What is millinery? Christine A. Moore shows it and owns it

Meet Christine:

Official milliner of Breeders Cup and the Kentucky Derby. I had the pleasure of meeting Christine A. Moore, originally a theater guru turned hat maker, and a wonderful and talented milliner owning the ‘lost art’ of millinery.

All this millinery talk, but what in the heck is it?
A milliner a person who designs, makes, trims, or sells women’s hat. Millinery is delving in the art of these hats. Tanchis, Honorary Tanchis, and non-tanchis, your not alone – I, too, had no idea and came to discover this world after working with a Degas ‘Milliners’ painting during my days at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

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The ‘Milliners’ by Edgar Degas
Degas’ ‘Milliners’ is a beautiful work of art, depicting dramatically angled milliners in their workspace sitting behind shadowed hat stands amongst brightly colored ribbons.

It is no wonder Christine has selected a Degas work of art of milliners to be a mural at the entrance of her studio in the heart of the fashion district in New York City.  NYC is a city Christine draws inspiration from and translates into her design.

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The tanchi and the tall

Just like Degas unveils the private world focused on the physical hardship of the milliners’ work, positioning this at the front of Christine’s studio begins this ‘tanchi adventure,’ unveiling the behind-the-scenes to Christine’s hat making and millinery shop.

Christine started in costume design and apprenticed with Rodney Gordon, Broadway hat maker – minus Donald trump. It’s no wonder Christine’s hats are epic in style, gorgeous in design, and beautifully crafted with unique and quality materials. At times, she even leans towards the provocative! (Gracias to theatre)

I Began to Wonder, What’s Hat Making Got To Do With It?
Why is mastering the art of millinery a common path for the most iconic designs and designers of our time? Take, for instance, this hat Christine made for Patty Ethington, photographed by AP, that circulated wildly!

Patty-Ethingtonkentuckyderby Patty Ethington of Shelbyville, Kentucky, smiles under her hat while attending the 135th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Patti Longmire)

…or Christian Dior, Halston, and Coco Chanel? What is their excuse for being so darn great?
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I posed this question to a fellow tanchi, Raquel, and she said it must be that when making hats, these designers are making headpieces and thinking about the end result to be ‘timeless.’ Raquel got it –their secret sauce. In mastering the art of making timeless pieces, it then translates to their iconic designs. For instance, you see this in the Dior A-line luxurious skirt, and Chanel’s classic tweed jacket. #TanchiTheories

Before the Fashion Houses

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(C) Credit: ‘Coco Before Chanel‘, 2009.

There was a Coco before Chanel. In the 2009 ‘Coco Before Chanel’ film about the French designer Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel – the life of Gabrielle is revealed in an inspiring story. Someone who had nothing ended up founding an empire. Part of Coco’s journey entailed selling her hat creations. Here pictured, is when Coco is first introduced to the world of horse racing, as she gazes over the horse track attire of the upper class.

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(C) Credit: ‘Coco Before Chanel‘, 2009.

First Exposure to the World of Hats
I love this moment because I, too, felt that marvel the first time I went to ‘Opening Day’ at Del Mar Racetracks. In a previous post, On your mark, get set, Go! To Opening Day in fabulous hat style, I explain how over the years I have upped my hat and dress attire for the occasion. My first ‘Opening Day’ I wore a simple hat. While still classic and pretty, it was nowhere near the level of some of the most luxurious and flamboyant hats you’ll find at the tracks. It is a festive day where forgetting your hat at home, leaves you out of place.

Big Hats are Necessary for America’s Best Racing
As spectacular of a fashion ‘Opening Day’ is, the pinnacle of fashion at the racetracks really takes place at the Kentucky Derby. Christine, however, envisions spreading the fanfare of horse track fashion and lifestyle by showing her hats, fascinators, and fedoras for men at other track events, like Breeders Cup. She believes in changing the view of Breeders Cup, which hasn’t traditionally been the hub stop of such attire, by bringing back the elegance to a fun and laid back experience. This is exactly what we did as style ambassadors for America’s Best Racing by wearing Christine’s hats.

