Interview with Lyndsay Cooper from Pyewacket Millinery

pyewacket millinery vintage glasses retro spectacle

Our blog interview this week features one of our super talented customers Lyndsay Cooper who owns Pyewacket Millinery. Based in Stockport in the North West of England, Lyndsay creates handmade hats inspired by the bygone eras.

What is your favourite style of hat?

My go to is a simple beret, I also enjoy wearing turbans. 

We see on your social media pages some rather glamorous photo shoots. Have your creations featured in any television or well known publications?

No TV / film as yet though I'd love to work on period costume given the chance!

Last year I exhibited at Hatstock celebrating milliners in the north of England held at the Hatworks Museum Stockport, once the centre for hatting in the UK. A photo of my hats from the exhibition featured on the cover of an issue of the museums brochure.

I also exhibited in the Brighton Artists Open Houses last year featuring as the only milliner in the festival, my work was included in the official brochure and the Kemptown Arts Trail brochure.

I also exhibited at the Twin Peaks UK Festival, I was so pleased to have the opportunity to exhibit a couple of pieces I'd made inspired by the cult tv show which was a favourite of mine back in the 1990s. I also got to meet Sherilyn Fenn who played my favourite character Audrey Horne on the show and also owns a selection of my hats. Sherilyn is such a sweetheart, it's a memory I will treasure.

My hats have featured in a few issues of Vintage Life Magazine over the past couple of years including a feature on the 1940s film noir Femme Fatale - right up my street!

I also collaborated with Miss Candyfloss (vintage reproduction clothing) for their Dior New Look inspired autumn winter 2018 collection photoshoot. I created hats to complete the look, which featured on the cover and throughout their glossy brochure, and on the garment labels as well as on both their social media and popular stockist Top Vintage.

Most recently I collaborated with What Katie Did (vintage inspired lingerie & hosiery) for their winter 2018 magazine photoshoot, featuring one of my designs both on the front cover and centrefold, and in their article on the 1940s Femme Fatale no less. My hats were teamed with both WKD lingerie and dresses from The House of Foxy (vintage reproduction) showing how to create the complete look - which is paramount for me

Do you have any advice for people purchasing a hat. Similar to spectacles some people say "I just don't suit hats" Can you quash this myth? Is there a style out there for everyone?

I say you simply haven't found the right hat! 

How did you arrive at the name Pyewacket?

It's the name of the Siamese cat in the 1950s film comedy Bell, Book & Candle starring Kim Novak, Jimmy Stewart and Jack Lemmon. A sweet, funny film and I love Jack Lemmon. The cat featured in the film was actually Kim's!

It's also a common name for a witches familiar! I can't say I'm a witch but I do seem to be ruled by felines!

When creating a bespoke creation, what steps are involved to arrive at the final design?

It comes down to good communication with the client throughout, getting an idea of what they want and seeing how I can create it. Then keeping the client informed with updates to check they are happy with how the piece is progressing. 

Sometimes what they describe might not be possible in the material they envisage, but we find a way to create something close to what they desire. Sometimes the concepts are a new challenge but I love challenge! Often the feedback is that the outcome is better than they'd imagined.

Often the design is left to me, or if they want a hat I've made that is no longer available, I offer to make something similar in another colour perhaps. I prefer not to recreate the same hat twice as I like my creations to be unique to the wearer. They are also all handmade by me so it wouldn't be possible to make an exact replica.

Where do you find your inspiration for each design?

Sometimes an idea will pop in my head, other times the work evolves during the process. Occasionally I see a vintage design on an old Hollywood starlet and can't resist making my own version. My favourite eras tend to be the 1920s through to the 1950s, be it art, architecture, design, fashion, film... which comes through in the work I create.

We know you have a pair of beautiful 1950's vintage spectacles that are often pictured whilst wearing hat's. Are there any tips for  customers to consider when purchasing a hat to wear alongside spectacles ?

That hasn't really come up as yet, but when I make myself hats some shapes don't work with my specs so I have to take that into consideration.

What are your plans for 2019? Do you have any up and coming shows or exhibitions you will be attending?

I am super excited to announce that I have again been selected to exhibit at the London Hat Week, which takes place 3rd-12th April at the Menier Gallery.

I'd also like to catch the Night & Day 1930s fashion exhibition before it closes at the Fashion & Textiles Museum.

Beyond that who knows what's in store!...


Find Pyewacket Millinery on Facebook @pyewacketmillinery Instagram @pyewacketmillinery