How did you get into art/How did you get started?
I’ve studied Set and Costume design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Italy, first in Venice for my BA’s and then in Milan for my MA’s. I encountered millinery the second year of my Masters and since then I’ve kept on studying and developing my skills.
What is your background and how has it helped you where you are today?
My background roots in Theatre and Art, Fashion is a secondary thing. I always loved historical costumes, the details and perfection put into the making. Painting, sculpture and Art in general had always a big influence on my creative process, either I want it or not!
What artists do you admire and who has influenced you and why?
I don’t have a “favourite favourite”, but I’ve always deeply loved Michelangelo and Caravaggio: the drama and the use of light to shape figures. Somehow, I think I’ve absorbed their influences, and because of it, I look at my hats always from a 360° prospective.
Who inspires you? Influences etc. (Add links if you wish)
There are many milliners that I do admire and I would love to meet, just to tell them how much I adore their work. One above all (but it is a long list) it Mr. Philip Treacy, the master of shapes! His innovative use of materials and the combination with traditional couture millinery always surprises me!
The theme for this show is INSIDE/OUTSIDE – what inspired you to choose this theme, and would you like to say more about your work for this show.
For this exhibition I created a hat that was more inspired by Architecture and the game of light and shadows, full and empty, inside and outside that lines can create. I’ve played with different perspective and perception, tricking the viewer’s eyes with clever use of transparency, lines and surfaces.
Where do you make your work? (Do you have any photos of your work space we can use?)
I have my own studio at the fantastic Makers’ Yard, where I share the space with other designers and makers. It’s in the heart of the Cultural Quarter in Leicester, 5 min walk from the city center.
What inspires you to create your work and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?
I can find inspiration almost everywhere, in Nature, in Art, in a place I like to go. My studio is my reign and, although is always quite messy, I find my true dimension there. Even when I work long hours it in never too much, I love my job for what it is.
What is your starting point for a piece of work? What do you create?
I mainly make bespoke hats, tailored on my customers requests. The starting point is always an informal meeting, where I can get to know the person, what she/he likes and what she/he needs the hat for (and most importantly, when she/he needs it for!!). They usually try some styles to determine which type of shape suits them most, then we work on colour palettes and decorations.
I do sketch some ideas for them, or they come with some pictures that I can use as inspiration. After this first meeting, we agree on a quote and I can start to make the hat. It usually takes me about 10 days to deliver, 20 days during busy season.
What process(es) do you use to create your work? / How do you go about creating your work?
There is no single way to make a hat. Depending on the material, you have different techniques that have to be applied to make the hat strong and able to be shaped and worn. Most materials can be dyed and hand painted, some can be cut and shaped, but all need a careful advance planning, or the risk is to work very hard for nothing!
Have you always been an artist (ie are you part time/full time /what else do/ have you done prior to this if anything?)
I’ve always been attracted by Art and making stuff since I was a child. I officially started to call myself an “artist” just quite recently, about 3-4 years ago, when I accepted my true nature. I am currently a full time couture milliner, and proud to be.
Which aspect(s) of your work do you enjoy most?
It’s difficult to pick one aspect. I think the creative process is what intrigues me most. Chatting with my customers , shaping ideas with them until we meet half way it always a challenge, but I love it because it’s never the same!
What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
Believe in yourself, but also be realistic (sad to say, but the second is almost as important as the first). What I mean as “realistic” is be aware of what it is out there, challenge your believes and never be too sure of yourself. The moment you think “I made it”, is the moment you get stuck and the fun stops…
What are you trying to achieve at the moment in your work?
I’m still building my brand and reputation (I moved to Leicester less than two years ago), but my aim is to become the couture milliner where customers from all Midlands go to! Quite ambitious, I know, but if you have to dream, dream big!
How have you handled the business side of being an artist?
It’s very very difficult being an artist and also a business. I think I am a quite practical person, decently organized and good at planning, so that helped a lot. The most difficult part is to price correctly your work. I’m still on a learning path, but give me time and I’ll sort that aspect out too.
Where do you exhibit/ sell your work?
I don’t sell my hats in shop and boutique locally, but this year I’ve started a collaboration with a hat shop in London, Hearld and Heart, and I am planning to explore more options with other boutiques in the future.
What have you been doing / making this year? Plans for next year?
This year I’ve been testing my skills to the limit with my very first collection for Royal Ascot. To that collection, I have to add a lot of private commissions (weddings and Ascot especially). This is just the first half of this year, I have no idea what is going to happen during the second one!
To find out more, please visit my website www.giuliamiomillinery.com
If you wish to contact me, regarding a commission or a specific enquiry, please email me – It would be lovely to hear from you: email@example.com