Marilyn Feldman – United States

Alice In Wonderland’s Wedding Hat ( 8″ x 10″ x 6″ )

Category: Traditional


The metaphors and symbolism in this hat are many: pink and turquoise colors and bead work seem more youthful than the white pearls and rhinestones of a girl who has grown to adulthood. The ivory colors stand as stark contrast to the white which symbolize youth, innocence and purity. The bows are childlike whereas the the veiling and tulle add a more mature element. The bouquet in the center of the crown covers the open tunnel in the crown representing Alice’s descent into the rabbit hole and also would serve as the bouquet of flowers a bride would throw to her female wedding guests at her ceremony/reception.

I think the quote from the story written by Lewis Carroll that best illustrates my vision is Alice Kingsley’s statement: ” If I had a world of my own everything would be nonsense, nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn’t ”


I am a couture milliner who has created a traditional hat which is adapted from vintage garments, restyled/resized with new textiles/fabrics to meet the requirements of this challenging exhibit.

Since this hat can be removed from its frame and worn,I have utilized design techniques including garment reconstruction in order to fit most/all head sizes and body types using garment repair and new design and construction materials as much as possible.

I have attached this hat to a gold colored cardboard frame so that i can wear the hat on my head and poke through the space of the frame to emphasize that I , as Alice, alice am looking through the looking glass.

Although I have added an element of lighting on wire that can be turned on/of, I do not intend to utilize the light up feature of this hat, at all, so that it stays traditional in nature. When not turned on, the gold wire appears as a thick gold french wire removed from the ribbon that is embellished with little glass/opaque oval shaped bulbs that appear as clusters of fireflies that remain dormant during the day leaving this fairy tale wedding hat to the imagination and anticipation that they will flutter and light up at night.

use of leather,tulle, fabric paint, millinery treads and embroidery thread, pearls, rhinestones, beads, hand made bows and gauged millinery wire ( different widths and lengths ) , velvet


The techniques and tools that i used for this hat are the traditional millinery/hatting techniques and tools such as: hand sewing, cutting/shaping/blocking buckram on a head block using hand made millinery paste,vintage garments from millinery stock or fashion fabrics, millinery ribbon which is hand curled using an ironing board and curing the ribbon with the iron and using spray starch, use of wax paper and an iron to stiffen tulle and lightweight fabric netting to add shine and stiffness, hand dyeing using store bought dye or dipping in home brewed coffee or tea, clear cupcake holders and cut up plastic picnic drinking cups, chiffon, hand rolled fabric flowers/roses, tulle and french wire ribbon,

The brim of the hat is attached to a vintage buckram base to keep the hat in place. I took a piece of buckram millinery ribbon and dyed it to a lovely color by dipping it in coffee until I achieved the color/stain I desired. I wrapped it around the brim in a ribbon candy style which reminds me of the ribbon candy I ate as a child during holiday seasons. I continued that ribbon as one piece culminating it with a hand rolled rose in the front of the hat. The crown of the hat is raised up and kept in place by cutting and pasting plastic cup cake holders to the base in order to maintain the uplift and shape. When seen in the light, these plastic cupcake holders appear as lace over ice crystals. These cups are covered and surrounded by a very soft shade of ivory chiffon draped around the cups. To cover the hole in the crown tunnel I made a bouquet of white roses surrounded by white tulle and encased them with a gold/white dotted french wire ribbon infused with white pearls and rhinestones.

This bouquet of netting and ribbon continues as one flowing piece intertwined and brought down through the crown to make the necktie and the veiling to cover the bride’s face until the moment she reveals herself to her groom. Attached to the front flower rose I have made two bows out of a darker brown color french wire ribbon and attached gold threads. I made a bud out of a piece of turquoise leather and also added a velvet leaf dipped in gold paint. The flowers on the back of the hat are made from a combination of tulle and velvet flowers also dipped in coffee to get the deeper brown velvet look to add softness and volume. They are fitted loosely to the hat for fluidity and to add motion and movement to the static elements of the hat. Pink flower stamens have been placed in the center of these flowers. Throughout the hat I have used turquoise beads, white pearls, rhinestones and pink flower stamens. These elements of ivory stamens and turquoise stamens are made by attaching the beads one by one along a thread of gaged millinery wire.

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HATalk Issue 140 (November 2017). Cover hat by Veronica Marucci.

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