Our neighbourhood is known for art, craft and experts in their field and there’s no better example of this than local milliner Catherine Kelly.
Located in the historic York Building on Victoria Road in Rozelle, is Embellish Atelier. This French-inspired studio is filled to the brim (pun intended) with handcrafted hats, fascinators, headpieces and unique jewellery. International awardwinning milliner, Catherine Kelly is behind this creative enterprise. Catherine’s inspiration comes from her travels, and her studies in textiles, design and millinery. “Millinery is the perfect outlet for my passion for fabric, colour and texture” says Catherine.
Last month Catherine celebrated 30 years of teaching at Sydney Community College. She modestly said “I’ve taught more than 4,000 students. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a student making their own creation.” Catherine also holds 1:1 and group workshops where participants can make their own hat for raceday or enjoy a fun afternoon with friends making a new creation. Catherine has launched an education program with professional video tutorials called the Hatters Millinery School. During these times people can access the from anywhere in the world.
Catherine and her team regularly dress celebrities and a career highlight was working with Opera Australia making the Hats for the Ascot Scene in My Fair Lady. She has a love for collaborations and recently made all the headpieces for Australian fashion designer Camilla’s autumn campaign. However, working with clients is the core of her business, whether it’s a bride wanting a bespoke headpiece, or a local woman choosing the perfect fascinator for a day at the races.
This year, Catherine won first place in the winter category and a coveted Standard of Excellence Award at the Royal Easter Show – a testament to her outstanding work. Catherine and her team also operate Hatters Millinery Supplies which now offers over 2,000 product styles to its national and international customer base.
Catherine is the creator of Hattember®, celebrating and supporting the millinery industry through an annual Millinery and Bridal Headwear Competition. The 5th annual Hattember® has attracted more than 100 entries and raises funds for the John Skipper Kelly Fund (JSK). The Kelly family and their friends established the JSK Fund 10 years ago to honour the memory of John Kelly who died suddenly in an accident. “The foundation has supported more than 50 young people with educational opportunities that they wouldn’t have been able to afford.”