TURNING HEADS Queen of millinery, Viktoria Novak, chats to us about the upcoming Winter Racing Carnival, and what inspires her to continually create stunning headwear. Tell us about your history with millinery: I became a milliner by pure accident. After graduating from college, I pursued a career in Interior Design and worked in the Interior world for a little while, but then I decided to study Fashion Design. It was my intent to become a costume designer, but during my studies I was placed into a millinery class simply because I forgot to select my own elective. It turns out that fate had its way and I was able to discover my gift for creating headpieces and crowns. What made you fall in love with creating your own pieces? I fell in love with millinery because it enables the wearer to show true personality through the form of the creation, style, design and theme that is a talking point at major race days. Having the ability to help style and be a part of someone’s special day is my favourite part of the job. I am a sentimental designer and really connect with my clients who also have the same philosophy. This year I will celebrate 13 years in business. What inspires you to create a new collection? I tend to draw inspiration from things like the natural shapes formed by nature and materials such as leather, metals, velvets, Swarovski crystals, fresh water pearls and jewels. What is one element of your job that people are surprised to discover? People tend to be surprised when they hear that I make everything by hand. I haven’t changed my production process for 13 years. I believe in quality work over quantity and for now, I have no interest in mass producing my label. With the Winter Carnival just around the corner, what styles are you excited to launch? I’ve just released my new Audrey PAGE 18
collection. I’m loving this collection because it’s a beautiful combination of crowns featuring bows, jewels and pearls, that are all handmade from velvets. It’s the perfect winter headpiece to add a beautiful finish to your outfit. Tell us about the regal and opulent style your designs are so known for. I definitely look for inspiration through old paintings, especially 18th Century art. I love to design and create my works in a way that pays homage to the yesteryear and vintage styles. I’m very much about the finer details and I am definitely a more-is-more designer. Who is one Australian icon that always nails trackside fashion? Kate Waterhouse, always so classic, elegant and stylish. She is the epitome of racing style. If you could design a piece for anyone in the world, who would it be? Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Lady Gaga and Iris Apfel. Each of these would be a challenge, which I would love to accept as they are all such different style icons. Which do you enjoy more – the summer or winter carnival? I personally prefer winter over summer purely for the fashion, as everyone looks so elegant and classy. You can layer and have more fun with your outfit and add rich tones to your look, whereas spring/ summer is all about lighter fabrics, pastel tones and floral prints. Tell us one millinery or race wear trend you’re obsessed with, and one you wish would die out. I’m obsessed with crowns because they make the race-goer feel powerful and regal. I would prefer not to see turbans and top knots at the race track. Also, a scarf tied up in a pony is not considered to be millinery.
FAST FIVE: PEARLS OR JEWELS? I have equal love for both VELVET OR LEATHER? Velvet WINTER OR SPRING CARNIVAL? Winter BOLD COLOURS OR SOFT PASTELS? Bold colours LACE OR EMBROIDERY? Lace
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