I must say Fiona Bennett sounds like a Jane
Austen heroine. Somewhat incongruous one might say to find a milliner in the
edgier part of Berlin, the Mitte. However, her style and her work is so unique
and full of personality that, of course, this is just how the Mitte and Berlin
surprises and delights you.
I have to confess that the first thought I
had when it came to whether to come to Berlin or not, was the opportunity it
would give me to visit that lovely hat shop I’d visited on my first and only
fleeting visit to Berlin in 2006.
I’d picked up and tried on a delightful red felt hat. I felt like Little Red
Riding Hood. I loved it but it was expensive and always regretted not buying
So, last week I planned my trip, only to discover that the shop had now become a Salon and was by appointment only. I suppose one would do the Austen translation to a drawing room. I knew my time would be tight, but this was given the highest priority and so yesterday I snuck out, thankfully my friend Cathrin, covered for me.
Bennett is British-born but definitely a lady of Berlin. A fine craftswoman. As you know from my previous millinery-related posts I have a passion for those most impractical and ephemeral objects. The one I bought however, was practical because you could roll it up and put it in your handbag. The same red as the velvet seats you can see.. a soft dusty pink/crimson.
I feel restrained at times by the 'green' movement and see myself equally in this world of finely crafted pieces that one prizes and consequently respects the resources and effort that goes into this.
Bennett is extremely well established on the luxury tour of Berlin and produces for many celebrities. I asked about the material of my hat; it's a rabbit felt; presumably angora, but not fur - it was so soft I thought it might be but it's really the wool. She said that many of her clients are vegan or eco and therefore want to make sure it's not fur.
There is new a new range called Kiss coming our way - more of a diffusion line. I couldn't resist trying on the rather sixties helmet-style in a chucky knit and pom-poms. I wished I lived in Berlin where I would feel not too over-dressed wearing such a wonderful creation on a freezing cold day.