Notes From the Millinery Worktable

Notes From the Millinery Worktable - Track Mode Horse Racing and Fashion - Iva Ksenevich 1

Millinery is all about deft charm. Image: Iva Ksenevich. Styled by Ira Grazhdankina

What it’s like to be a milliner, in Iva Ksenevich’s own words.

Almost a Millionaire

Meeting new people is always exciting. The best part of it is when you share your interests, hobbies, and work. For me, all these three points are actually one. Having an unusual job is like having a rare name – nobody expects it. Sometimes it provokes a funny reaction.

Once, at a boutique opening in Paris, I met with some Italian designers and photographers. When we started exchanging our professional information, they would be staring at me for a second thinking, then smiling intensively, shaking my hand and jumping up for a hug.

I was a bit confused until I realised why they behaved so. When someone asks me, “What’s your job?” I usually answer “I am a milliner”. They simply took it for a “millionaire.” These two words sound so similar! We were laughing a lot afterwards, and now, whenever a new person approaches with the job question, I say, “Hello, my name is Iva, I am a milliner, not a millionaire, yet!”

Still, there are a number of countries where being a milliner is quite a normal job, due to the numerous events that involve wearing a hat. For example, Australia! There are many occasions where a hat is a must and there is no way one can escape it.

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Image: Iva Ksenevich. Styled by Ira Grazhdankina

How to Choose a Milliner

When it comes to choosing your head wear style and your milliner, I would compare it to choosing your hairdresser. All you want is to feel beautiful and yet comfortable with what is on your head.

The trick with millinery is that it has such a vast range of colour variants and forms! Some like it extraordinary and voluminous, some prefer something more timid, classy, just adding an accent.

The main thing here is to find your professional, who perceives beauty the way you do, can listen, and understands what you really want. Millinery can do miracles on the matter of style.

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Headwear choices are never black and white, unless it’s for Derby Day. Image: Iva Ksenevich. Styled by Ira Grazhdankina

Millinery and Sexuality

Many times I’ve heard men say that they don’t really remember details about a woman’s look on the first date. If you ask them what colour was the nail polish, you will barely get an answer. For sure, however, there are details about charm & intelligence, body & dress.

There is, however, an article of clothing that can attract a man’s eye like nothing else — a stylish hat! It is so rare and so unique – a quiet statement – a “yes, I can!”

Once, talking to a male friend of mine about first love, I heard: “I fell in love with a woman I saw at an event, I don’t remember her face very well now, but I remember the pretty little hat she wore, that matched her dress so well …” That made me think that millinery is a truly unique accessory! Wearing a hat, a woman changes her posture, the ways she moves, and even the way she speaks.

There has always been some kind of fetish about exclusive accessories. All in all, these are not essential things in life, but they accent the whole image. Women sacrifice their comfort to wear high heels, time – to apply proper make up, and even hair!

One of my clients, an African-English woman, had to shave her head in order to wear a hat for the horse races in London – her strong curly hair just would not let the hat sit properly! The great thing is, she wasn’t sorry about it at all, as she looked gorgeous at the event! The hat did its thing!

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Hats off to seduction. Image: Iva Ksenevich. Styled by Ira Grazhdankina

This piece has been slightly edited for clarity and style. You may also want to read our feature on Iva and her hats. We also previously interviewed Jill Humphries, one of Australia’s most talented milliners.

Track Mode is a horse racing and fashion site founded and curated by Nina O’Brien. Subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive race day fashion edits delivered straight to your inbox, and find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google +.