I am obsessed with Belbeina Lee. Everything she makes is stunning, whether it’s an original design or a piece inspired by a true vintage item; they both generate the same effect, which is me falling in love and adding yet another fabulous hat to my wishlist. Since it’s been a crappy year I recently decided to treat myself to two brand spanking new Belbeina Lee pieces, and my goodness, they more than live up to my expectations, just as they always do.
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.
I have incredibly low patience as a person. When I go shopping I prefer to go alone so that I can walk fast, duck in and out of shops quickly without having to wait for the person I’m shopping with, and leave as soon as I’ve got what I need. It is no surprise, then, that I’ve never got the hang of vintage shopping. I live in a tiny village tucked away in the English countryside, so shopping for vintage in person would mean driving all the way out to larger towns I’m not super familiar with, and thus, journeys that would fill me with anxiety. Add in the fact that my size means finding good quality vintage clothing in my size and within my budget is unlikely and that effort just doesn’t seem worth it.
Vintage accessories, at least, are something I could likely have more success with, but once you consider that low patience level, the potential high travel anxiety level, and my overall lack of true vintage knowledge, once more the trips just don’t seem worth it. Searching out accessories online at least eliminates one of those factors, but still, it takes a lot of time and more than some savvy to find what you need or want in the pages and pages and pages of vaguely related results produced from every search term. This, folks, is why I am so ecstatically pleased that I stumbled upon Belbeina Lee a few months back. Never again do I need to search, research, ponder, wonder or worry–Katie can handmake items just as beautiful and high quality as true vintage, but with no effort required on my part. Literally, take my money!
For a vintage-clothing loving girl, I’m actually woefully ignorant of, well, many aspects of vintage clothing. I don’t know the correct terms for most of the design features of the clothing I so greatly admire from past eras, let alone details of fabric type or authenticity when it comes to inspecting possible true vintage pieces. That means sometimes when I’m watching a period film or TV series I can spot a dress style or accessory piece I desperately covet but I can’t figure out what to search for online to even begin the process of tracking down a repro version I can purchase myself. Continue reading