Peter BettleyMilliner

How did you become interested in millinery?

By default! I was training to be an electrical engineer, but met Otto Lucas, 1950s model milliner, and thought wow! I immediately applied for a position as a trainee milliner with the company Vyse.

Where did you learn millinery?

I spent many years in different companies from model to mass production, ending with the biggest mass producing hat company in the world, J Collett & Co. Then I decided to work for myself.

How long have you been a milliner for? Where else did you work?

42 years! Model House – Norman Edwin (Director); Wholesalers: Vyse and Co; and I have worked for approximately ten other companies in England.

Where do you get inspiration for your designs?

From Paris and Florence. Plus I have a vivid imagination, I am not afraid to risk new ideas and I have a fantastic team working with me.

What has been your most enjoyable commission?

A lifetime of making hats and being privileged to work with people with exceptional skills.

How do you describe your style of hats?

Classis model hats, well finished and with that little extra special touch.

Who do you make hats for?

We supply customers for all occasions: weddings, race meetings, evening cocktails, as well as winter furs, casual, rainwear; in fact literally all across the board. We are one of the few companies left in the world to make such a wide absorbing range hence our reputation. We do supply royal and celebrities throughout the world and as always I never divulge my clients.

What materials and techniques do you favor?

All materials and techniques are used. It is always more interesting for the hat wearer or buyer to have a full range of materials and styles to see and choose from.

Any other interests?

Hats, hats and more hats! I have no time for other interests!

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