There is a warning posted on the side of a large red brick building about the unevenness of the cobblestone that graces the laneways of Toronto’s Historic Distillery District. Recognized as a National Historic Site, the Toronto Star suggests that on entering the District one enters a world of “horse-drawn carts, windmills and sailing ships”. (http://www.thedistillerydistrict.com/about-us.html)
And in this historic district, there is a little shop that you might like to visit one day. At Red Scarf Equestrian Lifestyle Inc. we are always on the lookout for new quality brands to join our family of fashion and lifestyle products that find ways to combine beauty and quality. We stumbled upon a little shop in the Distillery District and are pleased here to make the introduction.
Beside the door outside the shop hangs a sign in the shape of a black top hat with the words “The Saucy Milliner” below it. The sign is hung so that it can give way to the breeze, the aged red brick of the building making the top hat look quite at home.
You might wonder at the name. To be “saucy” is, in one of its meanings, to be “bold and lively; smart looking”. And that would seem to be the meaning intended here. To be a “milliner”, of course, is to be a “maker or seller of women’s hats.” Although, men’s headwear is offered in the shop as well.
Upon entering this small shop on Case Goods Lane, you feel as though you have stepped back in time. It is a small shop, but seems one that has a large heart, and an equal insistence on perfection.
It belongs in many ways as much to yesterday as it does to today. The shop is full of hand crafted hats. All sizes.
On meeting the Saucy Milliner, Kelly Dunlap, herself, you get the feeling that a great deal of love and thought is invested in each hat. Each one has to be just right, care crafted into each hat that enables them to embrace perfection.
The majority of the Milliner’s wares wait patiently, resting on hat racks around the store, for just the right wearer. Yet, some are especially crafted for specific individuals. The beauty of the hats which the Saucy Milliner, Kelly Dunlap, has produced, has found appreciation in many different places. Canada’s First Lady, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, for example, has worn one of Ms Dunlap’s hats. Below is the letter of appreciation which Ms Dunlap received from Sophie Grégoire Trudeau.
In the end, it seems, the crafting of a beautiful hat is, in one respect, an expression of not only artistic creativity, but also of love: a love of fashion, of beauty, perhaps even of life itself. On the wearer side too, the donning of a hat is a special event. It is a celebration of colour and beauty. There is something special in wearing a hat.... wearing a hat is in a way an act of boldness itself... it is to be saucy... to be “bold and lively”. It declares that this day, this moment, is beautiful and wonderful enough to be celebrated by the addition of something that is not by the weather, or even by social convention, necessary. The wearing of a beautiful hat is a statement of going beyond the necessary to embrace beauty, the moment, life itself, for its own sake.
The wearing of a hat declares that the wearer herself is something to be celebrated ... The wearing of a hat declares that what might appear as an ordinary day, can, in fact, be discovered, perhaps re-discovered, so that its inner beauty is revealed.
The wearing of a hat declares that the wearer herself is something to be celebrated, and, in an interesting way, the hat also celebrates the observer, for the beauty of the hat needs the observer in order for the celebration to be complete. The wearing of a hat declares that what might appear as an ordinary day, can, in fact, be discovered, perhaps re-discovered, so that its inner beauty is revealed.