Millinery is Hot
I had the privilege of chatting with Christine while touring her studio. What she does is an incredible art, and it’s no wonder her millinery is highly sought after for these events. Bo Derrick, JLo, Halle Berry, Alica Keys, Mary J. Blige, Blake Lively of Gossip Girl are just some of the celebrities that have worn her hats. Bazaar, Vanity Fair, and InStyle are among the magazines in which she’s been featured. Puchica! (Salvadoran caliche for Wow).
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Inside Christine A. Moore’s Millinery
Christine demonstrated how she begins her process for designing a piece. Here is a clip of her sketching a design that will later be worked on by her and her team of artists and then to Blake, her husband, for marketing.

When walking into the studio, picture a dream closet for hats – an array of hats each elegant, unique, stylish and comfortable! It’s so nice to have a sized hat and not have it fall on your face at the mere movement of your head! I tried on several hats and fascinators and, let me tell you, I have no idea how Christine picks out a hat to wear for the big days!

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The materials are just as much a marvel: so many ribbons, trims, tools, bases, etc., like an old millinery shop from Degas’ days. Christine is notably known for using her own trims on hats – none of that Michael’s craft store ish, this is the finer stuff in life, like Godiva. Were talking very very Caché (classy)!

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Tanchi Problems: Leave petiteness and panza out of this one
This tanchi had to keep it classy for the big day and couldn’t afford to have any tanchi problems get in the way! For once though I had an unrelated petite and panza problem: a problem of being an indecisive tanchi who couldn’t decide whether to wear fascinator or hat? Trim, netting, bling, feathers? So many options, but I left the design in Christine’s hands after showing her my Lulu*s Honey Punch, That’s a Wrap Neon Yellow Wrap Dress. She measured my head and the wheels began turning for how she could make this tanchi the most bella ever for the big day. You can bet it was the best decision to leave the master milliner with the responsibility for curating the perfect headwear. It is an admirable technique for any tanchi to emulate. After all, curating is the way of the tanchi.

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La ‘Savanah’
Behold my ‘Savanah’ hat worn to Breeders Cup, courtesy of Christine A. Moore, along with other L.A. Fashion Bloggers. Que Bella! The hat entails beautiful purple palette ranging from darks to lights with such delicate fabric selection for the flower petals. Each petal varies in sheer to opaque fabrics and is seamed and pressed for a crisp, yet delicate look. I wore the hat like a powerful petite, strutting my hat at the racetracks, showing it and owning it — just the way Christine does with her millinery. Did I mention it had bling on top? Love!

Check out more of Christine’s hats in this video, to see what other styles L.A. Fashion Bloggers wore to Lulu*s At The Races.

Video by Richard Alexander Media

Breeder’s Cup has come to an End
Thanks to Christina A. Moore for the exclusive behind-the-scenes look into her studio and art of millinery. That’s a wrap for this tanchi’s track talk and hat attire, till next thoroughbred race season! It has been a wonderful adventure uncovering the art of millinery and getting to spend time with such an artist like Christine A. Moore. For ‘old fashion’, unique and beautiful fashion – be sure to check out Christine’s collection for your hat needs! She’s got various price points available. Stay tuned for more NYC coverage.

Bringing Back the Hat at Breeders Cup at Santa Anita Park – Part 1

Tanchi Fashion Blogging Problems

I love hats and endeavors that bring back the hat. After all, every tanchi needs her décor! (And a bit more height could help with blogging as well) – #TypicalTanchiProblems

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Continue reading

On your mark, get set, Go! To Opening Day in fabulous hat style!

Welcome to ‘Opening Day’!
More than 45,000+ race fans gather on the Opening Day of the thoroughbred racing season at Del Mar Racetracks for fabulous, fashionable and fun festivities!

