Glass speaks to Victoria Grant – the British milliner crafting timeless narratives between traditional artistry and modern flair

IN THE world of millinery, there are few names as revered and recognised as Victoria Grant. Known for her audacious creativity and unique aesthetic, Grant has carved an impressive niche for herself in the fashion industry.

Defying the traditional paradigms of headwear design, her pieces are statement-making marvels that unite British history with the bold, iconoclastic elements of pop culture. With an innate ability to fuse her personal aspirations into her creations, Victoria’s works are more than mere adornments – it’s a confluence of creativity, vision, and emotion.

In a reality where trends often dictate design, Grant’s work stands out with its timeless appeal and individualistic touch. Her creations, an expression of her eclectic tastes, capture her dual love for the traditional and the avant-garde, manifesting as an original signature look. More than mere hats, her creations embody emotions, dreams, and her own inner cosmos.

In an intimate conversation of sharing the magic of the artistry of her designs and the beauty of the collaborative power, Victoria Grant opens up to Glass on how she lets the inner senses guide her creative flow and reveals the secrets of staying her authentic self.

Stepping into her millinery studio feels like walking into a creative heaven – a panorama of colour, texture, art, and ideas. The very air seems to crackle with a magical creative charge that takes root in your senses; it’s as if you’ve entered a world straight out of Alice in Wonderland, where time and space are suspended. 

When asked how she effortlessly marries her love for Britain with pop culture, her eyes light up with enthusiasm, “I think, basically, that there are just two very authentic streams that run within me all the time anyway,” she begins.”I’m sort of consistently inspired by both British heritage and pop culture. They’re quite different themes… the traditional side is all very historical and heritage and tradition-based, and then the pop culture is all about being avant-garde, explorative, potentially provocative and slightly rebellious… I think somewhere in between that Venn diagram, I come up with, hopefully, a signature look that carries a little element of both of those”.

Hatting celebrities worldwide, the London-based milliner has dressed the one most stylish heads in fashion, her pieces worn by Kate Moss, Madonna, Beyoncé, and Rihanna, and has also embarked on many royal ceremonies. Grant doesn’t just design hats, she conveys narratives – stories of her clients, her inspirations, and her dreams. I had the opportunity to delve into her fascinating creative world and her journey.

“Looking back, I prefer not to think about creating collections. I create everything with the hope that it will be timeless, lifetime pieces. I’m inspired by my mood, my emotions, my dreams, and the people I meet. All these amazing ceremonial events that I attend, British heritage, pomp and ceremony, art and music – all are influential,” she shares.

She also admits that music, ranging from Chopin to the Rolling Stones, are also a massive source of her creative flow. “Honestly, my hats begin with a feeling, a sense. They almost talk to me, telling me where I’m at. It sounds kind of crazy, but it’s true.”

Her collaborations with celebrities or friends seem to be a different kind of creative dance. “When I’m creating for a client, it’s not for me to tell my story on their head, it is for me to try to tune in and connect, and to read a little into their character, their personality, their energy, and it’s for me to use my medium,” she remarks.

A process she likens to a therapy session, her belief in the power of personal connection is poignant – an approach that resonates with her intuitive design process.” It has happened so many times that a complete stranger has made an appointment, and I just had a feeling they’re going to want that specific hat. And so often, it has happened that they come in, and they do. So, I think I do have some kind of a sixth sense,” she confesses.

When we talk about the lessons she has learned throughout her numerous collaborations, she recalls, “Always be flexible, always be fluid. The whole point of collaboration is to see what happens, to let the moment carry out and see where the fireworks get lit,”. 

As our conversation flows, we discuss recent collaborations and exciting future endeavours. “We’ve got a few really interesting things in the pot at the moment”, she revealed. “A collaboration with an Old Cowboy boots-making family coming up, along with a partnership with a private jet and helicopter company.”

Soon to embark in preparation for a ceremony for the freedom of the City of London with the Worshipful Company of Filmmakers, she concludes by talking about her most recent project with British artist Lorna Mae Wodsworth, in which the latter depicts a number of strong female figures, both fictional and real, wearing one of the millenary’s hats. 

When wondering on who she would like to work in the future, Grant shares a seemingly trivial encounter that occurred during a routine trip to the airport a few months ago. While she was preoccupied with browsing her makeup options, she had an unexpected encounter with a strikingly dressed woman. This lady, who casually complimented Victoria before walking away, turned out to be the renowned American singer and songwriter Erykah Badu.

This name holds a significant place in Grant’s life as she recalls, Badu had unknowingly played the role of a mentor to Grant during her formative years. As she began to to discover of love, romance, and passion, Badu’s music served as a guide, offering solace and inspiration. Given this admiration and deep connection, Victoria hopes to collaborate with her someday.

You can’t help but get swept away by Victoria’s relentless pursuit of innovation. “I really want to work with an amazing light artist. I’ve been making these little light-up mini Vegas-sized hats,” she says.

Finding excitement in everything pioneering, Grant is open to AI and has also mentioned a desire to collaborate with a scientist, someone capable of merging her craft with advanced technology and materials. “I want to do stuff for outer space,” she added.

When I ask about her methods of guaranteeing, the continuous flow of creativity while maintaining quintessentially herself, the answer lies in a simple word: solitude. “I spend a lot of solo time, I really cherish it”.

As the interview comes to an end, I ask her to summarise her creative universe in three words: “fun, fantasy, and magic”.

by Zlata Kryudor