Gigi Burris became interested in hats after studying in Paris and visiting mercerie shops from bygone eras. The Florida native returned to New York, and in 2009 graduated from Parsons with a desire to start her own millinery line. The result is her namesake company, which Harper’s Bazaar named one of the top accessories brands to watch out for in 2011. Burris’ imaginative headpieces have since been seen on Lady Gaga and Rihanna to name a few, and she remains a favorite of fashion editors looking to inject some old-world extravagance into their shoots. Burris’ latest is her 2013 Resort collection, which she says was inspired by a “rainy beach, dead palms trees, and the spirit of keeping your head above the water in the waves.” We caught up with the 24-year-old designer to expand on that thought, and to share with us the video announcing her collection’s arrival, rain or shine.
As the first effort for a resort collection, what was the inspiration to create the line, colour choices, and designs?
My inspiration was a rainy beach, dead palms trees, and the spirit of keeping your head above the water in the waves. The first resort collection was made for the clients and chic friends of ours who live in warmer climates and travel during the winter season. The shapes vary greatly, but are united with a subtle solemn tropical twist.
The materials are mainly straw, and the color palette is natural with a splash of melon, but the video is set in an apartment. Is the collection meant to be like an escape for city dwellers?
I think any Resort collection has a sense of escapism due to the season. The idea behind the video was that our lonely girl has been stranded, and her thoughts are on her dead dreams of a vacation. Because the collection was about a somewhat tainted idea of a holiday and a struggle to stay joyously afloat, being trapped inside an apartment while it pours outside captured that spirit. It seemed melancholy and ironic to have her prancing around in a bikini and floral piece while it stormed outside.
There is a wide range of styles of hats and head pieces. What did you enjoy designing the most?
I really enjoy designing the hats most, because there are so many unique shapes, trim and material combinations one can dream up. The hats carry a lot of weight in changing someones look.
How do these pieces represent your vision?
The brand has a sense of darkness paired with playful femininity. Therefore, the inspiration had a holiday take on this dichotomy. Rainy days at the beach are seen in the cool gray and navy of the color palette. Dead palm fronds are referenced in the twisted biot feather trim and burst of melon ostrich feathers. The struggle of keeping afloat is seen in torn tulle and frayed grosgrain.
Why did you want to try a resort collection ?
A close girlfriend was looking for the perfect black wide brimmed piece to pack during a winter holiday to Mexico, and the idea to do a capsule resort collection was sparked. It seemed like a natural step for the brand.
Any favourite pieces?
The white safari spirited woven straw piece. I hope to book a vacation just to wear it!
Why did you decide to add a splash of colour in a few pieces, like the boater hat, fireworks headband, the crown of thorns, in an overall neutral palette.
Even the most dark dressers I believe like to work a little color into their wardrobe on vacation. It is the time to escape a neutral palette if there ever was one.