by India de Beaufort
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What ever happened to the hat?
THE HAT is more than missing from our generation. Sported, tipped or shed, there was once a time when a hat could speak a thousand words and now, we barely even speak the same language. In a world of LOL's and OMG's, have we gained so much fashion freedom, that we've forgotten how to dress? Milliner Montez Murphy hopes otherwise. And so do I.
This is MONTEZ MURPHY. Montez owns THE MILLINERY GUILD on Beverly Blvd in Los Angeles. Montez is a real character. I met her in the LA fashion district while stalking stylish folk for my blog, and before I even knew her name, she had invited me to shoot her store. Gosh am I glad that I did. There are times in your life when you meet truly special, unique people, and Montez is one of them. She is an artist. Gentle and passionate, her hats tell her story, and she's more than willing to share a few gems herself.

As I snapped my way around the store, one particular piece caught my attention. A purple hat in the shape of a 20's haircut. Montez told me she had made the hat after she lost her hair to cancer. A cancer that eventually lead to a heart transplant, as a result of chemotherapy. To see her today, a force to be reckoned with, you get a sense of the kind of woman she is. I can't see this fire cracker taking anything lying down, especially not the big C.

Montez has the patience of a saint. Answering all my questions, explaining her methods, showing me her work space and letting me rearrange her displays. She gives me artistic freedom, nothing is off limits, and she humors my need to try on EVERYTHING. At one point she asked me if I new Mondo. Anyone who watches project runway knows exactly who that is. It turns out that Mondo and Montez go back a long way, he is a regular customer, but more so, a friend. That's just who Montez is. She's magnetic. Creative people are drawn to her, and she is perfectly happy to give them her time.

The Millinery Guild
7767 Beverly Blvd . Los Angeles . CA . 90036
Tel: 213 985 4784
[email protected]

The Millinery Guild has all the makings of an art gallery. Clean lines and pure walls. The hats, mostly created by Montez herself, some by HOUSE OF NINES, are artfully displayed and reasonably priced between $80 and $150 dollars, which is especially delicious when you discover they've been worn by the likes of Viola Davis and Dita Von Teese. Montez also offers a custom service for the more particular patron.

The hat truly offers something no other piece of clothing can. Communication. Tossed in joy, shed in respect, or simply just tilted as a charming hello, the hat was a form of social connection long before the days of Twitter or Facebook. In a time where social graces are fading fast, I say we make strides to bring back the hat,
and hopefully the everyday pleasantries the hat once stood for, will follow closely behind.