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‘Milliner to the stars’ opens showroom


November 18, 2008/1.04

Her handiwork has dazzled on the dance floor, won awards and is set to feature in Peter Jackson’s upcoming film The Lovely Bones. Such is the demand for her fancy hats and quirky fascinators that milliner Amy Jansen-Leen has opened her first atelier—Amy Jansen-Leen Millinery—in Te Aro, Wellington.
   With the race day season kicking off, her timing could not be better. Jansen-Leen is already busy filling orders for clients wanting head-turning headwear, and has created an exclusive capsule collection for fashion designer Andrea Moore.
   Her Mad Hatter Tea Party hat designed for Good Morning’s Sally-ann Moffat (above left) was a key part of the ensemble that won the supreme Fashion in the Field Award (2006) at the Wellington Cup.
   Jansen-Leen brings vast experience to her designs having worked in film, television and theatre in New Zealand, Australia and the UK as a costume decorator, costume props’ maker and milliner for more than eight years. Her credits include Dancing with the Stars, films Avatar, King Kong, River Queen and The Lovely Bones, as well as assisting the Royal New Zealand Ballet and New Zealand Opera. Most recently she was the costume coordinator for World of Wearable Art (WOW), which finished on October 6.
   Trust is an important part of the Amy Jansen-Leen millinery experience. She likes her customers to come to her with an outfit they want to accessorize and leave her to do the rest.
   ‘It’s best to leave it open, then I can create something beautiful and truly amazing that they are going to feel great in. The danger of having a fixed idea of a colour or shape is not being able to visualize it and then being surprised by what it looks like and it might not suit you. Leave that part to me,’ Jansen-Leen says.
   While she prides herself in providing bespoke designs that are truly unique, Jansen-Leen is also happy to rework and spruce up vintage designs, retrim an existing hat or replicate a favourite design. Fabrics and trims can also be dyed to match, and flowers made from scratch. An art-déco fan, she has a vast collection of vintage trims that she has collected over the years, and her headwear designs regularly top the ensembles of swing-dancing enthusiasts. Dancing swing is her other big passion. Jansen-Leen was Miss July for the Full Swing 2008 fundraiser vintage pin-up calendar for Wellington Free Ambulance.
   Her personalized millinery service includes a lesson on the best way to wear a hat. Important knowledge for looking your “hat best”, whether attending the races, a wedding or Art Déco Weekend.
   Jansen-Leen’s intimate salon at 19–25 Arthur Street is part-workroom, part-showroom, and visits are by appointment only. This is to ensure that customers receive the best attention, and that she also has time to dream up and craft her fabulous creations.

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Filed by Lucire staff

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