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Not so run of the Millinery

The emphasis on millinery across any Fashion At The Races event has been on an upward scale over the past few years, and with it, we are seeing some stunning pieces that not only shine in their own right, but take an outfit to the next level.

Across the Limestone Coast of South Australia, one milliner is building a strong following with her attention to detail and strong design sense.

With thousands of followers across her various social media channels, Helen Varcoe of Helen Mary Millinery started out her millinery career with a one-week training course with Melbourne Milliner, Louise MacDonald as a birthday gift from her husband.

Since then, Helen has created millinery for multiple Fashion At The Races (FATR) winners, including Abby Chapman, and is a sought out milliner.

Abby is a FATR judge, host and entrant, Abby has utilized Helen’s expertise when creating her own outfit to cross the stage.

“Helen strikes a great balance between modern and traditional styles and I’ve always trusted her judgement and input into what will work with an outfit,” she said.

When speaking of her design process, Helen said there is no cookie cutter approach and she finds influence from many milliners.

“Each design is different and I definitely look to bring a uniqueness to my designs,” she said.

With the spotlight on millinery so strong, some FATR events will have a category designated solely to millinery, and with this, entrants are taking to creating their own pieces to match their outfits.

“My recommendation to those attempting to create their own millinery is definitely take a course in person where possible.

“However, if this is not possible, there are many online courses available for the expert help,” Varcoe said.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to millinery creation as you are always working to a brief from a client, but at times a touch of insipiration is required to get to the end result. For Helen, Melbourne Milliner, Waltraud Reiner, influences her.

With over 30 years of experience, and a member of the Australian Millinery Hall of Fame, it is easy to see why.

You can see Helen at this month’s Millicent Racing Club 3M Cup on May 29th, where she is hosting the FATR event. You can find further information here. Tickets are available from Moshtix.

Check out some of Helen’s amazing work below.


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