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Caroline Morris in her Kings Road millinery shop.

Caroline Morris in her Kings Road millinery shop.

Bespoke millinery meets extraordinary local art in Caroline Morris’s Silver Anniversary Show

After running her business for 25 years, St Leonards-based hat designer Caroline Morris is celebrating her anniversary with a ‘silver themed’ show, displaying local artwork alongside hats and headpieces in an iridescent display of all things ‘argenteus’ – meaning silvery, ornamental, and bright. Catherine Hills heads down to find out more.

A silver anniversary in any form is always a special affair, and local hat designer Caroline Morris is marking her 25 years in business in style with a very memorable event indeed. “The concept for my Argenteus show is to have a creative exchange between local artists and myself as a hat designer – it’s a somewhat unique concept,” Caroline explains.

Caroline is known for creating beautiful and unique hats, headpieces, hair accessories, and corsages for special occasions and weddings. Every item is hand-made and can take days or even weeks for her to craft, depending on the level of detail required. Her show runs until Saturday, 8 January 2022 and will feature millinery designs with plenty of silver ornamentation, including Swarovski crystals and lace. Opening times are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 11am–4pm, however out of hour viewings can be arranged by appointment.

Endymion sleeping, oil painting by Charlotte Snook

Endymion asleep, oil painting by Charlotte Snook

Image Katherine Reekie artist

© Katherine Reekie

Exciting highlights from the artists include a range of silver icons by Katherine Reekie (left), an oil painting by Charlotte Snook featuring Endymion Asleep (above), and two beautiful moonscapes by Emma Gunningham. Susan Elloitt has also created two small mosaics and there will be a range of textiles from Tricia Neve. Etchings by Oska Lappin are sure to delight and inspire, and Annie Rae will be showing two snow scenes of Mercatoria and Markwick Gardens. Two snow scenes by Agnes Chevalier will also be on display, which are are machine embroidered onto hand-painted silk with exceptional detail and depth of colour. Finally, there will be jewellery from new designer Olive and Stone, and other small and exquisite gifts.

“Argenteus is a mixed show of art and hats sitting side by side, with a carefully curated collection of paintings, mosaics, embroidered pictures, and textiles on display. You’ll notice a strong relationship between the art and the hat designs,” says Caroline. “I’ve only chosen artists from our local community with who I feel a strong connection with.”

Caroline has always taken inspiration from the arts, and as a result her work often pays homage to poets, writers, photographers, designers, and artists from both past and present. “My background is fashion design, and during my 4-year training at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London, I learned to do a lot of visual research,” she explains.

“Whether that’s studying the shape of antique lace motifs or recreating details from Salvador Dali’s jewellery collection for Cartier, I’ll often look to other artists and design a headpiece in response to their work. I don’t think a creative person can sit in their studio and work alone; it’s important to mix with other artists so you can take inspiration from their work and feed inspiration back to them in return.”

For most of her career, Caroline made her hats to order from her studio, but having a shop was always her dream and she’s now been working from her premises in Kings Road, St Leonards, for two and a half years. As well as hats, she has filled the space with select hand-painted silk shirts, hand-painted silk scarves, embroidered textiles, and jewellery designed by the very best talent from Hastings and St Leonards. She offers both ready-made and made-to-order services. Clients can make appointments at the shop.

“There’s a great wealth of artists here in Hastings and St Leonards, so I feel very privileged to have lived here for ten years. I’ve never really been a curator of art before, and these wonderful people allow me to show their work from my shop, which is so exciting. After all the adventures I’ve had through my career, I can now utilise this space to help other creatives. It’s so lovely when someone comes to my shop, falls in love with a piece of art on display, and buys it.”

The exhibition runs until Saturday 8 January. Opening hours are Thursday–Saturday 11am–4pm and by appointment.
Caroline Morris Millinery is near St Leonards Warrior Square station at 59 Kings Road, St Leonards on Sea, TN37 6DY (01424 444410). You can also visit her website at  or follow her on Instagram at CarolineMorrisMillinery.

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Posted 17:39 Wednesday, Nov 24, 2021 In: Hastings People

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