Jill Courtemanche Millinery


Moneygami Hat, it's a thing!

Charity, Collaborations, FashionJill CourtemancheComment
Jill with Leslie Gladstone from Angel's Foster Family Network as pictured in Giving Back Magazine

Jill with Leslie Gladstone from Angel's Foster Family Network as pictured in Giving Back Magazine

There really is nothing better than having someone arrive at your door with an envelope full of money and a request that you make them a hat, out of that money!

I look forward to making a "money hat" for the Gold Diggers Association every year for their annual Hats Off Luncheon in San Diego. In the past I have made flowers and butterflies out of the cash but this year I decided to use the money as the actual hat which made for a fun challenge. 

Scroll through the pictures below to see the process and all of the elements we used to make this moneygami piece as well as the finished product being modeled by a member of the Gold Diggers for the event.

This year I also had the pleasure of attending the event and judging the hats made by the different charities. It was amazing to see some of the showgirl style pieces that were made and even more fun to watch the models present them on the runway!

JCMillinery + YELP

Solana Beach, Collaborations, Horse RacingJill CourtemancheComment

Truth be told, I love hosting parties. The prep and the planning, the details and jushing, it's kind of a happy place for me. So when Yelp North County called and asked if I would like to collaborate with them on a special girls night out in my shop to celebrate the opening of the Del Mar Racetrack (otherwise know as the official start to hat season), I was totally in! 

First, we decided to break the event into two nights so we could create a more intimate setting and give each elite Yelper a chance to work with me and create a fun, feathered headband as a keepsake. Secondly, we called some of my favorite local vendors and asked them if they would like to join in the fun (which thankfully they did)! Last but not least, we called in a photographer to capture all the magic. 

Scroll through the pictures and see how we transformed the Solana Beach JCM shop and parking lot into a fabulous event space. I love how much fun all of these amazing women had playing dress up for the evening, and I think it is safe to say we all had a blast celebrating the racing season here in the Cedros Design District


A huge THANK YOU to our friends at Camera Camper for providing the most amazing photo booth experience ever, (I mean oh so SoCal and oh so fabulous), Lockwood Table for providing delectable nibbles for the evening, Bang Pop Shop for blowing my mind with the most couture cake pops ever (I mean those cake pops are wearing fascinators) and of course to the amazing team at Yelp for bringing the whole thing to life! 

The Money Hat

Collaborations, Solana Beach, CharityJill CourtemancheComment

For the past two years I have had the pleasure of creating what is known as "The Money Hat" for the annual Gold Diggers, Hats Off Luncheon here in San Diego.

This is a wonderful ladies hat luncheon where local nonprofits compete for grants by making hats which represent a yearly theme and their organization.

It's an all around hatty affair so as you can imagine it's right up my alley! 

For my part, the ladies of the Gold Diggers show up with a handful of cash, $500 to be exact and give me free rein to make any hat I wish using the cash as a trim! This hat is used as a door prize for the most fabulous spectator hat at the luncheon, (now that's a reason to get dressed up). It's such a fun project and one that gives me a chance to forget about function and just have fun with the design.

For last years hat, (pictured above) I made roses out of the cash and for this years hat (pictured below) I made butterflies out of $50 bills. 

Royal Ascot 2014

Royal Ascot, Collaborations, Horse RacingJill CourtemancheComment

Earlier this summer I had the pleasure of being invited to be a guest commentator on The Royal Hats Blog for their coverage of Royal Ascot 2014. It was so much fun to channel my inner Joan Rivers and be the voice of the American milliner!

Royal Ascot is an event where hats are the main topic (almost as much as the horse racing itself) and the Royal Family is no exception to the frenzy. They debut new hats each day and these styles help to set the trends in millinery for the next season.

Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, Princess of Jordan, Sheikha of Dubai on Day 3 of Royal Ascot

Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, Princess of Jordan, Sheikha of Dubai on Day 3 of Royal Ascot

If you are a millinery enthusiast like me you will enjoy reading through the links below and perusing the pictures of the Royal Family at their best. It is also really fun to see how our opinions varied on each hat and which ones we liked the best. I loved reading which hats British milliner Katie Vale loved that I cringed at!

Have a read and let me know what you think! xo j-co

Royal Ascot Day 1: The Monarchs

Royal Ascot Day 1: The British Royal Family

Ascot Day 1: The Extended British Royal Family

Ascot Day 2

Ascot Day 3: Ladies’ Day

Ascot Day 4

Ascot Day 5

Tying Up Royal Ascot

The Duchess of Cornwall on the first day of Royal Ascot

The Duchess of Cornwall on the first day of Royal Ascot

Ladies Day is the hot ticket bringing out the most over the top creations and the best of the week. It is such a delight for me to see such amazing fashion and enthusiasm for millinery in one place.

Here at JCM I have the pleasure of creating many hats for Ascot and it is one of my favorite events of the year to design for. Although I make hats for many horse races, Ascot is different in that it has strict dress code that needs to be adhered to for admittance and the event itself is all about the hat (thank you Britain)! That means I get to go all out and dress women in fantasy hats which really bring their outfits to life, and of course this is my favorite part of being a milliner!

Princess Beatrice on Day 5 of Royal Ascot

Princess Beatrice on Day 5 of Royal Ascot

A Glorious Collaboration

Collaborations, Solana BeachJill CourtemancheComment

"Lynnie's Lace" in process in her studio and the finished product in the shop.

One of the things I love the most about finally having a flagship store for Jill Courtemanche Millinery is that I get to meet the most fantastic people and chat with them about their lives and their passions. One of the fabulous women that I have been lucky enough to cross paths with is Lynnie Diede of Lucky To Be In Love.

Lynnie is an amazingly talented designer, painter and illustrator with a great sense of humor and real zest for life. Like me she is completely willing to jump in head first so I knew we were going to come up with something glorious when she agreed to collaborate with me on a limited edition collection of hand-made and hand-painted Panama hats.

My daughter Tabitha and Lynnie's son Holden chillin' at the park.

My daughter Tabitha and Lynnie's son Holden chillin' at the park.

If you know me, you know I am obsessed with leopard print (it's a total neutral). So for our first hat I asked Lynnie to create the perfect leopard print on a rich caramel straw and she totally nailed it! The print is so amazing that all I needed to trim it with was a flexible wire and a wide black grosgrain binding from France. The over-sized 8" brim is the most glorious beach hat and the perfect accessory for a black bikini and the 5" brim is my new daily go to chapeau.

For the next hat in the collection, Lynnie recreated one of her delicate lace patterns on a very finely woven Panama straw and the result is breathtaking. So simple and beautiful, I decided to finish it off with a simple black grosgrain ribbon from France, it's truly the perfect hat for a little black dress this summer.

I am so excited about these hats and I am so thrilled that I was able to work with such a talented artist to create them! All of the hats in the collection are signed and numbered and these designs will only be around for this season, so don't miss out!

xo j-co