MILLINER Cynthia Jones-Bryson admits that she is still in shock after winning the coveted Crown Oaks Day Millinery Award at Flemington.
The award-winning headpiece entitled “Fireworks” features intricate feather work shaped into three spheres. Thousands of gold beads were stuck to the tip of each part of the feather to give a sparkling effect.
“I was inspired by this year’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display in Sydney,” she says.
“I thought as I watched the fireworks: ‘That would make a great hat!’ From there, I started sketching then spent 100 hours creating it. Because it is made from feathers is it soft and not heavy to wear.”
The country’s top milliners are invited to enter the annual competition. Following a catwalk presentation of the hats, a panel of judges awarded the top 10 hats and invited the milliners to accompany their models to the stage. Cynthia’s entry was modelled by Alice Anderson.
“They announced the third, second and then the first prize. I couldn’t believe it when they called my name!” says Cynthia.
“One of the judges was the esteemed UK milliner, Stephen Jones. It was an absolute thrill to have him see my work.”
A CIT fashion design graduate, Cynthia says that her interest in millinery started 15 years ago when she lived in London and worked for a theatrical milliner.
On her return to Canberra, she started her own business, which she now runs out of her studio in Jerrabomberra. Dame Quentin Bryce was a client during her time as Governor-General.
Cynthia’s prize includes flights to London, and she hopes to tie it in with a trip to Ascot or the Dubai races, as well as a workshop in Ireland. Cynthia also plans to create a few “mini versions” of her stand-out “Fireworks” design.