CROWN JEWELS
Many members of New York’s Milliners Guild are FIT alumni. Hue asked noted photographer Amy Lombard ’12 to shoot a photo essay about them

Great hatmakers are the unicorns of the fashion world. Not just anyone can turn out a top-notch toque. Every master milliner is also, in some way, a genius.

One warm summer evening, this formulation played out when members of the Milliners Guild and their pals came to City Lore, a small storefront space on First Street in Manhattan. The occasion was the opening of Mad Hatters: New York Hats and Hatmakers, an exhibition of tip-top toppers from the Big Apple. The show was designed to appeal to every possible headwear fan, from the artisans who create hats to those who wear them as costume. Court jester chapeaux, church lady hats, a hoodie, a shtreimel (worn by Ultra-Orthodox Jews), and even a couple of stylish hijabs were on display. Members of the Guardian Angels showed up because—that’s right—one of their signature red berets was being exhibited, right beneath a firefighter’s helmet.

 

The guild, an organization founded in 2005 to raise the public profile of the millinery industry, counts many FIT alumni among its members. A few designed or loaned their creations to the show. “It’s not just about hats,” said Carlos Lewis ’85, who contributed a dazzling confection rendered in the colors of the Jamaican flag. “It’s about history—and culture.”

Hue asked hot art photographer Amy Lombard ’12 to capture the proceedings. Photo District News Magazine recently named her a new and emerging photographer to watch. She specializes in subcultures—yo-yo enthusiasts, members of the Harry Potter fan club, hermit-crab race aficionados. “I can be put in any situation and not really be fazed by anything,” she said.

Rising above the crowd appeared an enormous blue bow, sparkling with glitter, attached to Rosemary Ponzo, Fashion Design ’82, a stylist, costumer, and hat designer extraordinaire. “How do you keep that on?” an admirer asked. “The wonders of tape,” Ponzo replied, and she wandered off into the night.

Featured Photo: Evetta Petty, Fashion Buying and Merchandising ’79, Kathy Anderson, Marketing: Fashion and Related Industries ’83, Millinery Certificate ’06, Michael McCants, Millinery Certificate ’10.