Anoushka Houtsmuller
Anoushka HoutsmullerMilliner

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How did you become interested in millinery?

I’ve always been very creative and have always liked hats, but never made them or wore them. Last year, through a relative, I got in contact with a milliner who gave workshops. Making a hat myself sounded fantastic, so I decided to take a two-day course. It was great indeed! I made my first hat: a fuchsia coloured sinamay hat with a large brim, three large leaves and a huge handmade rose. I was immediately hooked on hats! Designing and creating hats is a great way for me to express my creativity.

Where did you learn millinery?

I try to take lessons on a regular basis with Marianne Jongkind, a well-known and very experienced Dutch milliner. For the rest it’s just a matter of experimenting a lot and trying things. Practice makes perfect!

How long have you been a milliner for? Where else have you worked?

I have been a milliner since September 2002 and combine this passion with my “regular” job as office manager and personnel officer of a telecom company. I present my hats under the name “De Mooie Hoed” (which is Dutch for “The Beautiful Hat”).

Where do you get inspiration for your designs?

Almost anything can inspire me: nature, a piece of cloth, a colour, a shape, fashion, art, places I go, things I see on television, music… you name it. And quite often a great idea for a hat just comes up.

What has been your most enjoyable commission?

The most rewarding commission for me is where the client gives me “carte blanche” and ends up with a hat that exactly meets her wishes and really becomes her.

How would you describe your style of hats?

My hats are distinguished, imaginative and elegant. They get noticed and stand for quality. They are made with eye for detail and are very wearable. I quite often make hats in one or two colours.

Who do you make hats for?

I do not specialize in any particular category of hats, nor do I want to do so. I can just as well make a stunning hat for a party as a more modest hat for a church goer.

What materials and techniques do you favor?

Though I do like to work with my blocks, I like molding the hat by hand as well. Molding by hand is a way of working that gives me more freedom, since I am not limited to the shape of the block. As for materials: since I have not been a milliner for a long time yet, there is still a lot of experimenting to do for me! Sometimes I think I really love working with sinamay the best, but when I am working with felt I consider that the most wonderful material. Straw stitching is great as well, as is making covered hats. I also like to use materials that are not specifically meant for hat-making.

Any other interests?

Yes, many, such as designing and making clothes, fitness, power yoga.