Odette – United Kingdom


Category: Modern


Opera evokes tradition, grandeur, opulence and deep emotions.

This headpiece is inspired by the ornate interiors of opera houses in Europe and accessories in the form of opera binoculars that patrons of opera from a bygone era would bring to a performance.

A contemporary interpretation is however given to the subject through the use of modern silhouettes, materials and colour palette (switching from crimson and gold to a more fashionable and wearable combination of purple and silver).

This headpiece is a fusion of the traditional and the contemporary. The essence of the spectacle (through the opera binoculars) is however unchanged through the ages – to see and be seen.

Finer details: –

Opera binoculars are rarely used today by opera patrons; yet, it is a fascinating object not least because of its shape. It adds interest to the silhouette of this headpiece – instantly telling the observer that the headpiece is about opera. Its quirkiness and the fact that it is made in Perspex, a modern material, conveys a contemporary feel. On a closer look, the teeth of the dial in the middle of the binoculars can be seen and felt.

Miniature opera binoculars are used to disguise the attachment points between the large opera binoculars and the silver dome. They add a sense of fun as well as an element of surprise.

The purple velvet is laser engraved with the image of the stage curtains taken at the Royal Opera House. Laser-engraving achieves a result similar to devore embossing.

The stage curtain ropes are represented by the coiling of silver robes around the centre dome.

The headpiece is designed to be worn tilted forward, with the back distinctly raised. The overall effect is dramatic.


  • Perspex (in silver)
  • purple velvet
  • silver cord
  • sinamay
  • buckram
  • millinery wire


  • Perspex opera binoculars (one large and two mini versions)
    – Adobe Illustrator is used to trace the image of antique opera binoculars and to create a vector file
    – laser cutting
    – thermal heating (heat gun) to bend the attachment “legs”
  • Purple velvet
    – a photograph of the Royal Opera House (ROH) stage curtains is taken from inside the ROH
    – the stage curtains image is re-designed using Photoshop, and then laser engraved onto the purple velvet
    – the purple velvet (a 10 segment scallop pattern) is then laser cut; this has the advantage of sealing the edges, thus preventing fraying
  • Base structure
    – sinamay and buckram are blocked over a saucer block in the traditional way.

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

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