for Second City Style Magazine
London-based couture milliner Philip Treacy has worked with some of fashion's most iconic designers, and has held positions as the chief milliner for Chanel, Alexander McQueen and Valentino. The creative mind behind the butterfly-adorned plant hat atop Sarah Jessica Parker at the Sex and the City movie premiere last year, as well as Lady Gaga's glitterized multi-tiered lightening bolt creation from this year Grammy's, Treacy's finely detailed and masterful pièces de résistance rarely want for recognition. On a recent trip to Neiman Marcus in Chicago, where he showcased a variety of hats from his latest collection, Treacy and I sat down for a chat on glamour, the Lady Gaga effect, and everyone's need for a touch of fantasy.
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SCS: I was reading your interview with the Houston Chronicle, and you said that "your bread and butter comes from a highly conservative woman." What did you mean by that?
PT: What I meant is that people think I make hats for crazy people, but I actually make hats for quite conservative women, English women – who are pretty wild. They look conservative, because real eccentricity is not crazy. Eccentricity is much more subtle. Some of them are actually quite conservative outwardly, but inwardly they have their own sense of fantasy, like most people.
SCS: Do you have specific women in mind when you design each hat?
PT: No – they're just all hoping to meet a personality, really. Wearing a hat is about desire – I'm appealing to desire. We don't need a hat, but we do need some things to make us make feel better. That's why people shop. I very rarely find something I want, but when I do, I really want it. And that's fantastic. I depend on that desire, because you're appealing to something inexplicable in a person. You're selling fantasy.Read more "A Conversation with Philip Treacy" here.