Who: Abigail Ahern, Interior Designer Where: Maison et Objet, Paris…
Who: Fiona Bennett – Hat Designer
What a remarkable, creative job I’m thinking upon entering Fiona Bennett’s hat shop at the Potsdamer Straße in Berlin and am standing in front of her incredibly beautiful creations. One hat is more impressive than the other and if I wouldn’t be looking for a specific occasion – the ‘Wiesn’ in Munich – I would be completely overchallenged.
Hat designer Fiona Bennett knows the slightly enraptured and enchanted reaction of her customers. With a scrutinizing look into my green eyes she puts a lime green hat decently loaded with a lot of ornaments, starting with feathers to opulent silk flowers and shiny applications from her new garp collection onto my head. I instantaneously feel comfortable, since I like wearing hats. Yes, this could be it.
For months Fiona Bennett and her team have been working on the completion of the latest collection that includes seven themes and that distinguishes itself completely from the summer collection by the material and color choices. Shaped by noble velvet and patent leather, the collection that will grace the heads of many women this fall and winter is called so adequately ‘Black Cherry’. “It is quite couture-like and therefore suitable for evening occasions”, explains the designer the magnificent headdresses. “This season’s trend is reduced and pure.” Need more color? How about a model in the new powder shades.
At the atelier there is a buzzing atmosphere, people steam and sew like crazy, because in two weeks the ‘Oktoberfest’ in Munich is starting: “And that is when the big demand for hats is happening, always shortly before the ‘O’zapft is’ “, smiles Fiona Bennett. She is well prepared. For the new models the milliner – how the hat designer’s job is traditionally called – has rediscovered an old artisanal tradition: creating feathers and other ornaments from the same material like the hat, felted mohair for example.
The native Brit Fiona Bennett has been living in Berlin since the 70s. Though born in Brighton, Fiona grew up in Berlin Charlottenburg and even as a little girl already knew that she wanted to do something creative and plastic. 25 years ago she learned the craftsmanship from an old Berlin milliner from scratch. Today Fiona Bennett’s creations are worn by celebrities like Christina Aguilera, Yoko Ono – and thanks to the men’s collection even by superstars Hugh Jackman, or Brad Pitt. “Often black limousines drive up and drop off the prominent clientele”, reveals Fiona Bennett, who never leaves the house without a hat herself.
In her 100 square meter showroom Fiona Bennett also displays her amazingly soft knitting collection ‘Kiss by Fiona Bennett’, which is sold within 60 countries, besides the men and women’s hat collections. Bennett’s couture hats are often custom-made designs, as of recent, when a customer had hair of its own horse incorporated into the hat.
„The hat stands in the tradition of surrealism”, describes Bennett her design. “It always has something to do with leading things ad absurdum.” Yet it is important to her that a hat endues – and doesn’t disguise. The hat should reflect its owner’s personality. Back to my own hat concern and the near ‘Oktoberfest’: I decide to go with the lime green creation. The trendy flower wreaths that you can see everywhere these days are very sweet – in my opinion – for young girls. A grown woman rather chooses a suitable hat to go with her dirndl. BvH
These hats suit you well
Hut Palast – Fiona Bennett
Potsdamer Str. 81