Celina Kane’s career choice had to be creative.
The daughter of restaurateur Brenda Langton and artist Timothy Kane is a milliner and the founder of HAT MAKE (hatmake.com). “Generally, I only make women’s hats, so I call myself a milliner because I am trained in millinery techniques, which are slightly different from hatters [makers of men’s hats],” Celina said. Her men’s hats are the kind women would wear. “I love what’s happening in fashion that gender is getting more mixed. People can wear whatever makes them feel happy and confident.”
A milliner for 2½ years, the 2013 U grad and triple major in art history, political science and French has studied millinery for four years in New York City and Paris. “My mentor Anya Caliendo [anyacaliendo.com] … set the numerical deadline of how many hats you have to make to call yourself a milliner. The number was 35.”
Completing that quota can bring you to tears when one of the hats is a turban. Celina imitated Caliendo’s Russian accent: First, you get excited. Next you get frustrated. Then turban make you cry. “Swear to God it happened,” Celina said. “I couldn’t get it right and she kept pulling it out and making me redo it. Last time I went to visit her she was like, Celina, I don’t teach the turban anymore. It made too many people cry.”
Because I don’t want to be brought to tears the next time I eat at Spoonriver, I need to include this unrelated note, requested by Celina’s mom when I was at her restaurant shooting video:
Get your tickets now for the Mill City Farmers Market’s Harvest Social, the big fundraiser in the train shed Sept. 10 running from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
On Sept. 13, at A-Mill Artist Lofts Performance Hall, Kane will introduce her new couture line, Celina Kane, and showcase fall and winter chapeaus from HAT MAKE. The gallery reception is from 5 to 9 p.m., with hors d’oeuvres provided by, wait for it, Spoonriver.
Q: Did you go to college and then decided you’re going to be a milliner?
A: Yes. I loved the paintings and sculptures in front of me but also the history. But I didn’t want to go to school for my Ph.D. in art history. At that same time I started imagining hats everywhere. I would get in my mind weird shapes I wanted to put on people’s heads. I was like: I need to listen to this. Neither of my parents went to college. They are both self-made; that entrepreneurial spirit was around me, in addition to artistry. My parents’ goal was to get me through college. They were like: We never had this. It’s important. They’ve been so supportive.
Q: So you were not a hat-wearing kid?
A: As a kid I was. I didn’t go anywhere without a bucket hat. I don’t make bucket hats. Like glasses, I think it’s the only other accessory you’re going to notice. Hats can create mystery and you can become a whole new character or you can hide from the world in them. Or you can flaunt. That’s something that intrigues me about hats.
Q: You’re a perfectionist about your hats. Are you a perfectionist about every other area of your life?
A: Pretty much. It’s always all about striving to make a better product or better self.
Q: Will we ever catch you in a baseball cap?
A: I did get a baseball cap at the Macy’s closing sale downtown. A black leather baseball cap. It’s just cool. I’ll wear it.
Q: What kind of hat-wearing community is the Twin Cities?
A: Ummmm. I’d say a mild one. It’s a very casual city. There’s not a ton of suffering for fashion here, which is totally fine. I know that and try to design pieces that will fit in.
Q: Would you marry a man who didn’t wear hats?
A: Yes. I have a thing about guys in hats. I don’t know if I like it or not.
Q: How much is the most expensive hat someone ruined … by wearing makeup?
A: One of the turbans got a little makeup on it, and that’s a $475 hat. But I was able to remedy the situation.
Q: What do you cook better than your mother?
A: I think I cook couscous better than my mom. I like it the way I like it. She is the Queen of Veggies. I don’t know how she does it.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count.