From nailed to a wall to Naomi Campbell


Once upon a time in an idle moment in a little workshop in Battersea, we decided to attempt to make the biggest brimmed hat in the world. So one of the milliners, started on a stitched straw brim and kept adding and adding to the width. When it was finished we contacted The Guinness Book of Records to see if they were interested. A resounding apathy was the response. So, left with a hat with a brim six feet across and nowhere to put it, we decided to nail it to the wall of our shop as a decoration and there it stayed for a couple of years.


Moving on, we were exhibiting at the Clothe Show Live at the NEC in Birmingham and were asked last minute to provide a hat for their catwalk show. Panicking as there was nothing suitable it was suggested that we pull the nails from the hat on the wall and work out a way of keeping it on the wearer’s head. This was done with lots of ribbon and bows, then the hat was sent off to the show organisers with about 3 days to spare.

One can imaging the surprise we had when the finale of the show was none other then Naomi Campbell wearing out hat.

The following year we returned to the show and had the hat on our stand. There were queues of people wanting to try it on. So we decided to lend it to the charity, Fashion Acts, who were also there and suggested they charge a donation fee for people to have their photograph taken wearing it. They made quite a bit that week!

The hat followed us around for many years, gathering dust and getting in the way, finally living in our barn and becoming a home to a family of mice.

The bin men took it in the end!

Eyes Wide Open

One of our many memorable photoshoots featured actress/singer/model Julienne Davis of “Eyes Wide Shut” fame.

She came down from London and stayed with us for a couple of days. We had a great evening getting a little worse for wear and ended up singing very loudly around the piano. I have vague recollections of her singing  “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” while I vamped the chords the best I could.

The hat Julienne wears in this picture is the Herald and Heart Sundowner shape. A large elliptical sinamay brim with a giant flower adornment.

Five Times Anna

Five Times Anna…

We are currently going through our massive image archive that covers almost 25 years of hat making at Herald and Heart. During those years it has been a pleasure to work alongside many great designers in interesting locations with truly wonderful models and actors.

One of our most constant hat models has been the actress Anna Madeley who we met purely by chance when she was appearing in a play at The Riverside Studios in Hammersmith back in 2000.

This image is from our 2006 collection. We were looking for locations and found what appeared to be an old bus and coach graveyard. The coach in this picture is from the 1950’s.

The hats are a feather a quill explosion on a sinamay crown and a hand blocked fez with spotty veiling and feather and quill.

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