Rita Gomez (Germany)

Maybe some of you can relate to this. I've worn a few hats in my time. Not only head coverings, but roles in life, jobs. I was an au-pair one summer, spent another at a printing press, and then landed a gig as a talent scout for a modeling agency. I wasn't keen on working during the summer, but it helped me along my path of self-discovery and taught me (some!) responsibility. My final summer job, where I trained under a master milliner, was an experience that left a lasting impression on me. Beyond assisting someone who possessed such extraordinary talent, I learned how to build hats from mere forms and all the ways in which to design and create bridal headpieces, in addition to the many adorable hats for children and little old ladies that we made. When I married, I designed and created my own bridal headpiece drawing from the skills acquired in the millinary boutique so many years ago.

I learned very early on that hats are very personal, different from anything else you'll ever wear. You can wear the wrong scarf or sweater. A hat, given it's place on the body and how it is often associated with respect and beauty, is the first thing you see. No room for screw-ups. Afterall, it's on top, the grand crown, and it must fit perfectly. Depending on it's function, it must either do well to protect the wearer or make them look polished and stylish. Or, if for a wedding, radiant and princess-like. Hats make the ensemble.

Here in northern Germany, hats are big business. They are quite the "it" accessory, most Germans wear ultra cool knitted or oilcloth hats, and if they aren't wearing one, you are most likely going to find it tucked away in their handbags. City girls here are always prepared and, even in inclement weather, always look so stylish thanks to their trusty hat.

One German milliner (of many) that I spied at the Infa fair this past week is Rita Gomez. Her work really stood out. The details, patterns, textiles, knitted creations, the sheer range alone was impressive. She can go over-the-top avant garde all the way to a simple oilcloth rain hat in understated two-tone florals. It's great.

This winter, I say hats on ladies!

I did some traveling today and time escaped me, so I'll be back tomorrow to post some finds for the home - I have lots of goodies to share and more images from infa, too.

(images top: from holly becker for decor8 and other: from rita gomez. note: rita is pictured in the bottom photo.)