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Since moving to San Diego, I’ve made it a tradition to go to the race every year with the Juarez family. This year it is taking place July 17th – right around the corner! Don’t wait to get your hat!

The ‘lost’ accessory: the Hat
I absolutely love horses and to wear old school hats, especially because hats are like a lost accessory in everyday attire – and millinery is such a beautiful craft! Del Mar’s annual tradition, the “One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest” brings out some of the most creative and stylish hats. It’s a unique event for sure with only the Kentucky Derby coming close with hat celebrations.

What I wore: a hat from Therapie Boutique, bebe (of course), and a dash of rouche draping
My first year, I didn’t realize how elaborate the hats would be. I went with a simple hat with black trim tied with black ribbon from a local hat shop and a beige ruffle GUESS? dress. The following year I upped the hat and dress. I decked out in a bold teal colored hat from Therapie Boutique – San Diego’s First Fashion Truck, and a bebe white printed flower dress that was altered to be tanchi friendly by adding darts to the back, leaving the satin black ribbon trim intact on the shoulders. Without the pseudo ‘darts’ the dress didn’t fall right on the top, making for awkward gaps on the neckline (typical tanchi problems) and a sinking cowl draping on the front. I love this dress most of all for its rouche draping (a great French technique that helps hides the panza). I topped it off with my bebe Casey heels in nude and black patent, reminiscent of art deco. They’re perfect for a Gatsby-like summer party at the racetracks look. Check out my curation – the tanchi way, for a day at the races over the years:

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Therapie Boutique – San Diego’s first fashion truck has ‘Opening Day’ needs
I stumbled upon Therapie Boutique by chance. I’m an avid farmers’ market shopper and they happened to have their truck at the North Park farmers’ market in San Diego. They had such a great selection of clothing, accessories, and especially hats and fascinators! Picking out a hat took me a bit of time and it was hard for me not to walk away with more items. My teal colored hat came out to about $60 – while my 1st year hat from Hats Unlimited in La Jolla was about $30. This year I’m switching it up a bit and wearing a fascinator instead – a one of kind piece crafted beautiful by Linda Friedmen in New Orleans (Nola)!

Tanchi adventures in Nola (such a rager town) and an amazing experience!
I got to visit a Plantation, a swamp, and eat all sorts of typical cuisine from Fried Aligor to Bacon wrapped Oysters. It’s just a beautiful place, yet sad. Remnants of Katrina are still apparent years later.
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All the way from NOLA: Golden Feathers and Vintage Bling
Heading over to the French Quarter, my pretty half, Hezzie, and I came upon the Saturday night street market where artists sold their fabulosity. Linda’s fascinator selection (a style of millinery kind of like “mini hats” or headpieces) was hard to walk away from!

I ended up selecting a beautiful fascinator with golden feathers and vintage bling. Linda’s pieces are a bit pricier, but worth the price for her use of quality material and exceptional design. I’m just not that into the generic and uncomfortable head pieces you can find at Claire’s for example for half the cost. The feathers in this piece are luscious – so bright in their color and each one unique–a perfect piece for Opening Day, a Gatsby themed party, or Halloween! She travels far for her materials – often going as far as NYC! Her stuff is not available elsewhere because it sells out that fast, but you can contact her via email for custom orders or current availability. Linda is a true millinery artist! Here are pics from her great selection.

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That’s a Wrap for this Tanchi at the French Quarter
To end the night on my Nola visit, I got a poem written about surfing by Heath who had a typewriter on the poetry corner. A beautiful poem about my beloved ocean. I knew Nola was fun while it lasted, but it was time to head back to home to beautiful San Diego.

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From Nola to SD, this tanchi is Opening Day ready with my fascinator for the big day! That is if Billie, my quarter half, doesn’t run away with it first (or eat my protection from evil spirits coral statement necklace!)

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Enter the giveaway to win your Tilly Doro coral necklace now before Billie goes cookie monster mode!

Thanks Pretty Half for photos!