Cessiah Alice is an amazing milliner from Hobart. With no intention of becoming a milliner, she attended a course for fun with her mum. After studying at Tafe and attending workshops she establishing Cessiah Alice Millinery in 2015. Cessiah’s designs are absolutely beautiful and elegant, so I was excited to interview her this month!
Tell us a little bit about yourself
Hi! I’m Cessiah (pronounced Kess-sigh-ah) I am 29 years old and live in Hobart, Tasmania. Currently I live in a little unit in a shed while my husband is building our new dream home! I will have a great big amazing millinery studio in the new house, and I am so excited to be able to spread out and really let my creativity flourish! I have two doggos, Ziggy a cocker spaniel and Zoey a boarder collie, and two pet goats – Penny & Pedro!
How did you become a milliner?
My Mum, Victoria Henderson, has been making hats and headpieces for very many years – over 20 I believe! She used to own a hat shop in my hometown of Geelong called Ruby & Leo. She heard about a TAFE Course that was being run, taught by Rebecca Share, and asked if I would like to do it with her and I said, “Why not!” To begin with I really struggled with how fiddly everything was and I wasn’t even sure I liked it! But one day it just clicked, and the passion sparked! I officially established my business Cessiah Alice Millinery in 2015 after getting married and moving to Hobart, releasing my first Spring/Summer Collection and from then I haven’t stopped creating! I am now very happy to say I am a full-time milliner and I love it!
For those looking to become a milliner, what would you suggest? Are there any courses that you would recommend?
It is a lot of hard work, dedication and perseverance. Like I said, to begin with I really thought it was all going to be a bit too hard. You need a great deal of patience, and of course a creative streak – which I was lucky to inherit from my Mum! I did a year of study at TAFE, and I have also done 5 (week-long) millinery conventions/forums where I would go and learn techniques from milliners from all over the world. I have also done a few masterclasses. Hat Academy have some wonderful online courses – I have done quite a few of these too. There is a lot to learn!
Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?
I think inspiration comes from everywhere – nature, shapes, colours, outfits, materials! I will often look at a piece of fabric and think about how it would look as different shapes. I love flowers and am constantly looking at them and recreating them in different materials.
What has been your favourite piece to make and why?
I would have to say Ellie’s Myer Fashions on the Field piece! She gave me her dress so I could work with it and pretty much gave me free reign as to what I could create to match. I had so much fun using a new material I hadn’t used before for the flowers and jewel tones which I just adore. I loved the finished piece and thought it complemented her outfit so well – and obviously the judges did too as she was the winner for Tasmania!
Some people don’t understand that headpieces are a labour of love. How long would it take you to make one piece, from sourcing the material to the finished product?
It really depends on the headpiece and what is involved in making it. On average I would say 1-3 days if I was to just work on one piece at a time. But I am usually working on at least 5 at once (sometimes up to 20!) and I work in stages as there is wait time with drying etc.
Who would you love to see wear one of your pieces and why?
Kate Middleton! She is so elegant and looks so amazing in hats! It would be such an honour to see one of my creations adorning her pretty head.
What trends are you predicting for winter and even spring?
My AW20 Collection has already been released – I predicted bold jewel tones, florals and veiling. For Spring I think we are going to see bold, bright colours and simple, but statement headpieces paired with patterned fabrics and structured silhouettes. I can’t wait to see!
For those wearing a head piece to the races for the first time, what would you suggest?
I always think, if you are going to wear something on your head, why not have a bit of fun with it? Headbands are great for everyday wear, but I think go a bit bolder for the races with something different and bold! Also having your hair tied up/back to let the millinery shine!
Outside of being a milliner, what do you enjoy doing?
I love photography! I am lucky enough to have a good camera and have done a few photography courses over the years. I take all the photos of my Collections and I love doing the photoshoots – they are such fun!
You can follow Cessiah on Instagram and Facebook! She’s also just released a new collection C’est La Vie. Inspired from the need to create more casual pieces as people are currently not allowed at the races, it includes some pieces handmade by Cessiah, some handmade by Eline, as part of the Alice & Eline Collection, and some sourced especially for you. Be sure to check out this collection!