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Twitch upon the Thread

The Devil Wears Violet

S/S14 Laura Cathcart Millinery - Sculpture by Charlie Day of Violet Day

I have just finished shooting the ‘look-book’ for my Summer 2014 Collection London, using as my model a beautiful head by sculptor and garden designer Charlie Day. Perhaps one reason it is so alluring - and perfect for my hats – is that the model is his Charlie’s wife, my friend Victoria Naylor-Leland.

Violet Day in her Fembot Costume by Violet's Box

Violet Day in her Fembot Costume by Violet’s Box

Violet is extremely busy dressing up most times of the year but at this time of year – the run up to Halloween – she is especially in demand as as she runs my favourite super-decadent fancy dress costume hire boutique, called Violet’s Box. Normally, Violet’s Box is based in Fulham but so many people love her wacky and quirky costumes – which she models herself on her website – she has been given a pop-up boutique in the window of Austique on the King’s road.

I’ve just hired my own costume for a Zombie/Medical Halloween Party which promises to be a monster; and I’m just glad I hired it early this week as I expect there will be queues of Londoners pacing around her window in the King’s Road which is completely arresting and beautifully dressed, just like the set of a teen horror film. Violet is definitely THE place to go for anybody who likes to dress up in a sexy, decadent and quirky way without being totally tacky or tasteless.

I always use rising young artist sculpture heads for modelling the look-book of my hats. Although I’m excited about using fashion photography with the actress Georgie Rylance to model my Summer Collection later this winter, I do love using sculpture. For a start, no sculpture head is going to be moody after the tenth take when the lighting doesn’t work properly.

Ever since I went around the Rodin Museum garden in Paris earlier this year, I’ve really tried to find some of the best young sculptors to work with and Charlie Day is definitely a rising star. He studied for his diploma in garden design at Guildford College and then worked extensively for private gardens around Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. Landscape and place – and a sense of the physical - is obvious in his work, and it was one of the very easiest shoots we’ve ever done. Violet was impeccably professional and the results speak for themselves.

I love the fact that Charlie is a designer of anything that can be made beautiful – from kitchen and walled gardens, to boathouses, water gardens and tennis courts. Somebody who can see beauty everywhere understands why I love making hats – as hats are a way of making each day unique.

I also love the fact he has designed exotic tree houses – that might very well be my next project commission from him as we are thinking of one for our medieval wood in the country. In the meantime, working with such a talented sculptor has made me vow that I must not miss the final week of the Rodin/Henry Moore show in the gardens of Henry Moore’s private house and artist’s studio at Perry Green in Hertfordshire.

The last day is Sunday – the day after my all-nighter of a Halloween party – which could mean that I may have to crawl around the garden to see the show.

Or perhaps if I can persuade my future husband to keep wearing his white doctor’s coat from his Halloween outfit, he can wheel me around the Henry Moore gardens in a hospital wheelchair…..


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