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Sarah Sokol: I get to be a sculptor and just make art,
and people wear it on their heads,
and it's just, like, the craziest thing that that's a job.
[Narrator] This is Sarah Sokol.
You may not recognize the face under this hat,
but scroll through your Instagram feed
or flip through the pages of a fashion magazine,
and you will find Sokol's designs
on the heads of your favorite celebs.
Cardi B,
Emilia Clarke,
and WWE star Lacey Evans, to name a few.
But it wasn't until the 2019 Met Gala
that Sokol floored the world with her iconic design
composed of four stacked hats
worn by the artist and actress Janelle Monáe.
Sokol: It was just
so surreal, crazy.
You know, to be a small designer on the red carpet
is insane
And it was just straight up, like, you know,
a dream come true,
a dream I didn't even know was obtainable.
[Narrator] Paired with a surrealist blinking-eye dress
by Christian Siriano,
Sokol's four-tiered hat propelled Monáe
onto several best-dressed lists after the camp-filled night.
We got a peek inside Sokol's studio
to learn specifically how she made
her iconic Met Gala hat for Janelle Monáe.
Sokol: Welcome to my studio.
[Narrator] Sokol owns and operates
Sarah Sokol Millinery Incorporated
right from her home studio in Brooklyn,
where she makes and sells custom pieces
ranging from $400 to $3,500.
Depending on the piece and the client's wishes,
each new hat takes Sokol anywhere from two hours
to two days to finish.
She made Monáe's hat in under 40 hours.
Sokol: So this is part of the hat that I made
for Janelle Monáe for the Met Gala.
She had a stacked four of these.
So I made four different ones of these.
It really looked like four separate hats,
like, all stacked together.
[Narrator] Sokol uses a variety of materials,
like Mylars, metals, plexiglass, and thermoplastics,
to make her designs come to life.
To create Monáe's iconic look,
Sokol chose to use velour felt.
Sokol: We went velour felt for Janelle and the Met Gala.
C'mon.
[Narrator] Once the material is chosen,
the first step is to steam the felt body.
The steam allows the felt to become malleable
so that Sokol can stretch it out over a wooden block
that she specifically created to fit Monáe's head.
Sokol: Trying to do different, like, heights and everything,
there was a really fine line between couture
and, like, cartoon and gimmicky.
With crowns, you really need,
like, every single different size.
So, like, 21 inches, 21 1/2, 22, 22 1/2.
So, you know, to go up only, like, a quarter inch
to do something like this was really the way to go.
[Narrator] The steaming and stretching process
may need to be repeated a few times
to give the felt body the biggest stretch possible.
Sokol: Oh, look at that.
Oh, I love it.
[Narrator] Once the body is blocked
nice and tight over the crown,
an elastic is pulled down over it
to secure the felt in place.
Sokol: So I'll put the elastic on,
and then wherever it's still buckling
I'm just gonna put a little more steam
and keep pulling it down that way.
[Narrator] Next, blocking pins are added
to maintain the body's shape.
Now it's time to pull out the brim,
steaming one section at a time and pinning it down.
The key is to get the brim as wide as possible.
Using a damp cloth to protect the felt,
the brim is then pressed with an iron to flatten it out.
The hat is then dried.
Size the hat by measuring the length of the brim.
Sokol: And then this one is only, "only,"
a 6-foot circumference,
but the side pieces also need to be
wired and stitched
and then attached to it.
So you're essentially sewing that circumference,
like, three times.
I know.
[Narrator] The hat is then cut to perfection.
The final brim is lined with a steel wire
to secure and flatten out the hat.
In Monáe's case, Sokol made a 2-inch strip of ribbon
out of the white fabric that was used for her dress.
Sokol: I felt very appreciated and recognized by Janelle.
And, you know, when she had posted
and, like, mentioned me about it
and posted the time-lapse video,
to me, that's, like, the highest form of compliment,
when an artist recognizes
other people's craftsmanship and artistry.
I felt really part of the team,
and to feel that way when you're working
with people like Christian Siriano
and you're on a red carpet
with, like, the biggest and best designers out there,
to feel appreciated as, like, a small Brooklyn milliner,
and to be a young one, is just the most important thing
to keeping this trade alive.
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How This Celeb-Loved Hat Designer Created Janelle Monae's Met Gala Hat

58 Folder Collection
邱于嘉 published on August 29, 2019
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