For award-winning milliner Flora McLean, no material is out-of-bounds. The London-based fashion and accessory designer is known for creating part fashion/part art, a winning combination that catapulted the House of Flora into the design stratosphere since launching in 1996.
Initially inspired by the likes of Claude Montana, Pierre Cardin and André Courrèges, McLean gained an MA in Fashion Womenswear at the Royal College of Art but it was her millinery that first captured the attention of the design world, winning a Kangol hat prize whilst still in college.
Influenced by surrealism, constructivism and the Bauhaus movement, McLean produces two collections each year showing in London and Paris to a loyal and loving audience. “I like designing hats as I’m in control of the process,” explains the highly sought-after designer. “Some of the pieces I want to make in terms of jewelry, I need to get others to produce and some ideas get lost in translation.”
For McLean, the three essential elements to producing show stopping head wear are; “Good line, interesting materials and effortless construction.” A design philosophy she takes to heart as can be seen in her latest SS14 collection entitled, Ping Pong. Comprised of a variety of materials such as plexiglass and string, the angular lines attest to McLean’s love of architecture (and our love of fabulous design).
Inspired by the world famous Wimbledon stadium—which McLean confesses she visits a lot—this highly coveted collection is just a taste of McLean’s design genius. With fans such as Lady Gaga and Beyonce, the sky is the limit as the House of Flora continues to push the boundaries of design. But what of the future? “More architecture and dancing in hats,” she says. “I love architecture... I may give up hats and become an architect.” Although we’d love a McLean country house, we’re hoping she sticks to heavenly head wear for now, racing season is upon us! — N.R.