By Rachael McNaught
Published in CHB Mail – January 24 2012
Wendy Bongard has always been fascinated with fashion and in particular hats.
“I used to spend hours making clothes for my dolls, a passion that I followed all through my school years culminating in my tertiary training at the now defunct Fashion School of Tayloring and Design” explains the award winning milliner.
Having recently moved to Central Hawkes Bay from Timaru where her hats and fascinators were in popular demand throughout the South Island, Wendy has found the locals up here just as fashion conscious as their mainland cousins. She is quickly building a reputation as the go-to lady for head and hair accessories for every occasion. Her creations can frequently be seen donned for race carnivals, fashion shows, weddings, lead pony classes and any other formal occasion.
“Men’s hats are also gaining in popularity and while I was down South it was interesting to see the increase in orders coming from the Hawkes Bay around Art Deco Weekend. Being in Hawkes Bay this year to see the event is something that I am really looking forward to.”
Rather than sticking with one particular style each one of Wendy’s hats and fascinators is individually tailored for the person wearing it and the outfit that it is being designed to match. “My designs are a collaboration between myself and the client, some want a classically tailored piece, some want something that has a definite edge to it. With the range of materials and colours that are available now we really are only limited by our imagination.
Wendy’s fascinators and hats are hand stitched according to traditional millinery practices. “It is by far the better way to go” she explains. “I have seen too many gowns and headpieces get ruined by glue.”
Each article takes time and how much time depends entirely on the style of the piece commissioned. “A simple fascinator can take a week, but a complex, intricate wide brimmed hat can take a month to complete.”
“My passion is for creating a stunning overall picture that also takes into account the wearer’s personality– that’s what makes the process so special and rewarding.”