Top That: Loreta Corsetti’s Italian ‘Vogue’ Hat Collection

By Courtney Lochner

Loreta Corsetti has basically won it all when it comes to millinery competitions. The striking woman with her jet black hair and red lips seems to ooze off of a 1920s Hollywood film set. She could just as easily be a woman immortalized in a black and white photo sitting in a cafe in Rome. In the present however, Corsetti remains a hat designer, milliner and genius extraordinaire. Her hats don the stars at the derbies and runways and her recent collection of hats was featured in Italian Vogue. We caught up with her to learn about her muses behind the collection.

What’s the inspiration behind this collection?
Loreta Corsetti: My recent collection for Italian Vogue was inspired the baroque period “fontange” which was an adorned headpiece worn in the late 17th and early 18th century and made popular by a mistress of Louis XIV. I updated the style by using a modern material, jinsin, (silk/straw ), to create the body of the pieces then built them up with French and Italian silk lace and horsehair from the early 20th century. My vision was to create a more voluminous effect without losing the original concept.

In several trips to both Italy and France I have found many of my most valuable materials. I continue to study the history of art and fashion and when I am in Europe, I devote as much time to researching in museums as I do scouring the cities looking for the rarest, most elusive fabrics and embellishments. The costume museum at the V&A in London and the outstanding one Bath are always a must on any trip to England. The hat museum in Alessandria, Italy near the Borsalino factory is dear to my heart as I have my work on permanent exhibit there.

What are the current trends in millinery?
The trends in millinery always follow a current event like the royal wedding inciting a demand for “fascinators.” A film like The Great Gatsby will bring about the return of the cloche, aided by Ralph Lauren, Armani and Louis Vuitton, all who used the style generously to compliment their recent collections. People will start to see more fur hats inspired by the remake of Anna Karenina. Pop culture is also a factor in determining trends mostly for people in their 20s and younger.

What are you working on currently?
I am currently working on my Spring collection for 2013. Since my work is all couture, I produce closer to season than most designers.  I also work with fantastic stylists like Patti Wilson, Lori Goldstein and Taryn Shumway who often request pieces for elaborate shoots. Last fall, my work was featured in an ad campaign for the luxury department store Shinsegae in Korea which was shot by the incredible Steven Meisel! It was a unparalleled high point in my career.

Any advice for those who want to rock a stellar hat?
My advice to trendsetters ready to rock a hat? Hold your head up, shoulders back and work your confidence. The hat will take care of everything else.

Images by Jeremy Bustos