Milliner Anél Heyman. Image by Courtney Martin.
Anél Heyman launched her elegant eponymous millinery label in 2011 and her atelier is based in Palmerston North. Anél is a talented milliner who creates beautiful ready-to-wear headwear and chic bespoke pieces that are all carefully designed to be timeless and last many seasons. Anél Heyman Millinery will be featuring on the runway next month in Jacqueline Anne’s solo show at New Zealand Fashion Week 2021.
We caught up with Anél to find out more about her brand, what inspires her and what you would never catch her wearing!
Tell us about your latest collection?
I don’t normally offer collections, but occasionally I would decide to create one. I’m currently working on a collection called ‘Feathering’. This collection stems from my recent winning piece I created called Theia. When I started working on this piece, I sketched a number of pieces to help me make a decision on the one I wanted to bring to life. After the competition I decided to take all those sketches and turn them into actual pieces, so that is what I’m working on at the moment. These works of art will be revealed at New Zealand Fashion Week in August which I’m really excited about!
What made you become a designer?
I’ve always been a creative soul and am at my happiest when I can design and create. Both my parents are very creative people and I guess a lot of my drive came from them. When I started learning millinery, I was instantly hooked, and I absolutely fell in love with it from day one.
It’s a really exciting feeling when I have an idea in my mind, and I am able to take it and bring it to life with my own two hands. And it is also so rewarding when a client tries on a custom-made piece for the first time and their face lights up with joy and pure delight!
What inspires you?
Nature, architecture, unusual fabrics or materials, texture and people.
Millinery by Anél Heyman.
Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
I love to feel comfortable yet stylish in what I wear. I don’t like anything over the top and prefer classic and simplistic styles. I love adding pops of colour to my outfits with scarves or jewellery and I’m a big fan of wearing a statement ring. I’m always hunting for my next one whenever there is an opportunity.
How does my personal style influence my designs? I always try to imagine what kind of hat or headpiece would best work with the outfit I’m wearing. It could even be a piece I have not yet made and would then often go to my workroom and grab a few materials and fabrics, stand in front of the mirror, fold and scrunch the fabric to create a rough shape and dream up my next piece!
What is your all-time favourite purchase?
My Mi Piaci black loafers with silver zip detail. I bought them a few years ago and wear them all year round, winter or summer. They just work with everything and I can dress them up or down, and they make great shoes to travel with.
What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
A hat! I think hats always gives the wearer a very personal expression of style and feeling. There is something really special about them. Find a style that suits you and makes you feel amazing. Have at least one hat for summer and one for winter that you can dress up or down and, choose good quality as it will last for many years if you look after it. If you are unsure about colour, choose something that will go with most things in your wardrobe.
Do you have a style rule you always obey?
Be yourself. Wear what makes you feel comfortable and beautiful. Everyone should have their own style and own it.
Millinery by Anél Heyman.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
There has been many throughout my career. I can still remember how I felt creating my very first hat, which was a real highlight for me. Being recognised in the industry with a Hatty Award in 2012 as an up-and-coming milliner and winning the HATalk international hat making competition both in 2015 and in 2021 were amazing highlights. Alongside that being invited to show with designer Jacqueline Anne at New Zealand Fashion Week this August is a dream come true!
Being able to travel to Australia, France, the UK, as well as within New Zealand to attend millinery workshops and learn from master milliners has been and will always be a highlight for me. I am so grateful that there are opportunities for me to learn from people who have been in the industry for a very long time and that I can continue with those artisan techniques and help keep them alive for the next generation.
What can’t you live without?
My husband Stephan, our bull-terrier Mimi, and my family and friends.
Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
Pyjamas to go shopping!!