Millinery Award Finalists

It simply wouldn’t be the races without millinery and this coveted prize offers the opportunity for the nation’s top talent to display their extraordinary creativity. The award is considered the crowning achievement for makers of Australia’s finest headwear and offers an important platform through which to showcase their work.


Meet the finalists for 2020:

Ana Pribylova

This dramatic, face-framing design is entitled DNA, inspired by the instantly recognisable structure of the double helix. Ana Pribylova, of Ana Bella Millinery, worked with wooden skewers and wire to create an intricately curved silhouette, which was then anchored to a sinamay base of her own design. The monochromatic colour palette and sharp, upswept shape combine to head-turning effect, providing the perfect accent point for a striking AAMI Victoria Derby Day look.

Angie Jackman

It was an idea that was impossible to sketch, so Angie Jackman constructed a mock-up of the design in her head entirely out of paper to see if it was indeed possible. And it worked. After three test runs to ensure the size was perfect, the final creation was cut from 72 moon-shaped pieces of pastel fabric in a soft spectrum of shades, slotted meticulously together like a jigsaw puzzle. Her remarkable work evokes a soft colour wheel effect – a pastel rainbow positioned perfectly on a wire frame

Belinda Osborne

The Peacock Millinery creative began her process with a desire to showcase a combination of wirework, stenciling and shadow art techniques. While the traditional skill of wirework allows for experimentation with style and shape, the stenciling of feminine portraits and florals deliver an eye-catching artistic effect. Osborne employed a technique called multi-layered reverse stenciling to build contrasting tulle layers, creating the depth and contouring required to add subtle detail to each face. The overall effect creates a unique 360 degree view for the onlooker and an immersive experience for the wearer.

Jill Humphries

“The gates and roses of Flemington” informed Jill Humphries of Millinery Jill’s glamorous and theatrical design, signifying that special feeling of entering the renowned racetrack during the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Soft curves were constructed from millinery wire, hand-sculpted and wrapped to resemble the delicate curling ironwork of the famous Flemington Racecourse gates. The shape was then accentuated with fine starbright braid in the reds and pinks of those quintessential blooms and the muted green of their leaves to elegant effect.



Liana Hastie

Clothing designer and milliner Liana Hastie called upon her father’s Spanish heritage for this head-turning piece, Senorita. The director of Sonlia fashion has always been inspired by Spanish culture, studying Flamenco dance since she was a child. When it came time to create a show-stopping hat, she knew exactly the spirit she wanted to evoke. Bold, passionate and strong, the design draws on high-quality straw, millinery wire and black starbright braid, finished with a unique ruched red vintage braid hand-stitched to the wide brim. A handmade tassel fringe finished with a brooch detail completes the striking look.

Lisa Watt

A love of tulle and the design opportunities it delivers is celebrated in this joyful piece by the founder of Lisa Hughes Millinery. Here, a classic button block has been totally transformed beneath countless gathers of the finest fuchsia tulle, coiled in a circular shape from the crown to fabulously frothy effect. An accent stripe of petrol blue and powder blue ties temper the sweetness, while large fluffy pom-poms bring wit and a further sense of fun. Inside the hat, a luxe lining of the softest blue satin ensures the wearer enjoys an extra special experience.

Natalie Bikicki

Milliner Natalie Bikicki drew inspiration from the confronting situation we’ve all experienced in 2020. It drove her to create a complete antidote to the multitude of disjointed feelings, longing and disappointment the year has held for so many. Resembling a heart exploding with joy, Bikicki created 16 individual origami flowers cut from faux crocodile latex – one of her favourite materials to work with. Fine, malleable wire creates the dramatic rounded effect that encircles the central heart. A pure palette of white was chosen for it’s calm, hopeful appeal.

Rebecca Share

Super bright, super shiny and future focused were Rebecca Share’s buzzwords when crafting this piece. And it shows. The optimistic pink shades and swirling shapes can’t help but make you smile. Her ultimate aim was to deliver something full of colour and life that stood out from the crowd. Millinery wire and a bargain two-dollar braid sourced on a trip to Bali last year served as foundations, as Share pushed herself to devise something new and different for the design. The resulting work is an exuberant wire-framed headpiece covered in whirls of bright braid that

Souri Sengdara

The Velvet & Tonic milliner was overjoyed at the arrival of spring this year, after many challenging months in lockdown. The season’s colourful blooms informed her feminine design, entitled Fleur, along with its soft pastel colour palette. Focusing specifically on the magnolia, camellia and blossom trees, Sengdara used hand-pleated and -stitched jinsin to form sculptural petals of lilac, baby pink and cream. Each was anchored to a sinamay base, blocked on a button hat block before being individually sculpted to frame the face and create the illusion of movement – a flower blooming after a difficult winter.

Stephanie Spencer

For Stephanie Spencer, the year’s global events have seemed utterly surreal – driving her to create a surrealist piece that spoke of an upside-down world. And what could be more upside-down than shoes as a hat? The creative played both milliner and cobbler to craft amazingly realistic ballet shoes in a sustainable way, using only second-hand supplies and vintage materials, with the exception of the wire framework. Modeled on a pair of pointe shoes sourced on Facebook Marketplace, she honoured the construction of the slippers as closely as possible. The result is a stable and lightweight mix of parasisal, Paris net, silk binding and brushed suede, topped with ribbons of sinamay to add movement and life.