Vicky Meets… Isabella Josie, Milliner

Isabella Josie
Isabella Josie

BY Vicky Edwards

How did you start making hats?

I took a millinery course in London with Rose Cory, a Royal Warrant holder who made hats for the Queen Mother. I learned how to make couture hats and went on to work with other milliners, developing my own style. I have always been a crafter and so my pieces incorporate different crafts and techniques. They are all made from scratch, by hand, and are completely bespoke.

What sort of occasions do people get hats made for?

Weddings, events like the Goodwood Revival, the races and all sorts of special occasions. I made a hat recently for a client to wear when her husband received his knighthood. It gives me a real buzz if I see one of my hats being worn at an event.

Are wedding hats mainly for mothers of the bride and the groom?

Yes, and also for the bride. Often brides come to me with something like vintage lace from a family dress or piece of family jewellery that they want incorporated into their headpiece. There is always a story behind these items and often it is a very moving story. I also do a lot of Hen Party Workshops where the bride and hens make their own head pieces for the big day.

Do you enjoy making hats for weddings?

It is an absolute privilege to be part of such a special event. Although weddings can get a bit political and stressful and I do sometimes end up being a counsellor as well as a milliner!

You are at the Novium Museum’s Wedding Showcase this coming Sunday at the Guildhall in Chichester’s Priory Park. Can people come along and see your work?

Absolutely. Come and have a chat and try some samples. The Guildhall is such an incredible venue for a wedding showcase. There will be lots of different wedding services there, including make-up artists, photographers, florists, wine merchants and lots more. I hope we see lots of wedding parties trying things out and maybe even winning the prize draw!

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

An Ascot hat that was requested just three days before the event. Quite a tight timescale!

What’s hot in hats at the moment?

Current trends include discus-shaped hats and cocktail styles. Sculptured pieces are also popular.

Can anyone wear a hat?

There is a style to suit everyone. I meet clients at my workshop in Bognor or at my unit at Bosham Walk in Bosham and I try lots of samples on them so we can work out what will flatter them.

I hear you are continuing a Bognor Regis tradition of hat making?

Sir Richard Hotham was a London hatter – hence Hatters pub – and so there is a link with millinery in the town. I’m very happy to continue the tradition.

More info:

The Wedding Showcase is at the Guildhall in Chichester’s Priory Park on Sunday 29 September, 11am – 3pm. More info: 01243 775888