Jill Courtemanche Millinery

hats

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! 

Behind the Scenes with KPBS

Solana Beach, PressJill CourtemancheComment

If you have spent 5 minutes chatting with me in the shop, you know I love nothing more than to talk about millinery, it's place in fashion and how passionate I am about being able to do something I love. So you can only imagine how excited I was when the lovely Maya Trabulsi, a reporter for KPBS called me and asked if she could do a story about me and my shop (the answer of course is that I was over the moon)!

Maya had lived in London and developed her own fascination with hats so it was really fun for me to spend time with someone who walked in the door, armed with a vast knowledge and appreciation for the craft. We spent the morning chatting about hats, how they are made, my background and what brought me to millinery. One of the most fun parts for me was personifying all of the noises that go on in my studio on a daily basis since they were not just shooting footage but recording for the radio as well, (seriously cool)!

The original piece aired back in July right before Opening Day at Del Mar Racetrack but it is re-airing nationally this Saturday, September 12th on PBS's Spectrum (check you local listings for the channel and air time). Better yet you can view it on-line here but if you do that you miss the amazing teaser that Maya put together which was my favorite part of the piece!

This was such a memorable experience for me. I have done tv before but it has always been live, in studio news segments. This was the first time I had the opportunity to sit down and watch it as a spectator with my family and friends. It truly has been a milestone for me and my career and as always I am thrilled to have a platform to educate people on how amazing millinery is and what it means to me as an artist!

Update: On June 11, 2016, Maya Trabulsi won an Emmy Award for her work this piece, congratulation Maya!

Here are a few behind the scenes pictures from the shoot:

KPBS00013.JPG

San Diego Polo

Polo, Solana Beach, FashionJill CourtemancheComment

Polo is one of my favorite outdoor events of the season and I am so excited to once again be partnering with the San Diego Polo Club for some fun events!

Jill Courtemanche Millinery will be doing a series of three Pop-Up Shops this summer at the SD Polo fields and the first one is this Sunday, June 28th from 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm! We would love to have you join us as our guest and we are giving away free General Admission tickets (while supplies last). Simply call us at 858.876.6353 or shoot us an email and we will give you all the info!

Not sure what to wear to a day of polo? Check out Zen Fashionista, Sonya Berg's guest post on the SD Polo Blog for the scoop or better yet, hunker down with some popcorn and re-watch the polo scene from Pretty Woman (that's what I would do)!

Additional Pop-Up Shop Dates for SD Polo are July 5th & August 30th, I hope to see you there!

Adventures in Louisville

Travel, Horse Racing, FashionJill CourtemancheComment

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of traveling to Louisville, Kentucky to showcase my hats at some pre-Kentucky Derby shopping events. This was my first time in Louisville and I can tell you, this is one charming city!

Much to my dismay it was snowing when I arrived and when I drove into town I was surprised to find it deserted. Wondering what I had gotten myself into, I headed to the recently opened hotel bar, Eight Up for diner and found the snowy night had brought out the best of southern hospitality. In between the delicious lamb bolognese and chatting with the locals I learned the first of 3 amazing things about Louisville, they know how to make a cocktail. My standard cocktail is a French martini and it usually requires some back and forth with a bartender but these guys nailed it, and it looked as great as it tasted.

              Gallopalooza - horse themed street art

              Gallopalooza - horse themed street art

From there I had some free time so I headed over to NuLu, an arts district filled with galleries, small shops and cafes. This is where I learned the second amazing thing about Louisville, they play great music. I am not sure if it was because they needed a boost to get them through the storm or that's just how they roll but every place I went was playing great music and always just a touch too loud so you could really feel it. A few places I would recommend checking out: Please & Thank You, Scout and The Green Building.

My last stop was at a great antique market down the road, Crazy Daisy. I found some amazing vintage iron shoe lasts which I bought to repurpose as display fixtures in the shop.

                      The French Martini at Eight Up

                      The French Martini at Eight Up

The next morning I was up bright and early to do a segment on WHAS for Great Day Live all about hat trends and what's hot for Derby Season. It was so much fun and once again everyone was so lovely! You can watch the segment here.

While I was there I couldn't resist popping one of my hats on their Gallopalooza horse. I am a sucker for street art, and these fantastic horses were all over the city. Their bright colors and bold designs definitely stood out against the snowy backdrop and gave the city some much needed spring color.

That evening I was delighted to be a vendor at the Wine, Women and Shoes event at The Henry Clay benefiting Family Scholar House. Everyone was dressed to the nines, incredibly charming and clearly out to have a good time. It was a great evening for a great cause and I am so happy they invited me to be a part of it!

On Sunday I did a trunk show with the amazing ladies at Clodhoppers. I couldn't believe it when I found out that Louisville does not have a major department store, this seemed impossible to me but I quickly came to realize that with stores like Clodhoppers, they don't need one. This boutique is filled with great designers like Milly, Alice & Olivia and Mara Hoffman and the ladies really know their stuff. It was really fun to watch them style clients in great looks for Derby and then turn them over to me to create a custom hat to match. I am thrilled to be working with these ladies and thrilled that they will be carrying my hats and fascinators through derby season.

That night was my only night to really go out for a proper diner and the foodie in me had been asking everyone for the two days prior what they thought the best restaurant in town was. The name that kept coming up was Jack Fry's and I can tell you, I was not disappointed. In spite of the crowd, I was lucky to snag a seat at the bar and it was here that I learned the third amazing thing about Louisville, the people are beyond gracious. I shared some great conversation, food and more amazing cocktails with groups of total strangers who love their city. It was a super fun way to end my trip and if you ever find yourself at that bar, the shrimp and grits is heaven.

Fall in Paris

TravelJill CourtemancheComment

Paris is hands down one of my favorite cities! There is nothing like drinking in the food, fashion and culture first hand. I have been lucky enough to spend a fair amount time here over the years and the city holds some of my greatest memories (I got engaged here, it doesn't get better than that). This time around I had the pleasure of making the trip with one of my best friends and fellow milliners Cassie MacGregor from The House of MacGregor in Dallas, Texas.

One of the things that makes a JCM hat a cut above is that I work hard to source the best materials and one of the best places to buy those materials is Paris. There are still many ateliers where gorgeous silk flowers are being made by hand, entire shops dedicated to selling gorgeous ribbons woven in France and basement studios where one can find rabbit fur felt in the most divine, saturated colors. Everything is so beautiful, the colors and textures so rich and the added bonus of working one on one with the women who bring it all to life, it's just such a treat!

On this trip I focused on shopping for an array of beautiful straws and one of a kind trims to make hats for the Kentucky Derby and Opening Day at Del Mar. I filled the coffers with the most gorgeous flowers and feather trims to create stand out hats and to give clients shopping for custom creations an endless selection of options to choose from.

Wander through the pictures below to see some of the treasures I brought home as well at some of the artisans at work creating their beautiful pieces. It was an incredible, fun filled and inspiring trip and one that is sure to have a large impression on the spring / summer collection!

Don't worry, there is more to come on my trip to Paris! In my next post I will share some of my favorite places to eat and shop, because let's face it all work and no play, is no way to spend your time in Paris. xo j-co