Also known as the Grand Dame of hat making, Yvette has been very fortunate to find a Job that brings all her passions in life together.
I got excited about hats from the age 8 when I was fascinated by my Grandmother who always looked so stylish and always wore a hat. My first hat was a pink velour trilby which was very grown up for an eight year old. I used to wear it to church for Sunday school and then my love of hats grew so much, instead of wanting toys I asked for hats. At Dodderhill girls school we had an art teacher who loved sewing and we would make evening bags and jewellery as well as painting, she brought out the best in us.
When we moved to Herefordshire I would make hats from sticks, feathers, flowers mud and even leaves that would be so dead they only had a trace of the veins on them. It was perfect, my love of nature blending with creating miniature hats. My sister and I were given a pony one Christmas and that's where the other passion in my life began Hats and Horses what could be better. Who needed boys?
I went to Luton the hat making capital of England. (Even the football team are called the hatters after such a long history of hat making in that area) Working for just over forty pounds a week going though all the processes of blocking, machining and hand sewing I learnt from ladies who had worked this way all their life and learnt from their mothers and grannies before them. Once this apprenticeship was completed I was fortunate to go and work with Graham Smith in his London workrooms, the designer who was at the time making hats for Princess Diana and other amazing ladies who went places. Then, gaining a position as a designer went on to design collections for many high street retailers such as Next, John Lewis as well capsule collections for Harrods and other high end retailers.
After marrying a racehorse trainer my love of horses came back into my life and I was making hats for all the wives of racehorse trainers when going to Royal Ascot and such. The BBC asked me to commentate on all the wonderful hats that were worn for such events and having Jeff Banks next to me explaining all the outfits we had a great time (as well as having grade 1 racehorses to watch!) It meant I could start up on my own and make more one off pieces for clients.
I am still making capsule collections for other companies to complement their clothes. Jeff and I set up Fashion on the field (www.fashiononthefield.co.uk) which brings the best of fashion on show at british racecourses. Last year we had Ben di Lisi, Matthew Williamson, Mark Heyes and other wonderful judges to help us find the best dressed race goers .Please do look on the FOTF page and click on the pink circle to see the fun we had. We hope to carry this feature and joined forces with The Jockey Club in order to get the best dressed Uk finalist to go up against The Melborne Cup winner and, maybe even get both go to against the American winner to have a world wide best dressed.
All our hats are made in the U.K our products sourced from UK businesses. We have flowers brought from Germany as they are still hand made there and we buy from abroad as and when the quality dictates. We use the best quality fabrics for blocking and can work with your dress maker / designer on collecting fabrics and talking though the design if requested.Since September, our Scottish Design Hub has been busy making collections for various design houses. The area is known as " Bond Street' due to all the various couture houses who purchase the finest cashmere, tweed and millinery from this particular spot on the River Teviot. . 2013 sees the first Yvette Jelfs for Jaeger collection of which Yvette will go around The Jaeger shops with a Hat Trunk show. This will help customers to see what suits them and why, all dates will appear on the news page and our Yvette Jelfs Pages on facebook. <
We look forward to meeting you and helping with your headwear requirements.
There is nothing more fulfilling than some one commenting on your attire and you will always be complimented in a Yvette Jelfs design.