A bride’s hair accessories are often just as important as their bridal gown. This is where an exquisitely hand crafted piece can really steal the show and turn a great bridal outfit into an absolutely amazing one. Couture bridal hair accessories are an incredible keepsake to hand down through generations as well. One of our favourite bridal milliners, Holly Barker Millinery, is based in Perth and it’s always a treat for us to check out her latest work at our fairs. We recently got to know a little more about her business and how all of you brides can go about having a showstopping custom bridal hair piece, regardless of where you live!
Share with us how you came to launch Holly Barker Millinery?
I studied Costume and Millinery at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and after I graduated I went straight into a bridal house, in Perth, designing, beading and helping create couture bridal gowns. I made headpieces and silk flowers for our brides on the side. Millinery is my passion and after 5 years, I knew that I wanted to start my own business so I could create headpieces full time. So at the beginning of 2010, Holly Barker Millinery was launched and I haven’t looked back.
PHOTOGRAPHY Lanceshotme Visual Artist
What inspires you when it comes to designing your gorgeous hair accessories?
I love fashion, Haute Couture and period costume, so they are a major inspiration for me. My favourite designers are Alexander McQueen and John Galliano – they weren’t afraid of pushing boundaries and always inspire a lot of ideas for me. However inspiration can come from many things – a flower, a dress, jewellery, a piece of lace or fabric. A bride can show me a photo of her dress and I can come up with about 5 headpieces that will go with it, it just happens! I don’t like to follow trends and I like to be a bit different, so I make headpieces that I love that are one of a kind.
Beatrix Headpiece – PHOTOGRAPHY Fotografia Coppola
What would be your favourite hairpiece that you have created so far and why?
I honestly love all the headpieces that I make, but I do have a couple of favourites. One is the butterfly headpiece – I just love the shape. I bought some gorgeous French lace, was playing around with designs for a piece to sit across the forehead and thought – it looks like a butterfly – let’s do that!
PHOTOGRAPHY Katey Emma Photography
Another was a mini top hat that I made for a bride last year, who was having a ‘Steampunk’ wedding. I made it out of silk panels, with leather, studs and tiny little cogs at the back. It was definitely a statement and suited the bride’s personality perfectly! Another which was completely encrusted in Swarovski crystals in gold and silver tones. See… it’s hard to pick just one!
You have a gorgeous collection of hair pieces on your website – what is the process should a bride fall in love with one of your regular collection?
Every piece I create is custom made, so that the bride can have exactly what she wants without compromise and knows that she is getting a one-of-a-kind headpiece. Custom orders usually take 4-6 weeks to complete. However, brides don’t always have the time to do this, so I am launching a range of ‘Ready to Wear’ pieces at the end of April. Limited release headpieces that you can purchase as is. They are all made by me, so you can still have a quality handmade piece within a shorter time frame.
Elektra Headpiece – PHOTOGRAPHY Fotografia Coppola
For those who love your pieces how can they purchase them? Do you have a “bricks and mortar” store or stockists for those who would like to have a try on in person first?
Because I offer a couture service, I don’t have any stockists for my headpieces, I like to meet with each bride in person for a one-on-one consultation to try on sample headpieces.
What is your process for custom orders?
At the initial consultation, a bride will bring photos of her dress, her jewellery and any other inspiration. We discuss her ideas and the theme of the wedding. This helps me get to know her personality and the overall look she is after so I can design the perfect piece for her. The bride gets to try on headpieces/veils and I show her samples of all the laces, fabrics, crystals, pearls, feathers etc. I roughly ‘build’ the headpiece so she can see exactly what it will look like and draw a sketch to work from.
Real bride Brooke – PHOTOGRAPHY Christine Lim Photography
What advice do you have for brides when they are selecting hair accessories for themselves and their bridesmaids?
Start a Pinterest board so you can see all your ideas together. You may love lots of headpieces but they won’t all be right for your wedding day! Try hair accessories on. Just like with dresses, you might love the look of it but it may not look right when you try it. Think about the dress and hair style; accessories should complement both the detail on your dress and also the hairstyle you’ve chosen. This applies to both brides and their bridesmaids. Lots of brides ask about veils. If you like the idea of a veil, you can have a hair accessory too! The nice thing is you can take the veil off after photos and still have an amazing headpiece in your hair for the reception! Win win!
Real bride Ashlee – PHOTOGRAPHY We Are All Stardust
Styling mothers of the bride and groom can be very tricky – what styles do you have that you would recommend for a sophisticated hair accessory for mothers?
It can be tricky! Again, think about the style of dress they have chosen and also the bride’s look. Choose a theme appropriate hair accessory – you don’t want the mothers wearing a formal hat for a relaxed vintage wedding. I have so many options for mums, from a simple fascinator, modern ‘hattinators’ (think small racewear headpieces) hand made silk flowers, to beaded hair combs. I custom make for mums too, so you can create something to suit each of their personalities and perfectly match the dress styles and colours. Remember they don’t have to match, just look good next to each other for photos!
How far out from a wedding should brides be booking in to have a hair accessory created by you?
Brides usually come to me about 6 months before their wedding. This is ample time to have the headpiece created and to organise other accessories like shoes and jewellery. I like to have the headpieces ready for the brides to take to a hair trial. Not everyone thinks of this, but it’s really handy for you and your hairdresser to have it with you, so you know how it will all look before the wedding day. As I said it normally only takes 4-6 weeks for me to create each piece. Orders permitting, I can do rush orders if you have less time than this, but the more time you give yourself, the less stressed you will be in the lead up to the big day.
Daniela Headpiece – PHOTOGRAPHY Fotografia Coppola
When you’re not creating show-stopping pieces what do you love to spend your time doing?
I have a young daughter so I love to spend time with her and my hubby. We’re trying to visit as many places around WA as we can in our holidays. I think a good work/life balance is important so that I maintain my love and passion for my work. I love to read, watch movies, and catch up with my girlfriends for coffee (and chocolate!). I also like to do embroidery, I’m currently learning some 18th century embroidery techniques, which I am dying to put into a new headpiece.
Real bride Jessie – PHOTOGRAPHY Merge Photography
For 2016/2017 what sort of trends do you think there will be with bridal hair accessories?
Lace headpieces and crowns are still popular. I think there will be a lot of detail and embellishment – statement headpieces and florals. I’m not one to follow the crowd and I think brides are thinking the same.
The thing I love about Vintage is that it is open to interpretation – lace tea-length gowns will always be popular as they are such a classic look. But you can add a vintage flavour to your bridal look with a 50’s cocktail hat or a birdcage veil.
Real bride Cecelia – PHOTOGRAPHY Piotrek Ziolkowski
Not all of my brides are able to meet in person. If you aren’t local to Perth, I can certainly work with you over the phone, via email, or skype and through sending swatches to create a custom headpiece for you.
I can also incorporate brooches, jewellery, fabric from Grandma’s wedding dress or other sentimental objects into a headpiece or accessory. Not only will you have a momento of the person but it means your headpiece will become a treasured heirloom to pass on to future generations.
Ways to contact Holly Barker Millinery: