Deborah Quinn

Brisbane fashion maverick Deborah Quinn opens her hat boxes to reveal a special collection of spectacular millinery, including personal favourites and plenty of Stephen Jones pieces.

Stephen Jones, 'Anna P', S/S 2009, displayed with a photograph of Deborah Quinn and Stephen Jones (2010)The Fashion Archives

Deborah Quinn is an avid wearer and collector of hats. Her collection contains many remarkable pieces, some of which she shared with us for this special feature. Deborah supports both emerging and established designers, and she has built a special relationship with leading British milliner Stephen Jones, whose work has been exhibited in galleries worldwide. The items shown here represent a diverse cross-section of his millinery practice and use of a variety of materials and forms. Deborah took us through the collection and shared her approach to fashion and personal style.

On where her love of hats all began…

“My mother was a flamboyant lady who often wore hats, which I have vivid memories of when I was young. Also, my father had a collection of hats for various occasions ranging from top hats to safari hats, and would always wear a hat outside after moving to Australia.
I guess this love of headwear was passed on to me as hats have always fascinated me. Particularly, I appreciate how the form and structure of a well-made hat can finish off an outfit; in a way like adding the final point to a sentence; an exclamation mark!”

On how and when to wear a hat…

“I wear a hat everyday, but this is for my own satisfaction. I put on a hat to compliment an outfit and often it reflects my mood, or the weather, but also adds to the activity of the day, even if mundane . The challenge to match the hat, the outfit and the occasion allows me to express my own style and personality. It is somewhat stimulating and rewarding when others understand and appreciate the combination. When this happens, I am delighted – but that is not my motive for wearing hats. I feel underdressed without a hat!”

On her collection…

“My entire hat collection is special to me, particularly my Stephen Jones hats. However, I don’t have a particular favourite. Each one is special in its own way, and depending on the day, outfit and circumstance, one will be the most treasured of the moment.

Something unique to my collection that is particularly valued is my father’s Indian Fez hat from the 1950’s, which he bought whilst travelling for work in Bombay. It is displayed on a vintage hat block on my dressing table and daily I look at it and think of him. It evokes images of his style and brings memories of how my father always checked how his hat was angled before venturing out. I like to think I have followed his example.”

On her love of fashion and music…

“Being involved in the arts professionally as a musician, I have always taken an interest in creative endeavours. Whilst studying for my Music Degree at The University of Melbourne I came to realize that music compliments fashion seamlessly, as the two fields demonstrate and epitomize individuality and are open to various interpretations. It was during this time of my life at university that I truly became interested in fashion. Now both fashion and music are my shared passions and fit together effortlessly.”

On inspiration and style…

“Inspiration and style come from many places and I am constantly seeking something ‘out of the ordinary’ or demonstrating an innovative design.

The QUT graduate fashion parades are often a fantastic showcase of new talent, design, skill and innovation. I attend to keep abreast of new designs and emerging talent, and because I enjoy supporting and following young fashion designers just starting their career, especially in Queensland. I also enjoy attending Australian Fashion Week, and most recently had the opportunity to attend London Fashion Week. These events showcase an array of talented designers, both emerging and established, and always provide me with many new ideas and inspiration.”

On Queensland style…

“Style is almost impossible to define but like charisma you recognise it when you see it. Melbourne and Sydney do seem to have unwritten style rules and conventions but Queensland is unique– and that is the joy of it. Climate, individual style and charm pervade and influence fashion here.”

A selection of Deborah Quinn's hatboxes, 2013
A selection of Deborah Quinn's hatboxes, 2013The Fashion Archives
Stephen Jones, 'Triple Vision', A/W 2010, (XYZ), Deborah Quinn Collection
Stephen Jones, 'Triple Vision', A/W 2010, (XYZ), Deborah Quinn CollectionThe Fashion Archives
A selection of Stephen Jones hats, left to right: 'Lupina', A/W 2006; 'Speed', S/S 2009; 'SoHo', A/W 1998; Deborah Quinn Collection
A selection of Stephen Jones hats, left to right: 'Lupina', A/W 2006; 'Speed', S/S 2009; 'SoHo', A/W 1998; Deborah Quinn CollectionThe Fashion Archives
Vintage Shriner's hat, ca. 1940s, Deborah Quinn Collection
Vintage Shriner's hat, ca. 1940s, Deborah Quinn CollectionThe Fashion Archives
left to right: Suzy O'Rourke, lace riding hat; Deborah's father's fez, 1950s; vintage riding hat, ca. 1920s
left to right: Suzy O'Rourke, lace riding hat; Deborah's father's fez, 1950s; vintage riding hat, ca. 1920sThe Fashion Archives
Stephen Jones, 'Favourite', S/S 2005, Deborah Quinn Collection
Stephen Jones, 'Favourite', S/S 2005, Deborah Quinn CollectionThe Fashion Archives
Stephen Jones, 'Delirium', S/S 2012, (Chinoiserie on Sea), Deborah Quinn Collection
Stephen Jones, 'Delirium', S/S 2012, (Chinoiserie on Sea), Deborah Quinn Collection The Fashion Archives
Deborah Quinn, 2013
Deborah Quinn, 2013The Fashion Archives
Stephen Jones, 'Cinders', A/W 2011, (Topsy Turvy), Deborah Quinn Collection
Stephen Jones, 'Cinders', A/W 2011, (Topsy Turvy), Deborah Quinn CollectionThe Fashion Archives
Stephen Jones, 'Cabana', S/S 2004, (Hollywood Regency), Deborah Quinn Collection
Stephen Jones, 'Cabana', S/S 2004, (Hollywood Regency), Deborah Quinn CollectionThe Fashion Archives
Stephen Jones for Marc Jacobs, A/W 2011, (displayed on a Marc Jacobs designed Diet Coke can), Deborah Quinn Collection
Stephen Jones for Marc Jacobs, A/W 2011, (displayed on a Marc Jacobs designed Diet Coke can), Deborah Quinn CollectionThe Fashion Archives
A selection of Deborah Quinn's hatboxes, 2013
A selection of Deborah Quinn's hatboxes, 2013The Fashion Archives

Published in , on December 3, 2013.