August 27 2014

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4 posts tagged "Heather Huey"

Heather Huey’s Hats Get Dark and Decadent


Heather Huey

Entering milliner Heather Huey’s apartment, a fourth-floor walk-up in a heavily graffitied building in Bushwick, is a surreal shock. With rustic dark wood furniture, raw brick walls, and sewing supplies strewn across the center table, her home-cum-studio resembles something from another era. The walls are covered with the designer’s architectural “cage” garments, as well as her fiancé Billy Kidd’s black-and-white photographs. And then, against the back wall, there’s the 6-foot-high cabinet filled with her hats.

Huey makes the most spectacular—often one-of-a-kind—cranial confections. So when she invited me to preview her latest outing, which debuts exclusively here, I jumped at the chance. Fall ’14, the first collection Huey has designed since last year’s Pleated Project, boasts sculptural toppers crafted from manipulated black felt, distorted rosettes, tulle veils, feathers, chiffon-coated crystals, beads, and more. The embellished lineup is a departure for Huey, who usually focuses on form rather than frills. Though, as the designer tells it, “I love looking at old movies from the ’40s and ’50s. I’m such an admirer of the elaborate headpieces you see in them, so I thought I might as well just make my own versions and get that out of my system.” After seeing the results, like a beaded headband befitting a Spanish queen or an origami-ed bow-topped number that ever-so-slightly tilts to cover the forehead, I selfishly hope she hasn’t quenched her craving for such styles. But if this first foray into decoration is, in fact, her last, at least it packs a punch.

Heather Huey

“I had accumulated all these random trims that my sister gave me,” Huey continued of the range, which looks like it belongs in a dark, decadent fairy tale—or, as she described it, “Marie Antoinette-meets-Man Ray.” “And they inspired me to start working on something that was a bit more regal. Something that had a little bit more pomp and circumstance.” Huey carefully fastened an abstract fedora—garnished with gauzy blooms and a lone feather—to the left side of her head. “Nothing too extreme, though,” she deadpanned.

In addition to these one-off designs, Huey sells a selection of everyday(ish) toppers, including expertly shaped straw sun hats, critter-inspired fascinators sold at Kiki de Montparnasse, and rhinestone rabbit ears, which I recently purchased for my own collection. It’s Huey’s special concoctions, however, that bring her the most joy. “I was raised in Ridgewood, Queens. Everything was always very low-key,” Huey recalled, while sitting in her living room in loose khaki pants and a faded gray tee. “I love dressing up, but within five minutes of walking out the door, I feel very self-conscious. I wish I were that woman, but in reality, it’s just not me.” She rarely wears her own hats, leaving that pleasure to models, pop stars like Rihanna, and eccentrics like Michelle Harper. But in making them for others, she gets her fix.

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Photos: Billy Kidd

Editor Obsessions: Heather Huey’s Rhinestone-Embellished Bunny Ears


Every day,’s editors reveal their current obsessions—and where to buy them. Check out today’s pick, below.

Heather Huey

My obsession this week fuses my two true loves: hats and my black rabbit, Mssr. François Froufrou. I am about to order Heather Huey’s spectacular rhinestone-embellished bunny ears. Naturally, I’ll wear them as an ode to my furry companion, and I envision pairing them with a voluminous Comme des Garçons look. I’m also planning on donning Huey’s headpiece on Halloween. You see, with this topper, I can throw on my vintage black jumpsuit and dress as François. François will then wear his custom Piers Atkinson top hat and go as me—pending his approval, of course. As Amy Sedaris told me, bunny’s always the boss.

Heather Huey bunny ears, $750, Buy it now

Photo: Via

Heather Huey Gets Pleated


“I felt like I needed to do something a little bit more classic,” says thirty-two-year-old Heather Huey, the milliner-cum-conceptual-designer best known for her dramatic body cages (as worn by Rihanna in her Annie Leibovitz-lensed Vogue spread last November), crystal bunny masks, and sculptural chapeaux. Indeed, Pleated Project, her latest collection of pleated grosgrain and felt headpieces, stems from classic references (like circle hats and papal miters), but the result is hardly traditional. Made completely in black (“I love black,” says Huey. “It’s classic, flattering, easy, and lets me focus on other elements of design, like shape, texture, and finish.”), the collection features a host of structured toppers that are simultaneously wearable and editorial. Take, for instance, a fascinator that twists and arcs like a pair of frowning lips, or a large piece with upturned wings that merges Hunger Games-esque futurism with a Victorian silhouette (thanks to her background in architecture, Huey’s shapes are always unusual but considered).

So who can pull off Huey’s head sculptures? “She has to have confidence and a desire to commit to whatever look she is creating,” explains the designer, who describes her personal aesthetic as “low-key casual” and rarely wears her own work. (There are exceptions, of course, like when her boyfriend, photographer Billy Kidd shot Huey in her creations for an exhibition at Clic Gallery last year.) She does, however, try on her toppers during the design process. “My head isn’t really a ‘hat’ head, so I know if it looks good on me, it’s going to look amazing on anyone else,” she laughs.

After spending several months on her intricate pleated looks, Huey is already planning her next move—a new range of cages. “The Pleated Project challenged me to take on the traditional,” she says. “Now I’m ready to try something new and modern again.”

Heather Huey’s handmade hats and cages are available at Kiki de Montparnasse, on her Web site, and at other select retailers.

Photos: Billy Kidd

Tip of the Hat


Thanks to European labels like Saint Laurent, Acne Studios, and Costume National, hats—mainly casual versions with wide brims—are a well-established Spring ’13 trend. But here in the USA, it’s National Hat Day. And while milliners across the pond (like Stephen Jones, Philip Treacy, Piers Atkinson, and Maison Michel) get lots of love from the fashion set, we’d like to use the holiday to tip our toppers to homegrown headgear talent. Take CFDA winner Eugenia Kim, for instance. Her sweet kitten-ear felt caps were a big hit this fall, and her bright feather-embellished fedoras can be worn with most anything. Satya Twena crafts everything from easy-to-wear fedoras to out-there studded fascinators, and Jason Wu included floppy feminine hats in his debut Miss Wu collection. On the more eccentric side, we have milliner Heather Huey, whose conceptual chapeaux (left)—which range from bejeweled bunny ears to sculpted, twisted takes on more traditional styles—have appeared in magazines such as Vogue, W, and Interview . Whether or not you deem yourself a “hat person,” National Hat Day is the perfect excuse to experiment with topping off your look. And, considering each of the designers above is based in New York, you won’t have to go too far to do so.

Photo: Courtesy of