill feature on a handblocked base. $280 available at www.millinerymarket.com/en/listings/552488
Custom made teal straw trimmed with teal and black feathers. Easy to wear, button base on a headband. Hat tilts slightly to right side. Beautiful colour. $130 available at www.millinerymarket.com/en/listings/552492
Handblocked fine straw with handmade leather flowers, twisted quills and veiling feature. Off white and black. $315 available at www.millinerymarket.com/en/listings/552482
Layla Headband in Cinnamon, Blues and Black $95 each ❤️
Layla is a linen wrapped headband . The linen has been hand freyed on the edges and wrapped around a lightly padded headband then adorned with an assortment of little blossom. $95 each available at ...
Beautiful ready to ship sculptural headband design. Sinamay is draped waved and twisted into a modern sculptural headpiece with chopped net and multi quill feature . Mounted on a leather wrapped headband . Beautiful summery sunset tones of a dusty blush pink ...
A rear sitting wrap sinamay wired style piece in ombre lilac and ivory. Sooo pretty!! Complete with pearlised metallic vines of lilac and ivory blooms. $270 available at www.millinerymarket.com/en/listings/552472
Red hostess style twisted quill and straw feature ❤️ $220
Red Hostess style straw feature headpiece with hand sculpted twisted straw and shiny twisted quill adorn the top. Perfect neat feature piece. $220 available at www.millinerymarket.com/en/listings/552467
Fluro yellow bow on black cartwheel hat💛🖤💛 $95/week rental
Black sinamay cartwheel shaped brimmed hat with a high crown. Trimmed with luxurious satin sheen fluro yellow bow. $95/wk rental available at www.millinerymarket.com/en/listings/552463
Big black brim with upsweep and white fringe 🖤 $120 rental/ wk
Black sınamay big folded brimmed hat, with white straw cloth covered crown and fringed edge. White silk bow in the fold. Only worn once. $120/wk rental available at www.millinerymarket.com/en/listings/552464
Large single feather flower in oranges on bandeau headband 🧡 $270
Unique Fascinator. Hand dyed hand made large feather flower on a linen orange side sitting bandeau shaped headpiece. The feathers are tones of oranges from light to dark as they are hand dyed. Absolutely one only. As light...
Floral Peach Saucer - A stunning spring piece that elegantly sits on the right hand side. In gorgeous peach tones and lavishly trimmed with hand-made feather flowers.
$300 available at www.millinerymarket.com/en/listings/552424
Feel like a Queen in a crown covered in a textured swiss straw fabric, hand-dyed and trimmed with a single flower in shades of purple. $290 available at www.millinerymarket.com/en/listings/552423
Do you prefer block colours or prints?😍💖🤎
Just adore these matching face masks that come with each hat! ✨👏🏻
Ranging from £135 to £145 available at www.millinerymarket.com/en/listings/552311
Stacey (Green) - Padded Headband with Silk Ties $89
These stylish headbands are made in collaboration with and lovingly handmade by Eline Juchem as part of the Alice & Eline Collection. They feature a padded headband wrapped in tulle, with long silk dupion ties at the back which can be ...
Cream Parisisal Breton with hand dyed and hand wired Colbert Blue Guipure lace flowers. Centred with rose gold Swarovski pearls, with two hand curled blue quills. $410 available at www.millinerymarket.com/en/listings/552414
Hand blocked light pink parisisal knotted stylised fedora hat with dustings of blue. Trimmed with double braid band and sculptured pink and blue ombré feathers. $265 available at