Millinery Australia Design Award 2022
Lovers of millinery design and quality craftmanship came together for a black-tie gala event in Melbourne to announce this year’s Millinery Australia Design Award winners.
The Millinery Australia Design Award, now in its sixth year, celebrates innovative design and inspires some of the country’s top milliners to put their best headwear forward. This is a world where fashion and high-quality artistry drives the narrative.
Darwin headwear designer Belinda Osborne of Peacock Millinery was awarded first place for her piece Yin Yang at this year’s Design Award Gala in Melbourne.
Inspired by the notion of yin and yang, Osborne leans into the concept using a koi fish as a starting point for her millinery, that took 12 hours to design and make.
“The yin yang koi is often seen to represent the convergence of opposite energies - one male, one female, light and dark, sun and moon, fire and water. They counterbalance one another and are the duality and harmony of life itself,” says Belinda Osborne.
“My design concept was to craft a wearable yin yang that would exude the theme in its weight, colours, materials and silhouette,” she says.
Osborne, a second-generation milliner who will attend the Melbourne Cup Carnival, says it was an incredible honour to win the 2022 Award.
“The competition is known for invoking thoughtful and skilfully crafted headwear designs. It was so rewarding to hear that the judges had unanimously chosen my piece as the winner,” Osborne says.
This year’s judges included fashion writer Janice Breen Burns, milliner Melissa Jackson and award-winning milliner Georgia Skelton.
According to the President of the Millinery Association Lauren Ritchie – who took out second place for her work titled Balancing Act - this year’s Design Award attracted the largest number of entrants.
“We had 47 milliners enter the prestigious competition – with many keen to show us what they have been up to in the last few years and unveiling some fabulous new designs too,” says Lauren Ritchie.
“The entrants leaned into traditional block making techniques, but brought a modern take on their millinery as well,” she says.Ritchie, who makes professional millinery for race days and special occasions, and also works in film and television, creating pieces for Picnic at Hanging Rock and the ABC TV’s Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, says entering the competition allows her to have full creative freedom.
Her winning entry Balancing Act is a clever melange of shapes that lean into spring’s softest hues.
“I am always trying to balance my business needs with my creative needs and often all at the same time, so this millinery piece is definitely a metaphor for all of that,” Ritchie says.
“I was able to push beyond my comfort zone and do something that was a mixture of my signature and something completely new,” she says.
Ritchie says the Melbourne Cup Carnival gives the Millinery Association members a chance to bring their award-winning designs to the track for all to see and truly celebrate top-notch craftmanship.