Who: Patrick Ogilvie (1925-1997).
What: Brisbane-based milliner with a strong local and national following.
When: Established in 1947, Ogilvie was still working up until approximately 1993.
Where: Ogilvie initially based himself in the Lennon’s foyer, George Street, from the late 1940s. When the business grew he moved to a large store and workroom in Rowe’s Arcade, Edward Street, Brisbane. He remained there until 1972. Ogilvie later moved to Brisbane’s Western Suburbs and continued working there in to the 1990s.
Why: Ogilvie was one of Australia’s leading milliners in his day, and was known for a diverse and loyal clientele. Signifying his contribution to local fashion, a large collection of Ogilvie’s hats is held by the Queensland Museum, and features work made for prominent figures such as Sallyanne Atkinson, former Lord Mayor of Brisbane.
Ogilvie originally trained and worked as an accountant, but dabbled in millinery as a hobby. He later turned to this passion full time and trained in Sydney before moving back to Brisbane and opening his own business.
A consummate diplomat, Ogilvie was known for creating one-off hats so as to avoid embarrassing double-ups for his clients, who included prominent public figures and society ladies, frequently seen at high profile events. However, Ogilvie was also known to create hats for all women, regardless of social standing. It is common to see an Ogilvie creation worn in tandem with a garment by some of the leading local designers of his era, including Gwen Gillam.
During the heyday of Ogilvie’s business, millinery was an essential element of a woman’s wardrobe. As a result, Ogilvie’s work and showroom occupied a large and prominent place in Rowe’s Arcade, and employed a large local staff. Ogilvie’s wife Antoinette Robson was his model and muse.
Over time the appetite for millinery began to change. This was as a result of a number of factors, including the rise of youth culture, and a greater sense of freedom and individuality in dressing styles in the 1960s and 1970s. Also influential was the rise of hairdressing and the figure of the hairdresser in many ways replaced the milliner.
As the significance of millinery began to decline as part of the day-to-day wardrobe of most women, hats became a more specialised item of dress worn at particular events such as weddings, funerals, and social occasions like the races.
The Ogilvie name continues to occupy a prominent place in Brisbane with Patrick’s son, Mitchell, operating a successful menswear business.
Published in Issue 1, on August 27, 2013.