WOOD WORKS: Danish-born craftsman Johannes Michelsen has been honing his talent since he was a child experimenting in his artist father’s studio. Now, he fashions unusual millinery in his own workshop in Manchester, Vt., where he works with native Vermont woods such as maple, butternut, walnut and sycamore — though he is quick to add that he uses “only found wood and industrial cast-offs. No tree is ever cut for a hat.” Each design is whittled, or “turned,” from a cone-shaped wooden block weighing nearly 60 pounds and is then cold bent as it dries. Banding and decorative details are added by burning off the natural color of a contrasting wood tone such as the ebony strip on the western-style hat shown here. Michelsen hats, which wholesale from $255 to $350, are available at Worth & Worth, New York, Del Mano Gallery, L.A., and Sansar in Washington, D.C
CHAIN GANG: “My life in Asia has been like opening a living book on handicrafts and lost arts,” says Illinois-born Lois Hill, who has spent seven years there. “Techniques that have been passed down for generations hold this unbelievable cultural fabric together.” On Bali, her current home, Hill has created an accessory line of bracelets, necklaces and belts, many of them made using ancient “netting” or weaving techniques found in Thailand, Indonesia, Turkey and India. The designer then adds modern buckles to these silver and gold vermeil pieces to create what she calls “a respectful balance between East and West.” Wholesale prices for her jewelry, shown in New York at Apropo, range from $40 to $440.
HEAD OF THE CLASS: British milliner Marina Killery has crowned some of the most regal heads in the world. Princess Diana and the Duchess of York wore custom-made Killerys to Viscount Linley’s wedding last year and Prince — the rock star — is a new customer. Now Killery has opened a New York showroom for her first retail collection. “I’m thrilled because the shops have been intrigued enough to take a chance,” she says. “I’ve been able to invent some attractive shapes for the mid-to-upper end of the market. American women spend so much money on their clothing, it’s time they spent it on their heads.” Killery will work with the stores to customize the 40 silhouettes in her collection, which wholesale from $70 to $250. They have been bought by Henri Bendel and Takashimaya, New York.
THE BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL: “I don’t consider myself mainstream,” says jewelry designer Marilyn F. Cooperman. Cooperman, a former in-house designer for Fred Leighton, developed her eye for unorthodox mixes of metals and jewels in his studios. There she found herself in the company of master jewelers, reworking old pieces and learning from past designs. Cooperman’s collection of brooches, bracelets and necklaces feature settings of silver, gold and platinum with precious and semiprecious stones. “For me, style is the most important thing,” the designer says. “I enjoy playing with the metals to get strange colors, with bold stones to make a statement.” Wholesale prices for her pieces range from $1,200 to $12,000.