The journey of creating millinery for JLo's US Tour

Have you ever had a 'Pinch me moment'?

Well I have, and this is my story...

An email suddenly appeared on my phone - a request for samples of my designs. The requester? None other than JLo's personal stylist.  I had no idea, in that moment, where this exciting opportunity would take me.

It's a surreal moment in life when you feel compelled to pinch yourself just to confirm it's real. Never in my wildest imagination could I have foreseen designing headwear for one of the world's most iconic megastars when I began my journey in hat making three decades ago. I've admired JLo's music, enjoyed her films, and marvelled at her impeccable fashion sense, but the idea of creating exclusive designs for Jennifer Lopez's 'It's my Party' USA Tour 2019 never crossed my mind.

At first, I was convinced it was a prank. However, as weeks passed and after numerous exchanges, it became evident that this was a genuine request. Eventually, the order expanded to 28 headpieces, which made their debut in Los Angeles for the tour's opening in June 2019.

As the tour kicked off, I was emailed an image of the concert, showcasing my creations on stage. That moment compelled me to witness it firsthand. Without hesitation, my partner and I swiftly booked tickets to Las Vegas, jetting off just three days later for a whirlwind weekend. Experiencing the electrifying show, seeing my headpieces shine under the spotlight, and even meeting JLo backstage was an unforgettable experience, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that left me buzzing with excitement.

Let's explore the creative aspect behind the headpieces that has sparked numerous inquiries.

Crinoline stands out as one of my preferred materials for millinery creations. Whether it's tubular, pleated, coarse, or soft, its versatility allows for the crafting of remarkable, structural designs. In particular, the silver lurex crinoline I employed for the visor headpieces exuded a stunning sparkle on stage, making it an ideal choice for the dynamic backup dancers to wear during performances.

Utilizing millinery wire, I constructed a lightweight yet sturdy wirework foundation to securely affix the crinoline. The resulting swirls of crinoline effortlessly hovered above the dancers' heads, creating a mesmerizing effect under the stage lights. The shimmering spectacle it produced amidst the flashing lights was truly a sight to behold.

During my individual Millinery Mentoring sessions, a common question I encounter from students is, "How can I establish my own unique style?" To this, I often respond that while we all have access to the same traditional millinery materials, such as crinoline, it's about exploring innovative approaches to their usage. I vividly recall the less-than-desirable puffy crinoline bows adorning hats in the 90s, which were truly cringe-worthy.

Initially, I avoided crinoline altogether, until one day I decided to experiment with it. Through this exploration, I discovered fresh techniques to impart structure, definition, and a wow factor to its appearance. By incorporating crinoline into handcrafted wirework shapes and frames, I pioneered designs featuring swirls, face visors, and dramatic twirling trims. Suddenly, a material that had once been relegated to my list of cringe-worthy options became a centerpiece of my repertoire, offering endless possibilities for captivating designs.

The key lies in thinking outside the box and pushing the boundaries of traditional materials. By experimenting with manipulation techniques and embracing unconventional approaches, one can transform materials like wire and crinoline into mesmerizing creations that steal the spotlight on even the grandest stages, such as a Megastars US Tour!

~ Rebecca xo 

Video recording of the JLo interview with 'Today Extra' hosts Sonia Kruger and David Campbell.