Claire Hahn is well known in the Fashions on the Field Circuit, and not just for her own sense of swanky style.

A self taught milliner, Claire Hahn Millinery can be seen rocking catwalks across New Zealand, Australia and beyond. With many client sashes under her belt, including two out of the last three NZ National Prix De Fashion FOTF winners boasting a Claire Hahn Millinery piece, Claire really has a knack for designing the perfect hat to finish off an outfit and complement the wearer’s face.

Claire Hahn NZ National Prix De Fashion FOTF winners

She is a top rated milliner on Millinery Market with ladies swooning over her unique freeform designs and fun, bright colour choices.

Claire Hahn yellow and black dress new zealand

One look at her Instagram @clairehahnnz and there’s no denying Claire’s stand out style that she describes as ‘just a little bit more extra, fashion forward and not overly predictable’.

Leading into Spring Carnival, Claire gives us an insight into what she thinks will be trending in millinery, tips on what makes a great FOTF outfit and her life as a milliner.

Claire has also been kind enough to donate a prize for anyone who hires or purchases a hat from Millinery Market from now until the end of September going in the draw to win a custom or ready made hat to the value of $250.

How long have you been a milliner for and where did you learn millinery?

I have been making millinery for around six years. My journey into millinery really came from a place of slight desperation! I had unwittingly found myself in a position of being regarded as a racewear influencer (at a time before influencers were even a thing).

At the time there were few options available in New Zealand for dynamic modern millinery at a price point I could afford. I have an indepth background in mainline fashion but I am completely self taught in terms of my millinery technique. I mostly favour towards untraditional techniques but I think this offers my brand a fresh and individual aesthetic.

claire hahn floral colourful headband black headpiece with pearls

What do you love most about being a milliner?

I still pinch myself that I am able to be a full time milliner. It’s such a blessing to wake up every morning and do something I am so passionate about. What I love most though, is working with amazing clients and helping them to look and feel amazing in their headpiece. Empowering other women to feel their best brings me a lot of joy and job satisfaction.

claire hahn black swirl percher headpiece

What are your top millinery trend predictions for this spring?

This Spring we will see a lot of rear facing and lower profile styles in terms of millinery. I predict a shift back towards a percher style but they are light and airy rather than heavy geometric styles seen over the years. I am not heavily sold on trends- I think the most successful styles of millinery are those that are perfectly suited to the wearer’s outfit and face shape.

2019 top millinery trends rear facing black hat

2019 rear facing black and white hats

What is your favourite shape of millinery to make?

My favourite shape of millinery to make is anything freeform.  I think my greatest strength as a designer is shape and proportion.

claire hahn millinery freeform fascinator red quills blue bows

What is your favourite fabric to work with?

My favourite fabric to work with is anything unconventional. I find myself in the strangest of places playing with materials of all genres and seeing how they react to being shaped and folded.  Because I am self taught, I have a tendency to look at fabric and materials with an open and creative mind.

What do you think makes a great FOTF outfit?

I have always been of the opinion that the best FOTF outfits are those that offer a fresh perspective and unique approach to personal style.

I think it’s not about embracing a trend but being one step ahead of it. I am not a fan of formula dressing-  those outfits that are put together to appeal to the judges rather than being racewear with personality.

It’s not enough just to wear a pretty midi, with a pretty hat; FOTF is in a place where you need clever styling and a little risk to stand out. Nobody ever wins big by playing it safe. Ultimately though, I think the most successful outfits have one thing in common- a sense of effortlessness.

day at the races racewear style

What is your favourite piece of millinery you’ve made to date and why?

My favourite piece of millinery always seems to be the one coming next! I am strongly focused on innovation, it keeps me excited and creativity fulfilled in my job.