As soon as I began research for ‘Life Is A Cabaret‘, I knew I wanted to open the story with Coco + Breezy in matching ivory felt cloches (as inspired by this vintage shot) ~ but I didn’t want them to feel too retro. There must always be a modern twist. I dreamt of something with a higher-than-average crown and an asymmetric, visor-like brim, and Satya Twena came to my rescue. Turns out, when she launched her Kickstarter campaign to save one of NYC’s last hat factories, she inadvertently created a monster: ME. I could hang out there and have hats made all day!
Indeed, a week before our shoot I spent a happy Sunday afternoon sifting through her factory’s overwhelming archives and managed to dig up a vintage straw number that was pretty close to the shape I’d been envisioning. Satya expertly matched it to the original wood block it had been built on, and from there we began making a hundred little customizations, till it all felt just right. Hand-blocked hats are such a treasure, as it’s truly a dying art. If Satya hadn’t bought this factory in its entirety, the machines, blocks, and artisans it houses would have disappeared forever into the winds of time. At the risk of sounding too retro, it’s a treasure I feel instinctively empowered to help protect. Not everything needs modernizing. |PHOTOGRAPHY| by Nick Onken (top) and Austin Phelps