Couture Week got underway in Paris this week but among the plethora of whimsical designers showing, it was one milliner, in particular, who stole the show.
There must be something particularly buzz-worthy in seeing Bella Hadid – the world’s biggest supermodel-of-the-minute with a cult following of millions – wearing your designs during Paris Couture Week. Unlike standard fashion weeks, Couture Week takes us on a dreamy and whimsical exploration through design and skill; showcasing the creme-de-la-creme of designers, creatives and models. It’s an even bigger deal for lesser-known designers to be a part of; giving them one of the biggest platforms in the world to showcase their creations – which is why you never turn down a couture gig.
Bella Hadid for Alexandre Vauthier wearing the Anthony Peto pok. Getty.
Anthony Peto – originally from England – went to Paris to become a chapelier 25 years ago and set up a successful hat-making business. He has since expanded to Dublin and has worked alongside the fashion elite like Hermès, Kenzo, and Balmain. Working in one of the last traditional ateliers in Paris, his skills are widely renowned which is why, unsurprisingly, he lands the biggest jobs. This year, Alexandre Vauthier recruited the help of Peto to create show-stopping hats as part of his 2017 Couture show. Having them worn by a Hadid was just the icing on the cake.
“Alexandre Vauthier had a very specific vision of what they wanted so we created what’s known as a pok; which is a little hat that has no brim and has an indentation in the crown. They also wanted a veil very close to the face,” said Peto on the phone from his busy workshop. “The fitting was done on the day of the show and the diamond appliqué was their own addition. But that’s what it’s all about – particularly with Couture”.
The show itself was very “decadent disco” and the venue – the Petit Palais – was set up like a nightclub, complete with dim lighting, cushioned front row seats, a dancefloor-style runway, and a “less-is-more” attitude when it came to dressing the models. Hadid opened the show in a sheer black long-sleeve top, wide-legged pants and the bedazzled cap, and closed it in a silver embroidered wrap gown, which she had to hold closed over the tops of her legs.
Usually, custom hats like these can take weeks or months to produce, but in the world of Haute Couture, time waits for no man or woman, as Anthony explains: “It’s absolutely last minute. that’s why we don’t do an awful lot of it because it can be very time-consuming. Very often, though, it’s last minute and designers want changes up to four hours before the show, so it can be very stressful”.
However, despite Hadid’s popularity, he doesn’t suspect that the hat will be sold-out anytime soon because of it’s abstract appearance and because smaller hats tend to be harder to wear:
“At the moment, there is a lot of interest in small hats. Of course, people still wear big hats because of their extravagance and interest, but right now it’s about wearing tight little hats and very small berets. However, they’re not always very flattering and it’s nice to have a brim to balance out facial features. If you wear little tiny hats you need to have very good features – or be a very good hat-wearer. Bella has such a wonderful face and can wear anything, but this isn’t the type of hat that will suit everyone”, says Anthony.
However, that won’t stop the milliner from stocking up, just in case! “We’ll definitely be putting them in our shop. Just in case Bella comes in looking for one, she’ll know she’s found it,” Anthony said jokingly.
In the past, Alexandre Vauthier has worked alongside Jean-Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler so, to be included in that calibre is an incredible achievement. However, this is not the first time that Peto has collaborated with the industry’s heavy-hitters having worked with distinguished brands like Hermès, John Galliano, Kenzo, Balmain, Jean-Paul Gaultier to name a few. If he could choose to collaborate with anyone though, it would be the mighty Martin Margiela, he says.
I guess by default now the hat will have to be called ‘The Bella’, but it has a nice ring to it, no?
To see and try on “The Bella” and Anthony Peto‘s range of exceptional designs, or get measured for your own unique creation, visit his shop on South Anne Street in Dublin’s city centre.