WINNER ‘Progress toward circularity’ Marie Claire Sustainability Awards 2023

Interview with Judy Bentinck

Feeling underdressed? Not on Judy Bentinck's watch. Professional milliner Judy Bentinck has been designing hats and headwear for over two decades, adorning celebrities, royalty and attendees to all the important occasions that call for a little glamour. She shares with us how she started with this specialist branch of design, her favourite materials to work with and what designs she's working on next.

Judy Bentinck with green fascinator hat

Photo by Daniel Murtagh

How did you get into your craft?

My B.A. was in Textiles so I have always been a designer. I did a 2-day Millinery course out of interest 21 years ago and it was an instant passion! I then trained 2 days a week for 18 months and then set up my own Millinery business.

model wearing feathered pale green fascinator
Photography by James Champion

Who or what inspires you?

Inspiration is all around. Nature, architecture, history, fine art, the Solar System, the choice is endless. Some of my favourite designers are Poiret, Chanel and Stephen Jones, milliner extraordinaire.

What are your favourite materials to work with?

I love working with silk and silk velvet. A high-quality fur felt is a delight to handle and manipulate. It is very important to me to use natural materials.

What is your next project? 

I am currently designing and creating my SS22 collection which will be a celebration of the return of hat-wearing events and influenced by the early 1950's with a nod to The Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

What is some advice you have for aspiring makers?

Identify your customer as soon as you can. Don't compare yourself to others and keep going!