Saturday, January 28, 2017

Luxarazzi 101: Sylvia Martinez of Les Folie's Bibis (In Her Own Words)

The bold and the beautiful: Could you imagine a major royal event without hats and fascinators? It just wouldn't be a proper royal bash without a nod to massive millinery, would it? We talked to miliner Sylvia Martinez of Les Folie's Bibis, who took part in the "De Mains de Maître" exhibition initiated by Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie.

You have recently exhibited your work as part of the "De Main de Maîtres" exhibition, initiated by the Hereditary Grand Duke and the Hereditary Grand Duchess. Can you tell us a how it came about and about your experience?
I am part of the “Metiers d’Art en Lorraine” since 2010 in France, and I do regular exhibitions in the region. I am also a member of the IDAA association that wants to promote the “Metiérs d’Art in Luxembourg”. So the president of the IDAA association, Katty Chacun, was approached by the organizers of this exhibition “De Mains de Maîtres” and she provided them with 20 names of creators, and 12 of them were chosen to be part of this exhibition, including my work. For me it was an amazing experience, to be part of all these talented persons, in such a magnificent place. Also the opportunity to meet the Hereditary Grand Duke and the Hereditary Grand Duchess was a big honour. 

Sylvia Martinez with the Hereditary Grand Duke
and Hereditary Grand Duchess
Please tell us a little about yourself. How did you become a hat designer?
I am a Spanish economist that had worked in finance for 20 years in Madrid. Life made me leave Madrid in 2007, to come close to Luxembourg, to Zoufftgen (where I live) and I saw the perfect opportunity to make a radical change in my professional life too. I have been always fascinated by hats, I wear them regularly and I wanted to work with my hands; so I learned how to work the different materials to make these marvellous hats, like I used to see in films or magazines. My father was a tailor and one of my aunts a dressmaker, so I have grown up with needles, threads and fabrics… all these amazing materials that get transformed into something unique. After some Master Classes with prestigious teachers to learn how to work the felt, the sinamay, the buckram, the straw and the feathers, I felt ready to take this new adventure of making hats. And at the end of 2009 I created my brand “Les Folie’s Bibis”.

The hat for Princess Stéphanie
You have offered two of your hats as gifts to the Grand Duchess as well as the Hereditary Grand Duchess. How the process of creating a new hat usually does looks like?
Normally it is the material that communicates something to me… and the magic starts! I don’t normally make any sketches in advance, because most of the time I have no idea of what would be the final result… I can have a little idea, but by creating and transforming the material with my hands, the hat is taking form… And the moment arrives that I feel is done, and it  is finished… I know it sounds strange but it is the way it works in me.
The hat for the Grand Duchess
The hat I create for the Grand Duchess, first I looked for pictures about her, to have an idea of her colours and style. I had this nice silk on my hands and I imagine making leaves of different colours with pearls. For the base of that hat I used wool felt in fuchsia, blocked on a nice shape. When I finished, I really thought that it could be perfect for The  Grand Duchess, so I “dared” to send it to her as a present. And some weeks later I received a wonderful letter thanking me for this hat… I was so excited and grateful about that.
At the exhibition “De Mains de Maîtres” I thought that it could be a nice present for the Hereditary Grand Duchess to offer her one of my hats as well, one that could be adapted to her style. So I chose one nice sinamay and lace head piece in light beige colour. I hope she likes it and she will have the opportunity to wear it.

What is the inspiration behind your creations?
I get my inspiration in old films and old fashion books. I love the 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's… All these glamorous years for fashion, all these elegant women and men wearing hats, gloves… I try to get inspiration in old times bringing old styles alive in a contemporary and elegant way. Nature is also a source of inspiration, with the colours, combinations and forms.

If you could create a hat for anyone in the world, who would it be and what would the hat look like?
Difficult question… With my work I want to make feel every woman unique, elegant, special and simply beautiful. It is important to talk and listen to the client to know their wishes and expectations, the style and what the client wants to communicate wearing a hat or headpiece, in order to find the perfect one for her. Being a big fan of Audrey Hepburn myself (for me one of the most elegant women from the last century), I would have liked to have the opportunity to create an elegant hat for her. Not possible anymore, but she is still and always so inspiring to me.

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