Casey Bush founder of the Headwear Information Bureau (HIB) at the Milli Award Contest at the Fashion Center in NYC Vicky Gamez and Casey Bush of MIB at the Fashion Center
Milli hat entry from Beth Alden Millinery Beth Alden Millinery
Lisa Battaglia Milli Entry hat

The 2006 MILLI DESIGNER OF THE YEAR AWARDS were announced last week by Casey Bush, Executive Director of the MIB. The awards honor great creativity and great headwear designers in both men and women’s categories.

The five categories are: Out of This World, Daytime, Casual, Church Hats, and Men’s Headwear. The jury of New York fashion and trade press, store buyers, TV and newspaper editors voted at the Fashion Center in New York City on March 24th. (Yours truly was a judge).

The 14th annual Milli Awards will be given out at an MIB charity benefit this April during Straw Hat Month. The “Out Of This World” winner was awarded to Yuka Hasegawa for a dramatic rough edged crochet natural straw portrait hat with a scalloped brim, adorned with a hand dyed silk flower.

Eric Javits came closed with an orange straw and fabric sun-protector floppy hat with orange, white, turquoise, pink and white embroidery. For Daytime hat the judges honored Orit Parente for a summer cloche made of fine Swiss horse hair with raisin and turquoise silk poppy flower and draped ribbon. Naftali of Canada won for a blue vintage parasisal hat with a hand sewn beaded ribbon. The Casual hat category winner is Lisa Battaglia Millinery, for a panama hat with oversized brim adorned with gold and metallic ribbon. Louise Green won for a straw cowboy hat with hand- painted leaves on a zebra printed crown and underbrim.

The Church Hat Award was given to Ann Albrizio for a white embroidered cloche with a tulle embroidered flower on the side. Runner up is Ophelie Hats from Canada, a great straw pink cloche adorned with flower.

Men’s Milli Award to Christy Hats a Division of the Dorfman Pacific Co. for a panama fedora with brown band. Cubano runner up by Winslow and Ellsworth, came close with a parasisal straw fedora with striped polka-dot band.

According to the MIB estimated retail hat sales for 2005 are $978.6 million. Sales have been increasing 5-10% a year since 1990.

Yuka, hat designer with Diane Feen, Hat life hat lady and Cathy Pagano (wearing a Milli hat) at the Fashion Center in NYC
Milli Award Winning Hat from Yuka Design

Natural colored crochet straw with scallop edged and hand dyed silk flower.

Hats make drama, said Yuka, “this is my magic hat.”

Yuka design
888 8th Ave 17J
NY,NY 10019
[email protected]
Photographer: Mark Lee Blackshear

Cathy Pagano wearing a Milli entry