TREACY’S HAT SHOW IS GOING COUTURE
Byline: James Fallon
LONDON — Philip Treacy is planning what no modern milliner has done before — a show during the Paris couture.
Treacy has been invited by the Federation Francoise de la Couture to show his hats during the spring-summer shows. There has not been a couture show devoted solely to millinery in the last 60 years, Treacy said, although hats used to be part of the schedule in the Twenties.
The show will be held Jan. 19, following the couture shows of Yves Saint Laurent and Balmain, Treacy said. His show will be directed by Isabella Blow and styled by Catherine Ayme. A venue has not yet been selected.
The designer said he did not yet know whom he would ask to do the clothes for his show, although the dresses will be couture. In his past shows, Treacy has used dresses by the British designers Anthony Price and Jeremy Scott.
Treacy said the Federation invited him as part of its drive to attract a younger audience to the couture. Treacy has held annual runway shows for his hats here and in New York for the last several years. The shows have been as much social happenings as exhibits of his craft, with celebrity-packed audiences and designs ranging from straw ships to quill cobwebs.
In the past, he’s shown 40 to 45 styles of couture and ready-to-wear designs. However, Treacy said his Paris show would be more restrained and would focus on about 20 styles of only couture hats.
“I can’t compete with the multizillionaire designer companies, so I plan to do a very small, discreet collection,” the designer said. “The theme of the show will be hats in the year 2000. It’s important to give a profile to hat making. Hats and headdress have been around since the beginning of time, despite the fact that many people say hats are finished. It’s still an industry worth several hundred million dollars a year, so I think it’s arrogant for people to say hats should just go away.”
Treacy said he wasn’t intimidated by the idea of showing his hats during the Paris couture season since in the last 10 years he has done the hats for the couture shows of Chanel, Versace, Valentino and Givenchy.
“I have worked for many of the best couture designers in the last decade and I understand couture,” he said. “I have always designed hats on a couture basis anyway.”
Treacy hopes to become a permanent fixture of the couture season, although he said it was too early to say whether he would show again in July. In the past, he has shown only a spring-summer collection, when his hats are most in demand for the English and French summer social seasons.
The designer plans to show again here in September, however, when he will do a ready-to-wear collection of hats. He also will show his accessories collection, which includes bags, scarves and hair accessories. He will not show any accessories during the January show.
The couture show comes as Treacy attempts to push his business to the next level. The designer recently hired Patricia Marsh as his company’s chairwoman. Marsh was chairwoman of the Birmingham Children’s Hospital and a director of Yorkshire Water. Marsh will look after the business side of Treacy’s operations, freeing him to concentrate on design.