6 Fun facts about Heirloom Hats latest fall/winter 22 collection
You decided to bring back Les Madeleine this season. For those who are not familiar with the concept, can you explain their origin?
I worked as a pharmacy technical assistant for 13 years, a job I kept for the first two years after Heirloom’s inception. I often traveled for a few weeks at a time to both Chisasibi and Mistissini, two Native reserves in James Bay. I learned to embroider with local women during one of my stays and my love for the medium was born.
The sad expressions come from the collective mood I was feeling in the air at the time. It was during Trump's run for presidency and I subconsciously was trying to illustrate this common dismay. The name of the collection comes from the french expression "Pleurer comme une Madeleine". If translated to english it means “to cry like Mary Magdalene”
Each Madeleine is different and unique. What is the creative process behind each embroidery?
The process is very intuitive. For the first version, I worked freehand, without templates or sketches. For the most recent collection, I did a series of sketches in order to have a general direction and then embroidered according to my mood without planning too much. I also wanted to apply new embroidery techniques and would set myself goals to include them into each new beret. I really like this organic way of creating, it leaves room for surprises.
From Madeleines to headbands covered in beads, you have several pieces that seem very time consuming. Is there any music in particular that you like to indulge in while you work?
I like to listen to music that I can sing along to when I really want to get in “the zone”. The essentials being Frank Ocean, Neko Case, Lauryn Hill, James Blake and so on!
Like jewelry stacking, you suggest doing the same with the headbands from your new collection. What would your dream headband stacking be?
I really have a thing for green these days and my favorite stacking is the green braided headband PLICARE paired with the starry green beaded headband PELLET.
You are offering a leather headband this season and it is your first time working with this material. Can you tell me about this choice and the fabrication process?
Leather has always intimidated me. It is an unforgiving material that requires special machinery to work with. That being said, I shared my workshop with extremely talented leather workers in the past (Madeleine Beaulieu from Partoem and Véronique Orban De Xivry from Bouquet) and they both taught me a lot about leather. I also consulted them for the development of this new product.
The headbands look very simple at first, but several steps are required to make them. Developing the pattern, digitizing the pattern, manufacturing the die, thinning the leather at the Centre des métiers du cuir, cutting the pattern pieces with the die using a clicker at the Partoem workshop: this headband has passed through several (local) hands before ending up on your head!
You also offer winter accessories that you knit yourself from a knitting machine. Can you tell me more about these pieces?
I'm a big fan of textiles and textures. It was obvious that one day or another I was going to offer a knitted product. I'm not quick at hand knitting, so a machine seemed like the best fit. I had never used one before so I had to do a lot of trial and error to be 100% comfortable. It allows me to work faster and thus to offer a product made with beautiful materials for a reasonable price.
As for the colors, they were chosen in a very intuitive way, without much thought. I decided to take some beloved silhouettes from last season (Marvin and Zissou) and refine them, and to offer them in a beautiful organic wool. I also wanted to offer a funkier model, hence the Cloud model—a soft mohair wool and an oversized shape to be really cozy!
Candace Mainville —
Love the history behind your embroidery. Continue with your passion.