Hats. They aren’t the year-round wardrobe staple they were in the early 20th century, but they’ve made a fashion comeback in recent years. Minnesota is home to several impressive milliners who practice the ancient craft of hat-making. And Saturday’s Kentucky Derby is the perfect opportunity to don one of these stylish chapeaus — from wide-brimmed styles festooned with flowers, to sculptural fascinators, to geometric toppers featuring hand-embroidered details.
Check out these great local designs.
Ruby3 by Anna Lee
Minnesota designer Anna Lee has been crafting headwear under the Ruby3 label for nearly two decades. In 2014, she unveiled a line of Kentucky Derby-inspired hats, including flower-trimmed straw boaters and whimsical fascinators with oversized blooms. She recently relocated from the Twin Cities to Fargo-Moorhead, and added a selection of hand-painted styles inspired by recent forays into abstract painting.
Where to buy: ruby3.com
Karen Morris Millinery
Born in Hong Kong, hat maker Karen Morris trained under master milliners in London, Ireland and North Carolina before moving to the Twin Cities in 2009. Two years later, she launched Karen Morris Millinery, a line of high-end hats that combine traditional British hat-making techniques with a modern aesthetic. The designer utilizes simple shapes, exotic materials and unique textures for styles that are as artful as they are stylish.
Where to buy: Scarborough Fair Shop (2238 Carter Av., St. Paul, 651-224-4182), Showroom (615 W. Lake St., Mpls., 612-345-7391), Karen Morris Millinery Shop (326 E. Hennepin Av., Suite 206, Mpls., 612-839-4857) or kmhats.com
Minneapolis native Celina Kane studied in Paris and New York City under master milliners before returning to her hometown in 2015 to launch Hat Make. Her luxe, fashion-forward collection of rabbit-fur felt and woven straw hats incorporates geometric shapes, fringe and metallic studs. Recently, the designer introduced an eco-friendly line of woven summer hats made from Japanese rice paper and recycled plastic.
Where to buy: hatmake.com
Mary Jo Stockman enjoys driving antique horse carriages for sport, but she found it difficult to locate the kinds of fanciful hats befitting the activity. So the Hampton resident headed to North Carolina to take millinery classes in 2008. She then taught her friend, Paula Thompson, what she learned and the pair started Hat Trix, a line of women’s hats ideal for carriage rides and Derby parties alike.
Where to buy: fabuloushat.com
In 2006, Angie Hall Sandifer left the corporate world to embark on a hat-making career. After studying under a master milliner in North Carolina, she founded Angie’s Hats, a line of hats she creates in her Lowertown studio in St. Paul. Using a base of high-quality felt and straw, she trims her creations with feathers, flowers and ribbons for a look that is elegant and refined.
Where to buy: Scarborough Fair Shop, Angie’s Hats studio (308 Prince St., Studio 610, St. Paul, 651-208-4442) or angieshats.com
Angeline Alice Millinery
Kelly Schultz founded her first line of hats in 2011 after being inspired by the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Today, the St. Paul native and Bemidji resident decorates her one-of-a-kind fascinators and hats with ribbon, organza, tulle, silk and feathers from native Minnesota birds.
Where to buy: angelinealice.com
Hat-making is just one of many media utilized by Candy Kuehn. The Minneapolis textile artist incorporates dyeing, netting, recycled straw, feathers and floral supplies for her conceptual hat designs. Highlights include a piece resembling a bird’s nest, decorated with faux birds.
Where to buy: Scarborough Fair Shop, Candy Kuehn studio (California Bldg., 2205 NE. California St., Mpls., 612-272-1626) or candykuehnstudio.com
Jahna Peloquin is style editor of Minnesota Monthly magazine and a fashion, design and arts writer in Minneapolis.