Myer Millinery Award – Kennedy Oaks Day 2019

3rd Place at the Myer Millinery Award for velvet&tonic

What a week! It was a Melbourne Cup Carnival to remember! Last year was the first time that I was part of the prestigious invite-only Myer Millinery Award where I was so thrilled to finish in the top 20. This year, I was again invited to be part of it. Never did I imagine that I’d finish off third place in an event which showcases the works of the best milliners in Australia! This competition is as tough as it gets when it comes to millinery!

The winner was Cynthia Jones-Bryson, an established milliner who’s been around for a very long time! Her design was a red and pink feathered creation which took her many, many hours to complete. Cynthia had won this award back in 2015. Second place getter was Peacock Millinery with a sculptural pink and yellow feathered headpiece.

Millinery Inspiration

Earlier this year, I had created a masterpiece which I called Margot. Drawing inspiration from the vintage vogue era but still aiming to keep it new and unique. She took my breath away as soon as I placed her on my campaign model’s head.

Margot has a black sinamay crown with an over-sized cream lampshade brim. She attracted so much (good) attention, making me realise that I was on a good thing! When it was time to think of my millinery award entry piece, I knew that I was going to go with a variation of Margot.

Colour For Oaks Day

Oaks Day is always about colour so I thought about a colour combination which would embody what Oaks Day was all about. Pastel pink and black was my initial choice. After failing with the first attempt of trying to go half pink half black on the brim, I decided to go all pastel pink with the brim. To my horror, my millinery supply store had sold out of the colour I wanted!

This happens way too often for my liking and I stood there for quite some time, pondering on what to do. After conferring with a lovely store assistant who assured me that hot pink would not be offensive to the eyes of the judges, I went with that! This was a nerve-racking risk which I’m so glad I took. Daring to be different with such a design was one thing, having it in an in-your-face colour was another!

Oh well, they were either going to love it or hate it. Most importantly, I was happy as a designer with what I created.

Styling The Millinery

Styling the hat required some careful thought. A modern, fitted black Maticevski dress paired perfectly with it. Initially, I wanted it to go with some hot pink shoes! Luckily I listened to fashionable friends who told me to keep it simple black as not to draw attention from the hat. You want the millinery to stand out but keeping everything else super classy to complement it.

Some statement earrings, a black clutch and half-palm black gloves finished off the look. The hat was deliberately placed in a way which only showed the nose and mouth. My model could see perfectly where she was walking, just not what was too far ahead of her! It was part of the allure of the hat.

The Perfect Look

Having the right model to wear your millinery in the competition is imperative to doing well. Don’t think that it’s only about the millinery as they would lead you to believe! My thoughts were backed by listening to one of the judges who told all that she was looking for the overall impact of the look, from the way the model wore the millinery down to the accessories.

Some milliners spend a lot of money on the right model, while some are clever and source theirs from their circles. Keeping to a small budget, I sourced a beginner model. This didn’t work out and I didn’t hear from her close to the award day. My second model was an acquaintance who pulled out, leaving me with just a week to seek another one. Thankfully, I have a beautiful friend who kindly offered her time to model for me. Should have gone with her in the first place! Jess looked amazing on the stage and grabbed the judges attention.

Dreams Do Come True – 3rd Place Myer Millinery Award

It’s such a thrill to get so far in this tough competition. Firstly, it was the excitement of making it into the top twenty. Then I screamed in delight as I was announced in the top ten! The fashion enclosure was so full that I was unable to make it to the front to see my design up on stage. Instead, I had to settle for watching it by myself on the big screen to the side of the enclosure. I’m sure that my squeal of delight could be heard all around.

When it was on stage standing next to my model, I told her that I didn’t care about placing at all because this moment was enough. Oh boy, did my mouth open wide (and stayed that way!) when they announced my design as third place winner! The thrill of it was just too much! It’s an experience I will cherish forever. When I was younger, I had this idea of wanting to be a designer. That did not eventuate until now. Never give up on your dreams.

Dare To Be Different

In life, you’re never going to be able to please everybody. Don’t even try! My designs make me happy. They make my clients happy. Whatever I create, I have to love it. Nobody would be able to pay me enough to make something which I didn’t like. This hat did draw some rather nasty comments from those who simply could not appreciate it. Those comments don’t bother me as there’s always going to be someone who wants put in their two-cents worth.

Both my husband and I found them rather comical. The funniest comment was “Sia at the races!” as you could only see my model’s nose and mouth. I took a risk and aimed to create something uniquely different and some people just don’t like anything which doesn’t conform to the norm. If you’re a budding milliner or designer, design from your heart.

Dare to be different. This is what will get you noticed. Design to please yourselves.


Award Winning Millinery - Myer Millinery Award 2nd Runner Up - best hats of the Myer Millinery Award Winning desighn - Millinery Award Entry - Myer Millinery Award 2019 3rd best design at Myer Millinery Award - Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival at Flemington Finalist Millinery Award - 3rd Place by velevt & tonic - Myer Millinery Award 2019 Dare to be different - unique stylish millinery from Melbourne


Millinery Award –  velvet&tonic on stage

award winning millinery - model on stage - runway fashion and millineryDetails of millinery - back

The top 3 of the Myer Millinery Award:


Myer Millinery Award Winners Millinery Award on Oaks Day - Myer Fashions on the Filed - 2nd Runner Up Designer Souri Sengdara and Model Jessica with winning millinery