Amazing Chapeaux

Floral & fabulous: Houston designer creates unforgettable haute couture hats


272 Dwight Woodbury floral hats October 2013
Photo by © Emile C. Browne
274 Dwight Woodbury floral hats October 2013
Photo by © Emile C. Browne
300 Dwight Woodbury floral hats October 2013
Photo by © Emile C. Browne
Dwight Woodbury floral hats designer with models October 2013
Photo by © Emile C. Browne
298 Dwight Woodbury floral hats October 2013
Photo by © Emile C. Browne
289 Dwight Woodbury floral hats October 2013
Photo by © Emile C. Browne
269 Dwight Woodbury floral hats
Photo by © Emile C. Browne
280 Dwight Woodbury floral hats October 2013
Photo by © Emile C. Browne
294 Dwight Woodbury floral hats October 2013
Photo by © Emile C. Browne
316 Dwight Woodbury floral hats October 2013
Photo by © Emile C. Browne
315 Dwight Woodbury floral hats October 2013
Photo by © Emile C. Browne

Although Dwight Woodbury loves to work with all kinds of flowers, don't call him a florist. "I promote myself as an artist who happens to work with flowers. That is why I chose to office my floral design business from an artist studio," he explains.

Woodbury, a visual designer at Neiman Marcus, also has a love for haute couture, so he recently combined his passion for flowers and fashion into a runway presentation at Aurora Studios. It featured designer clothes from Neiman Marcus — each with a floral hat created by Woodbury.

Here, he describes his inspiration for each hat, along with the flowers used to make the one-of-a-kind creations.

The Yellow Hat: Tiger lily grasses, yellow/brown oncidium orchids and mixed feathers.

The Inspiration: Art and fashion that the Russian emigres brought to Paris.

"Most of my designs in some ways reflect my love for Hollywood '30s and '40s fashion and the fantasy of the Ziegfeld  Follies," Woodbury says. "I wore braces on my legs when I was a kid and I didn't play very much with other kids. Instead, I watched a lot of old movies and daydreamed."

Red Hat: James story orchids, cymbidium blooms, ombré  dyed palm fronds and red netting.

Inspiration: '30s-'40s Old Hollywood.
 

Woodbury creates each hat from scratch, starting by building  the shape and  silhouette of a floral design and creating the foundation to support it. "I  don't go out and buy hats and then just add flowers to them," he explains.

Rose Hat: Rose petals hand applied in layers.

Inspiration: The scales of the Red Imperial Dragon of China.

Woodbury's work draws comparisons to famed British hat designer Philip Treacy, only with flowers. While flattered by such comparisons, Woodbury says his real inspiration is legendary Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli.

"I'm so grateful for the positive feedback I'm getting for my work. I'm growing and gaining confidence in trusting my gut instinct," he says. "Right now I mostly use orchid blooms, carnations, gardenias, rose petals, mixed greenery and grasses.I like to add feathers and veils for added drama. I plan to experiment with other elements."

Woodbury, center, poses with several models. The show was styled by Neiman Marcus stylist Veronica Guerra; models from the Neal Hamil Agency. 

Monstera Leaf Hat: It includes a gardenia bloom and synthetic black and white feathers. "My favorite part of this design is the circular black netting veil," Woodbury says.

Inspiration: Old Hollywood and Paris of the '30s- '40s.

White Hat: Mini white carnations, boning, horsehair netting, and a miniature crystal chandelier.

Inspiration: "I call this my modern day Marie Antoinette. It reminds my of the theater and fantasy of the Ziegfeld Follies I loved watching as a kid," Woodbury says.

Purple Hat: Eggplant calla lilies, purple pleated horsehair and feathers. The mask is vintage lace.

Inspiration: Morocco and the lost stories of harems.

Black/White Hat: Calla lily, boning and netting.

Inspiration: High drama of  '30s-'40s Paris — an Elsa Schiaparelli artistic approach to fashion.

Tall Hat: Sago palm leaf.

Inspiration: Erté, Art Deco design, peacock feathers. "The Sago Palm makes me think of peacock feathers," Woodbury says.

Mohawk Hat: Lily grasses, galax leaves, cut peacock feathers and handmade metal face guard.

Inspiration: Rocker chic, gladiator helmets.

 

Mohawk Hat: Lily grasses, galax leaves, cut peacock feathers and handmade metal face guard.

Inspiration: Rocker chic, gladiator helmets.

 

 

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