Hats off to Vivien Sheriff

Hats off to Vivien Sheriff

When thinking of hats or hat designers we immediately think of locally based, multi award- wining milliner Vivien Sherriff!

Based here in Wiltshire and established in 2004 Vivien's heritage millinery is a superb brand at the forefront of all British headwear designs. She strives and succeeds to produce the most exceptional hats and headpieces, with her inspiration being drawn from the wildlife surrounding her studios, in Wiltshire's very own country village of Downton.

Vivien's signature designs are made with passion, distinct silhouettes and intricate elements making them the finest in couture pieces. Vivien - top of the list of designers who have previously dressed many famous and celebrated heads, has also specifically designed headwear for most of the royal wedding guests who attended Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in 2011. Ms Sherriff has since continued to raise her profile by representing ‘Best of British’ in headwear fashion.

Bold combinations coupled with an exacting match in trim through hand dying; create a unique and fresh style. The dramatic shapes are enhanced by exquisite flowers and feathers softening the silhouette and giving richness in design. Vivien with her outstanding skills and a team dedicated to their craft, use only the very best quality fabrics; silks, organzas and tulles, essential to give a depth of colour. All these elements come together to create some truly exquisite hats and head pieces.

-'Minnie' Peacock Feather Headpiece 01Vivien's Guide on How to Wear a Hat: 1. Your hat should coordinate with your outfit - either as a complementary or accent colour. Take your outfit with you when you buy your hat to get the colour match correct. 2. Consider the occasion and your role in it For ladies, an upturned brim is best for kissing guests, or try a disc shape, a headpiece or even a fascinator. For gents, a classic fedora in wool felt or Panama toquilla straw always adds effortless style to an outfit. 3. Make sure your hat flatters your face and your silhouette Petite women should opt for fascinators so as not to look unbalanced, whereas tall women can carry off wider brims. Be daring and try different shapes - you'll be amazed at what you can wear. 4. Make sure your hat fits properly A hat that is too big or too small is as uncomfortable as an ill-fitting pair of shoes. 5. Finally, wear your hat with confidence A slightly jaunty angle down over the right eyebrow is best, and never on the back of the head. Stand tall, feel splendid and enjoy your day! Not only has Vivien Sheriff made a lasting impression on the world of fashion, but also on us at John Rose Photography!

Although the weather was not at its best and rather miserable outside, we were served fresh hot coffee at her country-farm studio, whilst discussing all things Vivien. This lady certainly knows a thing or two about hats; after all she also created the fascinator worn by Kate Middleton on her first official engagement in Anglesey in February of that year.

- Beaux Headpiece Special 01As part of our portfolio range for Salisbury Life magazine we were asked to visit Vivien at her studio and show room in Downton, for a portfolio shoot. We were delighted to meet the lovely lady herself and her staff, before having the pleasure of photographing this remarkably talented lady with some of her outstanding work.

Miss Sheriff herself was an absolute delight to photograph, so much so that we managed to capture the perfect shot of both her and her dog effortlessly and within minutes.

We always try to keep the lighting as simple as possible for these shoots. Space is generally limited as is the client's time.

Two speed lights on stands were used to light Vivien. One was placed slightly behind and to her right and fitted with an umbrella. This light lifts the shadows and helps to separate her from the background. The most important factor to consider when setting this light is that it must not overpower the fixed lighting and create its own shadow.

The second light is placed in front, approximately 45 degrees to the left and above. The sole purpose of this light is to illuminate Vivien. The 45 degree angle helps to produce a pleasing shadow on her face and down her body.

The lights are metered and tested individually before a model (anyone available really) is placed in the scene to test the light fall. I shoot at f8, ISO around 400 and with the shutter speed of around 1/200 sec. These are generalised settings and can vary depending on the situation and the available light.

Once tested and ready, the client is moved into the scene and the image is captured in just a couple of shots. Generally the client will be shown the image on the back of the camera or a tethered iPad to ensure our client is happy with her facial expression, etc. and the job is done.