Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Mad Hatter - Amy Downs

Jean says: Addiction is a terrible thing! In the grand scheme of things, hat addiction may be pretty low-down on the totem pole, so to speak, but it does involve a certain level of craving. Although not necessarily life-threatening or illegal, it can be problematic. As with children, one isn't supposed to have favorite milliners, but I must admit that a few are on the top of my list and Amy Downs is probably at the apex. Regular readers will recognize her name since I have a few of her hats in my collection and I do tend to wear them often. (In fact, I'm wearing a red Amy Downs turban in the Bib and Tuck video that appears on our blog's main page.)

We were thrilled on one recent Sunday to get an invitation to an Amy Downs sample sale at Takamichi Salon on the Bowery.  (One via email, and another from someone on the street who stopped us - wearing hats as we were - and nearly insisted that we drop everything and go buy hats.

The sign outside says it all.

Although she used to work and live in the Big Apple, years ago, Amy relocated to the West Coast and doesn't travel East often enough. Here is the lady in question, reconnecting with two of her good friends.

Takamichi is a very modern, smooth cement-floored hair salon on the second floor with a sweeping view of the Bowery, just south of Houston Street. Amy displayed her wares in the front of the gallery. Here's a shot taken from mid-point in the spacious salon. The gentleman in the light suit and red hat is Amy's dapper husband.

The gorgeous Eiko dressed head-to-toe in Mieko Mintz' wonderfully colorful fashions. She accompanied Amy to Japan in the summer of 2012 and her photo appears on Amy's website: Valerie and I first met Eiko at Mieko Mintz' showroom during fashion week last spring.

She looked just as good coming as going!  You can't see them very well in the photo, but Valerie soooooo wants the wonderful polka dot pants.

And this lovely lady is Lynn who also appears on Amy's website and accompanied both Amy and Mieko on the same trip to Japan. We loved her hair, necklace, glasses and shoes.

Check out Lynn's unusual sandals. Don't you just love their simplicity and clean lines?

We've met the lady in the middle on several occasions at New York vintage clothing shows. She has a great looking black wool Amy Downs turban. She brought two of her friends to try on hats and compare notes. It's always great to have a posse. They were having a blast.

Each of them had a second hat they liked and were willing to show off.

Isn't this woman's silver hair gorgeous? The blue in the straw hat really brings out the blue in her eyes.

Out on the street, we met this fan who was proudly showing off her new raffia hat.

Here's the side and rear view of the silvery-grey brimmed hat.

Even the guys get into the act.  This kilt-clad gent (say that three times quickly!) wore one of Amy's caps.

Amy shows at the Seattle Museum of Art which is hosting a Japanese exhibition soon and will feature Amy's hats in its store. She called this her "wedding hat".

We coveted this colorful vintage Mexican skirt worn by one of our fellow shoppers.

Upon closer inspection, she proudly revealed the skirt's secret, hilarious detailing. This is another great reason why we so love vintage clothing.

Remember the bride's hat? Amy dubbed these turbans her "bridesmaids' hats". The origami-style construction lets you fold them flat. At this angle, you can see the large turkey feather detailing in the tulle netting.

The Mieko Mintz and A Uno boutiques in Manhattan both carry Amy's hats. For additional stores in Oregon, Minnesota and Washington, check Amy's website.


  1. WOW, what fun and what amazing hats!

  2. Amy's hats have such unique shapes - I love the one Jean is wearing. Also garnering my admiration is Eiko's outfit, Lynn's sandals, the gent in the kilt and the mexican skirt.

  3. Great report! I am a happy owner of many of Amy's creations and I can say one can never have enough of her hats.