“Hi, everyone. My name is Dianne Isbell and I am Hats by Dianne,” said Dianne during a recent filming. She’s so excited to be a “featured milliner for the Kentucky Derby Museum. It’s just a wonderful thrill… to have my hats in the shop.”
Being able to sell hats there is the ultimate achievement for bespoke hat makers and only five of them make it on the shelves each year, the best of the best if I may. If your hats are being sold there, or even considered, you’ve made it. From her first hat ever made to today, she talks about her road to success.
Diane started with, “How did I start in the first place? Gee Wiz! I worked for a long time for the Federal Government, retired as a civilian in 2000 and then I started teaching etiquette classes to young girls. Of course you have to be dressed up to do that, so I went out and found these prom dresses with sleeves, bustled them up, got them bows, gloves and purses. And then I made these Victorian type hats. Low and behold some of the mothers wanted a hat because they were going to the Derby. My sister wanted a red hat and I asked what do you need a red hat for? She told me all about that.”
If you are going to do something, do it right or don’t do it at all.Dianne Isbell
Dianne elegantly continued, “So before long I was making all these one-of-a-kind” hats of all colors and had them in shops all over: St. Louis, Missouri and Illinois. She so humbly finished with, “and that’s how I really got started into being a milliner.”
Below are random hats that Dianne helped me photograph. She is such a joy to be around, always upbeat and so kind.
Dianne loved clothes and fashion even as child and lit up while saying, “As a child I loved to dress up and wear my mothers hats. That that was so much fun, so I’ve always been a fashionista. A hat milliner was just in the game for me.”
Dianne is one of the best hat makers in the U.S. and sells hats around the globe. “I like to make everything one of a kind. I designed hats for the George Busch family, Lady Gaga. I’ve been the winner of Forest Park Forever in St. Louis for their lunching every year” an event that attracts 1000s of women.
The trends Dianne sees coming for FALL 2021 will still include fascinators but with a larger selection of beautiful colors. Dianne added that, “Red and black is always good. Another look this year, of course, is going to be the cloche.” Dianne picked up her black leather cloche and said, “This is one of my favorite hats, this cloche, that I made with leather. It was a stickler because this leather is hard to push a needle through; my fingers were really sore by the time I finished it. It is a lovely hat. You will see a lot of these kinds of hats this year,” as she tries one on.
“Of course my fall line includes this little number which is my bumble bee fascinator.” As she picks up the cute yellow bee hat, she says, “So if you look at that, gosh, isn’t this going to be a winner at any luncheons.” She mentioned a few luncheons where bespoke hats are all the rage which included the Forest Park Forever Hat Luncheon, Naples Annual Charity Luncheon, The Glen and Gallop which Dianne supports every year.
If you need a hat for anything, Dianne can match anything and can make you look like a million dollars.
“I have a motto and this motto is one that I’ve lived all my life and it’s this. (If you are going to do something, do it right or don’t do it at all.) So I am a perfectionist when it comes to my hats because I want them to be perfect.”
Dianne smiled while saying, “If you want to know a fun thing about me, I dream in color. So I dream a lot about designs of my hats and not everyone does that apparently. I just thought it was normal.”
“In the end if you follow something, a path that you like to do…sometimes it can be the best path you ever went on. And that’s what I’ve done with my hats.”
Dianne was like an angle and she ended with, “It just started out with my little girls wanting hats and from there look at where I am; I am now a featured milliner for the Kentucky Derby Museum.”
The last sentence is all so true and inspiring: Work hard and never give up on your dreams. Dianne started with one hat, fast forward a few years and now she at the top of the game becoming one of the most respected and celebrated hat designers not only in St. Louis but in the U.S. as well. Congrats Dianne, you earned the title hands down.
Want more….visit https://www.hatsbydianne.com/