When Anna Dello Russo was spotted wearing a giant cherry headpiece, it immediately created a fashion storm and made Piers Atkinson – the man behind the now iconic headpiece – the milliner to watch. Now Piers is set to channel his eccentric style into an exclusive online collection for JOYCE.
As Piers shows JOYCE around his east London studio, the eccentricity that he translates into his pieces surrounds us in the form of toys and dolls. “I suppose I like kitsch and plastic and almost throwaway objects,” he laughs as he brings out a fur-hat customised with a plastic teddy-bear nose and claws. This unconventionality and love for dressing up is infectious and Piers whisks us around his studio, pulling out flamboyant pieces, “Do you want bride, or mega-bride?,” he ponders.
When asked how he feels his British designs will contribute to JOYCE’s international market, Piers enthuses, “Hats are universally seen as a British phenomenon and also I think they express our quirky, witty sense of humour. I think you can be very witty with hats.” His upcoming collection for JOYCE showcases this talent for creating tongue–in-cheek designs that remain innately desirable to the modern woman. “I like to imagine a proud, intelligent woman” says Piers. Somebody who has that confidence to have a sense of humour, to enjoy being looked at, because a lot of the hats are quite show off,” he finishes with a broad smile.
So what has it been like for this independent designer to team up with a store like JOYCE? “The ideas we are talking about are definitely a collaboration. They’re pieces that JOYCE thinks will appeal to their market but they are very much based on an idea that I have worked on before.”
The collection itself consists of crystal-studded apples, some with long golden arrows inserted through the middle, affixed to plastic headbands. However it is here that Piers adopts a more sober attitude, “With such a great reputation as JOYCE, it’s got to be good quality. It’s got to look great,” he asserts, pulling ruby-red apples, complete with sparkling silver bite marks, out of bags.
“We were trying to work out how to make bite shapes and cover them in Swarovski crystals and how to shove arrows through them without breaking the apples, then how to affix all of that onto a hat. So, yes, panic.” He finishes quite seriously before erupting into self-deprecating laughter.