New York milliner to open hands-on hat shop in Solana Beach

By Claire Harlin

Jill Courtemanche loves stories about how her grandmother had a close relationship with her milliner, like the type of relationship a man might have with his barber or bartender. She’d visit her on special occasions, and her milliner kept up with landmarks and goings-on in Courtemanche’s life.

Jill Courtemanche will open Jill Courtemanche Millinery on Nov. 8 in Solana Beach.

Wait… what’s a milliner? It’s a hat maker — and the profession isn’t just a figment of our grandparents’ stories. While some may think of the hat as being a traditional accessory that was more common in decades past, local milliner Jill Courtemanche said millinery is far from being a lost art.

“The phone always rings and there’s always someone looking for  a hat,” said Courtemanche, whose hat shop, Jill Courtemanche Millinery (JCM), is set to open at 410 Cedros Ave. in Solana Beach on Nov. 8.

After attending the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Courtemanche worked as top milliner Suzanna Newman’s assistant. For eight years at the Madison Avenue shop, she outfitted the heads of celebrities such as Yoko Ono, Donatella Versace and Princess Mary of Denmark. Then she went solo, established a presence in the wholesale market and moved to Encinitas, where she now lives and works.

Courtemanche said she couldn’t have chosen a better place to open her hat shop — which will double as her studio — than in the Cedros Design District. Being so close to Del Mar, where hats are a staple accessory of the horse races, as well as among the many local artists on Cedros, she feels right at home. Not only will JCM have hats on display, but she will make custom hats and hold classes. The studio will be entirely visible from the shop, so guests can see the entire hat-making process right before their eyes.

“I’ve found that people really love the process, and that makes them excited that I’m actually making a hat for them,” she said.

Courtemanche said one of the favorite parts of her job is establishing strong relationship with her clients. For instance, it’s not uncommon for a woman to come in for a bridal headpiece, and then return a few years later for a baby’s bris ceremony, and then maybe a few years later for an Easter hat.

“A woman can even come in to have a different flower put on a hat for a different occasion,” she said, adding that clients also return for repairs or refurbishing.

Courtemanche said she thinks her biggest clientele will be men, because hats like fedoras are really emerging as an “in” item.

“My sales for men’s hats have gone up a lot, and I’ve even started doing bow ties and pocket squares,” she said. “It’s really becoming a look for guys to get a custom hat made for them.”

She said women often seek out custom hats because they are distinguishing pieces, and most want one that nobody else has. A hat is also a classic item that survives the ages in both style and longevity.

“It’s not about young or old; it’s about style,” she said, adding that “a custom hat is always made to last.”

Courtemanche said she will have hats for every season, transitioning from straw to felt for the fall, for example, and using velour in her winter designs. She will have casual and formal designs, appropriate for occasions from an outdoor wedding to an indoor cocktail party.

“Wearing a hat makes getting dressed so much easier,” she said. ‘It’s the focal point of any outfit and, even better, you don’t have to worry about fixing your hair.”

For more information, visit www.jillcourtemanche.com.

No related posts.

Short URL: http://www.delmartimes.net/?p=40171

Posted by Staff on Sep 20, 2012. Filed under Life, North Coast Life. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Archives

Facebook

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

LA JOLLA NEWS

RSS LA JOLLA NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RSS RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

  • Rancho Santa Fe Library to present Alzheimer’s series
    Taking aim at Alzheimer’s, the county Board of Supervisors in May launched the Alzheimer’s Project, an effort to create a regional strategy to improve caregiver resources and to support research efforts to find better treatments and ultimately, a cure for the disease. […]
  • Rancho Santa Fe Invasive Plants and Better Alternatives
    By Steve Jacobs, Nature Designs In California we are lucky to live in a mild climate that allows us to grow amazing landscapes. Because of this mild climate, plants from other parts of the world often thrive; and some grow so well they become known as invasive. These plants ‘jump fences’ and ‘throw seeds.’ Their […]
  • Rancho Santa Fe School District’s robotics program receives new funding
    The Rancho Santa Fe School District is making its school’s robotics program more robust this year, allocating $42,500 in stipends to staff coaches just like the district does for its athletics program. “I think the program has taken a big step,” said Superintendent Lindy Delaney. “I think we’re on our way toward developing a great program there.” John Galipa […]