The Milliner Behind The Hats

The Milliner Behind The Hats

Posted by Alice Bradley | 5 December 2018 | Magazine, Style & Beauty

Set up in 2010, Bee Smith Millinery has been designing and making hats and headpieces for every occasion for nearly a decade. From flamboyant designs for Ascot, through to weddings, christenings, Royal Investitures and the theatre. With her studio based in Kingston, Surrey, Smith welcomes clients for individual styling and creates wholesale collections for local boutiques.

Both with an eye for elaborate dressing, Sandra and Bee struck gold when they were first introduced: “I met Sandra through Marja-Leena of Darling Magazine. She knew Sandra was an avid hat wearer so thought it would be a perfect connection.”

Lady Wimbledon, Bee Smith Millinery, Party, Christmas

Smith’s first headpiece for Lady Wimbledon was designed specifically for the start of the tennis season: “I made a Wimbledon tennis inspired hat, complete with strawberries, for the Summer event at Cannizaro Park.”

She explains: “I draw inspiration from everywhere. The beautiful shapes of vintage hats of the 1940s & ’50s are my favourite, with an eccentric twist.”

Bee worked for a variety of designers prior to establishing her own business and worked for brands including Felder Felder, Sophie Malig and Hardy Amies before studying Millinery design at Kensington & Chelsea College.

Lady Wimbledon, Bee Smith Millinery, Party, Christmas

She continues: “But you always need creative input from the customer. They have to wear it and feel comfortable. If they aren’t happy in the hat, you can see it in their posture. You want the client to stand tall and feel amazing!”

With such creative freedom and a focus on ethical and sustainable materials, Smith discusses her favourite materials to use: “I am always on the lookout for new fabrics. Next season I will be using bamboo silk and seagrass straw.”

Smith takes each hat as a new project and works around the design to really make the piece well-crafted. Discussing the time it takes to create a hat she discloses: “It really depends on the hat. A couple of hours for a small piece, to a few days for bigger hats.”

Lady Wimbledon, Bee Smith Millinery, Party, Christmas

“Everything is handmade and hand-blocked at the studio,” Smith tells me, “so often you are waiting for things to dry. I am often working on several pieces at once.”

With the Eyes of Lady Wimbledon team excitedly counting down to our annual Christmas party, the team were keen to find out what was in store for Lady Wimbledon’s Christmas hat: “I am currently designing Sandra’s Christmas hat, with her input of course. We have a few design ideas, but you’ll have to wait and see!”

To inquire about having Bee design and make your very own party season hat get in touch with her via her official website.


Written by Alice Bradley

Find Alice on Twitter, Instagram and visit her own blog here.

Image Credit: Bee Smith Millinery

(Disclaimer: The experience featured in this post was gifted. All views and opinions are our own.)

Alice Bradley
About The Author

Alice Bradley

Alice Bradley is capturing her adventures through as a keen travel blogger with an eye for luxury travel and lifestyle.

Now read this...

Posted by Eyes of Lady Wimbledon | 15 June 2020
Summer Headbands By Local Tailor Dara Ford
Local womenswear tailor Dara Ford, renowned for her bespoke garments, has created a new collection of beautiful hairbands using vintage kimono silk. When the country entered lockdown in late March,...
Posted by Eyes of Lady Wimbledon | 13 May 2020
Open For Business?
Are you one of the local businesses that is opening back for business, or adapting your service and would like our readers to know about it?
Posted by Eyes of Lady Wimbledon | 6 March 2020
Support The Makers Pop-Up Shop In Wimbledon
There's a creative pop-up shop coming to Wimbledon on 12th - 13th March, run by local small businesses. Find out more...


Join Lady W’s VIP list for exclusive event invites and more