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The world’s most expensive hat

OHMYGOSSIP — Australia’s most fashionable day of racing, AAMI Victoria Derby Day, always commands a dramatic ensemble of glamour and creativity, accompanied by artisanal crowns of the ultimate pedigree in the form of iconic headpieces.

Traditionally a black and white showcase of men’s and women’s fashion, with a side dish of horse-racing for those who enjoy a flutter, Derby Day is the penultimate day of the calendar year where Australians have the opportunity to adorn themselves in their most fashion-forward creations. This year is particularly significant. 160 years after the first Derby Day was run marks a distinctive date in its history, with this year’s memorable fashion day showcasing The World’s Most Expensive Hat.

This $3 million headpiece, is a mastermind of award-winning Melbourne Cup Myer Fashions on the Field Judge and Myer milliner, Natalie Bikicki, and International Jeweler, John Calleija, tops the list of inspiring creations, literally taking the crowning glory as The World’s Most Expensive Hat.

A collaboration like this does not occur overnight, taking months of planning and careful execution to ensure a flawless union ready for the fashion world. Embodying striking angles, modern millinery and exquisite jewels, creating a magnificent headpiece juxtaposing dramatic leather features with bespoke bijoux.

Myer Group General Manager Footwear & Accessories, Concessions and Cosmetics Liz Webster is thrilled to have Myer Ambassador Kate Peck wearing the world’s most expensive hat on AAMI Victoria Derby Day, “We are so excited to be supporting a world first with our very own talented Myer milliner Natalie Bikicki and the renowned jeweler John Calleija and hosting the prestigious $3 million dollar hat at the Myer Marquee this year. Myer has Australia’s largest selection of hats and fascinators, with inspirational creations from leading Australian milliners through to affordable fast fashion pieces, Myer is the destination for all millinery this racing season”.

Both designers elaborated on their inspiration when designing this intricate project together, Myer Milliner Natalie Bikicki explains her inspiration and creative process “When the idea first struck me to design and collaborate on creating the most expensive hat in the world, the sheer possibilities initially overwhelmed me. Both John and I wanted to create magic — something unique, using luxurious rare materials. Jewels have always fascinated me, they seem to have a pulse, a life. The headpiece itself had to be beautiful and striking, with a confident girl in mind. When I think of Derby Day, this is always my first vision”

“I pictured this girl in both the city and the wilderness, facing opportunities and challenges and started to draw on concepts from fantasy, mythology and modern pop culture. Inspired from reading an excerpt about the Roman Goddess of the Hunt, Diana, I began to wonder what I could design for a modern woman that I would also create for Diana. The preliminary hat sketches featured animalistic elements, such as antlers, horns and flowing equine manes. Collaborating with Calleija was a perfect partnership to realize this project. John and I discussed how the jewels could intertwine throughout the headpiece, with budding branches weaving organically from within”, said Ms Bikicki.

Recently a worldwide finalist in the highly prestigious Vogue Muuse Accessories Design Awards 2014, Natalie’s clientele include Australia’s largest department store group Myer, luxury Melbourne boutique Cose Ipamena, as well as international customers desiring bespoke pieces. With a background in fine art and degree in fashion design, she utilises both natural and non-organic fibres to create wearable pieces of art, as seen in The World’s Most Expensive Hat. Ms Bikicki continues, “The final hat design was chosen after months of conceptual focus, with dozens of designs culled in the creative process. The prototype was hand carved in natural leather and used as the template for the finished crown. Laser cut, wet molded then dyed and sealed, the leather headpiece was completed with woven latex ribbon. It was then handed over to Calleija for the final phase of our collaboration”.

“Latex and leather are two of my favorite materials. I feel that their sleek, black textures embody the modern woman, while the structure’s shape is reminiscent of the natural, earthy qualities of the equine form” (alternatively: “of a deer”). I often use leather Supported by Media Release and latex as key elements in my millinery range — they really lend themselves to movement, fluid lines and structurally allow other elements to be pinned and wrapped with adornments for dramatic purpose – and this is where the diamonds really come into play”, Ms Bikicki added.

The incredible gemstones and design work that John Calleija has provided to make this creation a stunning success were crafted in the Calleija workshop by his Master Jewelers. Well-known as an International De Beers Diamond Award Winner, John and his design team spent over eighty hours sketching dozens of diamond designs before the final creation evolved. An intertwining of Calleija brilliance and Bikicki design excellence has resulted in a breathtaking piece of millinery. “I had to take into consideration the flexibility of the leather and weight of Calleija’s exceptionally high quality gold and jewels whilst all the while maintaining an undeniably fashion-forward momentum. Scrolling detail of White Gold integrating hundreds of White Diamonds, and five spectacular, yet delicately pale, Green Beryl gemstones resulted in a breathtaking creation of finesse and impeccable craftsmanship — the centerpiece being a magnificent 37.53 carat Green Beryl jewel, surrounded by three, four and five carat D-colored diamonds, the highest quality color available”, Mr Calleija said.

The use of Green Beryl creates a distinctive presence, epitomizing a refined, yet organic nature to the woven leather details. Each precious White Diamond is perfectly faceted, beautifully matched and set with surgical precision into polished White Gold. John has designed the diamonds to wrap and weave through the leather strapping, producing an incredibly glamorous statement piece. The diamond setting alone includes 1264 diamonds and took over 150 hours to ensure the exactitude of such a worthy, international design. A combined team of six highly skilled artisans, with a combined experience of 180 years, worked solidly on the hat for two months to ensure it was completed in time for Derby Day.

Calleija takes great pride in John’s exquisite designs, always with an ode to the sustainability efforts that the brand stands for. Calleija states, “Only the highest quality, ethically sourced White Diamonds and Gemstones were used in this collaborative piece. I wanted to craft the most stunning jewels into a unique, sustainable, yet accessible design that would appeal to the racing community: wearable, fashionable and iconic.”

Natalie Bikicki and John Calleija agree that the journey from the initial concept to the completed design was a tremendous adventure of imagination and craftsmanship, ultimately creating a beautiful, unique work of art, guaranteed to make this a statement piece.


Source: Penski



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