Spring Racing Carnival, milliner, Ann Shoebridge

The Spring Racing Carnival is one of the most glamorous occasions for fine fillies to frock up – here, leading Australian milliner Ann Shoebridge gives SHESAID readers her top tips on how to join the winners’ circle.

And Ann knows a thing or two about spring racing style: a go-to millinery label for Australia’s racing carnival circuit, Ann’s artistic headwear creations have a loyal celebrity following from the likes of Rachael Finch (pictured above and bottom), Lara Bingle, Jennifer Hawkins (pictured below) and Kate Waterhouse.

Spring Racing Carnival, milliner, Ann Shoebridge

Distinctively modern and with a sophisticated elegance, Ann’s designs are always stand-outs. Renowned for bringing sculpture, colour and light to her collections, Ann Shoebridge collections are stocked at Myer, Napoleon Life.Style, Fleur Wood, Alannah Hill and Laine Melbourne. The milliner is also planning to expand into prestige boutiques in Paris, London and Hong Kong.

Drawing inspiration from art, film, music and nature, Ann’s collections pay homage to traditional hat design, while expressing a modern, stylistic element, with original design and playfulness at the heart of each avant-garde piece.

With a Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours), it was this love of creativity and design that inspired Ann to launch her eponymous label, with her studying millinery at Swinburne University to hone her craft. Launching her first collection in 2003, Ann’s designs quickly achieved widespread acclaim, first sold through leading accessories boutique Christine’s in Melbourne, before gaining a loyal following Australia-wide.

Experimenting with new textiles, materials and stylistic design, Ann personally handcrafts each piece in Sydney with fabrics and supplies sourced from the finest millinery providers worldwide. Last year, she achieved a major milestone, with her designs acquired for permanent collection, Australian Fashion & Textiles, at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Her latest millinery collection, Mono Daily (pictured below), pays homage to the survival of the daily print newspaper. Visit www.annshoebridge.com for more information.

Spring Racing Carnival, milliner, Ann Shoebridge

What are your Spring Racing Carnival do’s and don’ts?  Do carry bandaids, bring a jacket that matches your outfit (for Melbourne’s inclement weather) and do wear your hat on the flight down to Melbourne – the plane looks fabulous with a sea of gorgeous headwear!
Spring racing don’ts: never carry your shoes and walk barefoot, take off your hat (beware hat hair!) and drink too much – that also goes with betting!

Who is the one celebrity you would most love to dress? I would love to create a headpiece for a stage queen, let’s say: Lady Gaga, Grace Jones, Madonna or Kylie – any of those talented songstresses.

What’s best about your new Mono Daily collection? It’s simple, strong, and elegant, with a timeless design.

What do you love most about designing millinery? I love how a hat completely transforms an individual – as famous UK milliner Stephen Jones says: “A hat is the exclamation mark at the end of an outfit!”

Spring Racing Carnival, milliner, Ann Shoebridge