May 23, 2015

Will San Francisco Millinery Die? That May Be Up to You.

(Photo: Jude Mooney,

House of Nines Design is an independent, high-end hat design business by San Francisco’s Tricia Roush and one of the many local small businesses in the running for the Chase/Living Social Mission: Small Business program, whose voting ends June 30. Roush hopes to keep San Francisco millinery alive and well by opening a House of Nines Design shop in San Francisco. Like many local designers, she’s hoping for your vote to get her project off the ground.

Here’s the backstory: Over the past few years, hats have made a big splash in the fashion world. Who can forget Princess Eugenie’s blush colored Philip Treacy 3-D bow headpiece at the Royal Wedding? An extended global tour of Stephen Jones‘ anthology exhibition shows how hats have recaptured the fashion spotlight. Locally, many of Jean Paul Gaultier’s headpieces are on display at the de Young Museum. But even with so much attention on hats and milliners these days, San Francisco’s designer hat shops are dwindling. In early 2012, there were only four high-end local designer hat shops in the City. One of them is now gone, and Roush tells us that two others are currently preparing to close. Roush hopes to fill the local hat void by opening a House of Nine Design shop.

House of Nines Design sells foxy headwear throughout the country, online and by appointment. Described as “fancy hats for the fearless,” Roush’s individually-shaped, handmade designs are blend the artistic, whimsical and playful. She mixes modern and traditional techniques while using materials such as ribbon sourced from other small businesses and rare vintage veiling. The hats also include handcrafted trims made by Roush.

Roush designs three ready-to-wear collections per year (spring/summer, fall/winter, and bridal) along with custom pieces upon request. Prices range from $200-$1000. You’ll find additional shots of her work online in her etsy shop. Check out the gorgeous hats on her.

But back to the grant. Chase and Living Social have teamed up to offer 12 $250K grants to small businesses through Mission: Small Business. You may have heard of the program, as many local designers and small businesses are vying for the grants. The application process is intense, requiring extensive essays and a thorough business plan. Applicants also need at least 250 votes from the public by June 30 to be considered. The winners will be announced on September 15. Find out more information on the House of Nines Design blog, including how to vote for Roush or others in the running.

(Photo: John Martinko,

(Photo: Cassandra Ladru Photography,

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News Recap: McQueen’s Sarah Burton & Milliner Philip Treacy Visit AAU

Academy's Fashion Director Simon Ungless (left) moderates a discussion with McQueen's Sarah Burton and Academy President Elisa Stephens (right).

Last week, the Academy of Art University welcomed two exciting guests of honor to its annual fashion show and surrounding events: Alexander McQueen Creative Director Sarah Burton and Milliner Philip Treacy.

Heads of the Academy led a symposium on Wednesday for students that featured the two fashion all-stars discussing the late Alexander McQueen, Isabella Blow and the future of fashion.

Philip Treacy has designed hats for, well, essentially everyone. The list includes Alexander McQueen, Givenchy and Chanel haute couture collections, to name a few. And then there’s his work for Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex & the City and, of course, the “fascinator” that Princess Beatrice wore to the Royal Wedding.

“I find inspiration most in pop culture, newspapers and magazines. It’s fine if you want to look back and research, but I look most at what is happening around me…Fashion is movement,” Treacy told students.

Sarah Burton, who stepped in to takeover Alexander McQueen’s position after his death in 2010, was a highly-anticipated speaker at the Academy. She did not disappoint.

“Encouragement is important for young people…You may not be creating things that everyone likes, but the important thing is to inspire people to dress,” she told the audience.

Elisa Stephens (left) and Executive Directer of Fashion Glady Perint Palmer tell Milliner Philip Treacy, "It's difficult to kiss someone while wearing your hat."

Photography by Sara Iravani

More San Francisco fashion news….



Knotty Girl: Louisa Parris Launches Accessories

The Zeppelin scarf by Louisa Parris

San Francisco’s Louisa Parris has expanded beyond eveningwear to launch her first-ever accessories collection. Featuring scarves and made-to-order hats, the latest from Parris continues the designer’s love affair with bold, sophisticated graphics.

Featuring thick black stripes and blocks contrasted with muted hues of blue, sea foam green and cream, the silk twill scarves come in two sizes ($195-$275) and draw their inspiration from the geometric designs gracing hot air balloons Parris watched while growing up in Bath, England. Providing a little inspiration of their own for their wearers, each scarf is named for a type of knot.

Upping the ante is a matching hat collection produced in collaboration with milliner Laela Barnard, whom Parris tapped to turn each of her five scarves into sculptural, made-to-order headpieces.

The Zeppelin Disc Hat by Laela Barnard for Louisa Parris

Want to know more about the designer? Check out our previous coverage of Louisa Parris here.

Photography courtesy of Louisa Parris

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Runway Recap: Lovesick 4

Extravagant headdresses, alt-minded apparel and lots of skin hit the rose petal-strewn runway earlier this week during the fourth installment of local designer Alexandria Von Bromssen’s annual Lovesick fashion show at 111 Minna.

The show featured designers and labels von Bromssen, Tamo Designs, Silver Lucy, My Dirty Dishes, Miss Velvet Cream, RAG-DOLL Designs by Larissa Verdussen, Ms G Designs, Fluidance and Jasmin Zorlu Millinery.

Below, a recap of the scene and the looks presented to the Monday night crowd.

Photography courtesy of Christophe Tomatis and Sqwik Studios (images three, fix and six).

We Came, We Saw, We Shopped: The Edwardian Vendor Bazaar

Before the annual Edwardian Ball festivities got underway last weekend at the Regency Ballroom, we had the chance to check out the vendors on Saturday afternoon. For those of you unfamiliar with the Ball, it is inspired by the creations of Edward Gorey, whose books and illustrations many consider to be a major influence on gothic fashion. Let’s just say this was not your average vendor fair.

The decor was reminiscent of a Tim Burton movie and the costumes were amazing: some classy, some borderline shocking (the pony tail necklace, for example), but all were very unique. What’s more, this Edwardian extravaganza offered up rare shopping opportunities, albeit many of them custom creations not well-suited for the budget-minded. Whether you came to shop or stare, the vendor fair was only a teaser for the equally as fanciful night ahead.

Below, some of the people and apparel we met at the event:

Steven Raspa


Minerava's Antennae

Sayuri Designs

Aldebaran Organic Forms


Bronica Blue and Mo Awobo

The Kaplen family

Chris Anderson show's off the ponytail necklace from Purevile

Miss Velvet Cream and Audette Sophia

Photography by Christophe Tomatis