The Spring Racing season has generated an extra stylish and sartorial atmosphere that has graced our local city. With the Melbourne Cup Carnival days inked into many diaries, Melbournians are now on the hunt for that perfect statement headpiece to complete their outfits.

Well look no further. 

An artisan of millinery fashion, Brett Morley creates stunningly unique and elegant headpieces that are set to stand out and captivate any crowd.

Based in Melbourne, Brett began his career in hairdressing more than 20 years ago and progressed naturally into millinery in 2003. His designs encapsulates femininity with an edge, featuring innovative shapes and forms adorned with intricate and elaborate detail, and are inspiring to the fashion-forward eye.

Couturing delved into the concepts and mind of Brett, and spoke to the talented artist about his designs, the races and working as a designer.

DANIELLE: Your designs are amazing! What keeps you inspired and what are your first steps to designing your pieces? 

BRETT: Thank you. The first steps are sourcing textiles and fabrics, keeping in mind texture and colour. I don’t do any designs on paper, I just play around with what’s before me until something comes to me…it all evolves very organically. I tend to draw inspiration from botanics, architecture and fashions of yesteryear.


DANIELLE:  There is so much detail incorporated within your creations, how long roughly does each design take to construct?

BRETT:  Initially, individual components are constructed, but the process of all of them coming together can take up to 3 months per piece. I can have anything up to 5 – 6 pieces on the go at any one time. With some pieces actually never coming to fruition.


DANIELLE: What made you decide to pursue headpieces after hairdressing? Have you always admired them? 

BRETT: Yes, I have always admired headwear, and I see it as an extension of what I already do. Hair still needs to be dressed when one wears a headpiece.


DANIELLE: Are you designing for a particular personality and how might she be described? 

BRETT: No, not especially. I never dictate what’s in and what’s out. I design what I deem appropriate at the time.


DANIELLE: What fabrics are you using and what factors do you consider when choosing new textiles? 

BRETT: Examples of fabrics I use are guipure lace, feathers, straws, recycled vintage bridal components, occasional beading, etc. Whatever takes my fancy, really. If I see something I like, I’m drawn to it and I run with it.


DANIELLE: What tips do you have for race goers this season by way of coordinating their outfits?

BRETT: Be yourself. Don’t try to be something you’re not. One must be completely comfortable for the duration of the day. And remember – once that hat is on, it can’t come off until you’re home!


DANIELLE: Do you have any advice for up and coming designers or people establishing their careers?

BRETT: I thrived on being taught the traditional methods of hat making, but I feel I really came into my own when I developed my own techniques. I now enjoy fusing the two; Everyone should learn the basics first before developing their own style.


DANIELLE: In what ways do you think your design style has changed throughout your collections? 

BRETT: I’ve learned that attention to detail is paramount in this business. I always want to better my last collection. I push myself, and that sort of pressure drives me.


DANIELLE: How do you see your brand evolving in the next decade? 

BRETT: No one can see into the future, but I enjoy designing women’s headwear for now. I live in the now.


Thank you to Brett for sharing his thoughts and inspiration especially to fashionistas of the up and coming racing scene!

Brett Morley Millinery 2012 Spring/Summer collection is available online at or you can LIKE the Brett morley facebook page here:

About The Author


Danielle has recently made the move from New Zealand to Melbourne for a change of scenery and more opportunities. Recently completing a bachelor of design majoring in textiles she love fabrics and textures and for as far as she can remember has always been fascinated by fashion. She also has a love for writing and wants to continue this passion with couturing working within the fashion industry, while gaining Australian experience. Danielle is excited to start exploring her career and hopes there are many adventures close by.

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