I often ruminate that millinery is one of those art forms that people (wrongly) think must be a lot easier than it really is. The skill required to craft a hat, fascinator or cap that looks perfect in its beauty and lasts well is immense, which is why I’m continually grateful for the day that I discovered Belbeina Lee. A one-woman business, it functions solely through the love, skill and craftsmanship of designer and maker Katie, a New Zealander mum who, as far as I’m concerned, is incapable of producing anything other than the most beautiful headpieces of the highest quality. Today, I’m thrilled to share with you one of her more recent pieces, the Ella Leaf Cap.
Hat: Ella leaf cap handmade by Belbeina Lee
Dress: Finella-Lee dress previously gifted by Miss Candyfloss
Cardigan: Kelly Green cropped cardigan by MAK Sweater (Affiliate code yemak-amymay for 40% off)
I would be fascinated to hear Katie’s story of how she decided to begin creating as Belbeina Lee but even more so her history of how she learned to make such wonderful headpieces. I recently ordered a handmade infinity hat from a different, UK-based seller on Etsy and it was such poor quality I had to return it; that experience has only reiterated to me what a wonderful job Katie does with her pieces, and what hard work and minute attention to detail must go into the construction of her products.
This Ella Leaf Cap is a piece Katie created based on a vintage hat she spotted being worn by fellow New Zealand pinup darling Miss Victory Violet. Katie’s version has slightly different dimensions and foregoes the feather that is part of Ella’s vintage hat, but her ability to masterfully reproduce such a stunning vintage piece is a testament to her skill and passion for her art form. Every time I see one of her pieces pop up on my social media feeds I’m immediately drawn into appreciation. As such, it should be no surprise to learn that while this is my third headpiece from Katie, I still have a wishlist several items long of other designs and colours that I’d love to add to my collection.
The Ella cap is made of soft velvet ribbons lovingly stitched into place upon a wired base to create the leaf-like folds and shape. The full wiring of the piecemeans it can be moulded to perfectly sit upon your head just the way you want it for the best placement for your hairdo and the most secure fit. The underside of the piece features a lovely purple, blue and green floral print fabric, Belbeina Lee’s branded label hand stitched in place, and two totally secure small metal combs.
Katie takes orders via private message through her Instagram and Facebook accounts, and is always quick to reply and to give any necessary quotes. All of her designs can be ordered in any of the ever-increasing coloured ribbons she keeps in stock, and she even takes custom orders if you have an idea in mind to make your piece just that little bit more special.
Due to the current state of affairs with Covid-19, at present Katie is only able to take local orders while New Zealand is in lockdown, understandably. International orders will be able to resume once the lockdown is over, but in this difficult time I want to highlight as many small businesses as I can in the hopes that those who can afford to support them will do so and, hopefully, help them carry their businesses out the other side of all this turbulance. I know that as soon as I’m able to place an order with Katie I’ll be doing so (hmm, olive green Large Leaf Cap or a black Sofia?) and will be, I’m 100% certain, absolutely thrilled with the stunning piece I’ll receive.
Disclaimer: The dress used as part of this outfit was previously gifted to my by Miss Candyfloss in exchange for an honest review. The use of my MAK affiliate code will generate me a small commission from your order. All opinions expressed are truthful and my own, with no input from any of the companies listed or any other individuals.
COVID-19 NOTE: These pictures were taken in the safety of my garden, thus abiding by the strict social distancing rules currently in place to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. Please stay home, and when necessary to leave the house for work or necessities remember to keep at least 6 ft away from any persons you may encounter.