THE INTERVIEW: Milliner Alicia Carr

Tracking down milliner Alicia Carr is much like playing Where In the World Is Carmen San Diego? During the course of our interview, I corresponded with Carr from New York City, Milan, Boston, and beyond. She is all over the map due to the phenomenal success of her couture hats designed under the label Tattered Gossamer. The origin of the label’s name, as quoted by her website, derives from “gossamer forms meet… tattered silhouettes.” She is based out of New York City, but her influence is worldwide from her beginnings in Portland to movie premiers in Italy. Carr draws inspiration from the late Alexander McQueen and each distinctive piece, like haute couture, is created by hand. We caught up with Carr somewhere over the Atlantic.

Qualities you most admire in design:

Something that tells a story and creates a dreamscape that can bring you somewhere else.

Qualities you least admire in design:

All qualities of design have importance if they invoke a strong reaction. No matter if it’s negative or positive; it will push you to examine your own reactions.


Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl.

Favorite virtue:


What clothing item best describes your personality?

Hats. They reflect moods more than anything else I wear.

Favorite fashion era:

The Twenties, The Thirties and the late 18th century.

What is your favorite destination?

Sardegna and Formentera, Italy.

What is your investment piece or greatest fashion extravagance?

I always have a habit of buying expensive shoes. This is what happens when you get used to wearing silk hats to the grocery store.

If you could come back as an object, what would it be?

I would come back as a book, or a piece of clothing handed down through generations in a family. You would witness so much history and its intrigues.

If you could have someone else’s house, whose would it be?

Gaudi’s Casa Batllo

Who are your fantasy lunch date guest(s)?

Elizabeth I, Alexander McQueen, Tim Walker, Morgan LeFay.

What can’t you travel without?

My camera.

Whose diary would you like to read?

Tallulah Bankhead.

Favorite trend of all time?

McQueen’s thousand-layer chiffon dresses from S/S03 along with the Oyster dress. These pieces are lifelong inspiration.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I would love to be musically inclined because music is such a huge part of my life.

What is your most treasured possession?

My books, they are a map to the phases in my life. Also, a small beaded bag that belonged to my great grandmother.


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