Five {Wedding} Minutes with…Clara of Clara Magee Designs

….Well more like 7 wedding minutes..there was just too much to ask!!
1. Tell us about your company
Clara Magee Designs offers a bespoke millinery service exclusively designing individual head pieces for all occasions. Every creation is lovingly crafted and hand-made to the client’s personal requirements from size, style, colour, materials and trimmings. No hat is ever the same because my designs are about creating a unique head piece, combining the fashion mood of the moment with the wearer’s own style and personality.
2. How did you become a Milliner?
As an avid race goer and with plenty of weddings to go to I found that the market was limited in what it had to offer in terms of tailor made pieces. With a strong interest in art and design I decided to undertake a couple of millinery workshops in 2009 with Beads and Bling. What started out as a hobby, purely making pieces for myself, soon turned into a successful business.
It wasn’t until 2010, while living in Sydney that I realised my true passion for hat design after studying under renowned Australian milliner, Jane Stoddart, a fantastic teacher and an inspiration. Upon my return to Ireland I was also lucky enough to study under well-known Irish milliner, Aileen Keogan, at the Grafton Academy of Art and Design.
3.What service do you offer?
All of my headpieces are my own unique designs. They are hand sewn and created using the highest quality materials. Commissioning a piece from me usually starts with a detailed consultation whereby the client and I will discuss their outfit and any thoughts around what they envision for the piece. Every person is different and unique in their request, from the most refined piece to the ethereal, so at this early stage I’ll try to establish the style, shape and design of the hat. Some clients like to be heavily involved and others let me guide them as to what I think will suit best.
Many of my wedding commissions are for mother of the bride/groom. For me, this is one of the most important, as having watched my own mother carefully pick out every detail of her outfits for both my brother’s weddings, I understand the importance of feeling your best and most confident on the big day. A priority for me is being able to put the client at ease, making them feel relaxed and special. You can’t underestimate honesty in this line of work and so my policy is an open line of communication from that initial consultation.
Once I start working on my designs I also make it a priority to catalogue the piece throughout the stages of design. This way I can send on any photographs to update the client and it negates any nasty surprises once complete!
My pricing is very competitive, so alongside the fact that no one else will be wearing the same piece, the client gets good value for money and a personalised service.



4. What’s your favourite part about designing hats? 

Part of what I love most about designing pieces are the people I meet along the way and the satisfaction of seeing someone proudly wearing my creations. Being able to have a creative outlet has provided me with a way to express myself. I also love how hats create a stir, a glance, a comment or a nod of approval or disapproval. Hats are always a great conversation starter!
5. Where do you get inspiration for your designs? 

My clients are a huge inspiration – their own look and taste can often determine the style and design of my hats.
At the moment the majority of my work is also based on two themes – structure and form or flower detailing. On one hand I love clean lines and simplicity, with an emphasis on lines and angles to work with faces.  Teamed with the right outfit, I believe you can never underestimate how striking a simple piece can look.
As a total opposite to this I enjoy using flowers to add a feminine, softer element to my pieces. Madison a faux flower shop based in Dublin City Centre is where I find most of my inspiration for this. Aoife Moulton (owner) is always on hand to lend her thoughts on new trends and stocks the shop with flowers that suit the extravagant to the elegant.
6. What’s your biggest tip or piece of advice for a mother of the bride/groom?
I believe the mother of the bride/groom should reflect her personality in everything she wears, from head to toe. To me a hat is all about personality, it must be interesting yet stylish, reflecting its own style and that of the wearer. It’s all about creating a subtle elegance that will ensure she feels a million dollars on the day.
7. How can clients get in touch with you? 

Facebook – Clara Magee Designs
Ph: 087 233 2247
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