Interview with Victor Osborne

Interview With Victor Osborne


Victor Osborne, at least in New York, is a name you recognize even if you're not sure just where to place it. Osborne is the milliner, you realize, responsible for the hats and headpieces in countless editorials you've scanned. It's possible you've tried on his creations at Intermix or Barneys. He's also, you remember hearing at a cocktail party or showroom, a mere 23 years old. Well, at least that's how it happened for us. We'd met Osborne a few weeks ago without realizing it. We'd actually been in his space, which serves as the atelier and showroom for his company (which he runs with his business partner Zachary Barnett, 24 years old), and just didn't put it all together. Perhaps it's that he's so young, or that between the barman we recognized from Hotel Delmano, the amazing artist whose work brought us to the event, and the appearance of a certain blonde supermodel, it just slipped our minds to think about, well, the designer who made the whole thing happen. We're very happy to be up on the Victor Osborne pursuit and, to accompany his creations as seen in today's original Coutorture editorial Put A Lid On It, to publish a few quick thoughts from the designer on his blossoming company.

Can you tell us a little bit about how you started out in millinery?
I had an aunt with great hats that I loved as a child. When I was at FIT I took a millinery course and realized that I was the only student under 30... by 20 years. It was kind of like a challenge.

The history of hats/headpieces/scarves/coverings is rich with cultural information. How do these complexities inform your designs?
Our line is full of historical reference, some of our best selling felt shapes are blocks scored off a retiring costume designer from the Metropolitan opera. This incorporation of the historical is entrenched in the line.

Why do you think American women stopped wearing hats as fashion accessories? Do you think this will change?
There are a lot of factors. Casual dressing has plagued America for ages for one. Big hair is another reason. The list could go on, but I am just thrilled that so many people are responding so strongly to the line.

What other milliner do you admire and why?
[Phillip] Treacy does amazing runway millinery, as does Stephen Jones. Etre had an amazing way of drawing millinery. My favorite milliner is Dài-Rees. He is a welsch milliner, who made the hats for Mcqueen for a few seasons, who also had his own line for a while. I also really admire Lilly Dache, and Schiaparelli.

What don't people know about this particular type of design?
Most people don't know that you bake straw and felt hats.

In terms of your brand, what projects or accomplishments are on the horizon?
> We are planning some great collaborative projects with really creative designers like Tim Hamilton, and the Blonds. That's always exciting. There might be a trip in the fall to a couple countries to source some new materials which would be a blast.

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