Marion Schwartz with Anya Caliendo Millinery Icon

The quest for knowledge and the desire to learn more, and more, and more…  is always high on my list of essential personal goals.  To find the perfect “Millinery Class” was in the forefront of my mind for quite a while, and encouraged by my darling husband, I was fortunate to enroll in ANYA CALIENDO’S  “Premier Advanced Millinery Program.”  I encourage you to take a peek at her Website and Instagram which I have posted below.  I promise, you will be more than amazed at her skillful abilities!

As you will readily see, Anya’s creative mind leads directly to the creation of magnificent headwear. Her impeccable workmanship is worldly, whimsical,  and wonderful!  With Anya’s incredible abilities, she incorporates a surprise in every piece and these talents have given her the well deserved reputation of a top rated “Millinery Icon.”  She enjoys her successes, but only for five minutes!  Then it’s back to creating her next masterpiece!

Luckily, I was able to spend three weeks, 100 hours, sitting and working next to her.  On occasion, Anya would laugh, as I playfully rubbed up against her just hoping some of her expertise might rub off!  Her every stitch is perfectly placed, color palettes are phenomenal, fabric selections are impeccable and her designs are show stoppers!  But her skills and abilities don’t end there.  Anya’s presentations are immaculate and every detail in photo shoots are designed exquisitely.

Anya emphasized the design approach of adding to a creation as needed.  She encouraged me to allow the creation itself to guide me.  What does your creation need and how does it speak to you?  The skill of creating in this manner is a huge lesson, and with Anya’s insistence and strenuous push, I am now able to incorporate this technique into my design process.

Learning additional techniques of true Couture Millinery was just one of the many lessons Anya so ably taught. In addition to learning about the structure of headwear, her lessons clarified the future direction I wish to implement in my company, Joy Design, Inc., including developing and presenting a collection, and optimizing marketing efforts and social media presence.

Dedicated to elevating and preserving millinery as an art form, Anya is more than a teacher of millinery skills.   To me, Anya has been a true inspiration and a very special mentor. I’ve gained so very much, not only about the art of millinery, but about myself.  While sitting for hours creating and sewing, there was more than ample time to reflect.  What do I wish from my life, what are my skill sets, what is in the depths of my heart’s desires?  I’ve left Anya’s Atelier, yet have taken away more than I ever thought possible and certainly more than I ever anticipated.  I continue to strive to be the best I can be, search for answers, establish a business plan and most importantly, think and create past and outside my comfort zone.  As I work on my new collection, I am buzzing with excitement and energy.  When completed, I look forward to presenting it to you!

I’m so honored and excited to be returning to her Atelier at the end of October!  I wish my delightful, cheerful classmate Tierre was joining me, as her infectious laugh and smile will be sorely missed.   I also look forward to returning to Siggy’s boarding house and once again having the opportunity to study the concept of “pecking order” as her chicken coop is right outside my door!

So with love and admiration for my new soulful mentor, I shall conclude for now.  Watch for her new collection during New York’s September Fashion Week, as it is sure to be a smashing success!


Anya Caliendo’s Website and Instagram:

Shop Joy Design Inc HERE

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CERISE Makes a Splash at PLAY for P.I.N.K.

On Wednesday July 16th, our stunning couture millinery pill box hat, CERISE, was up for auction at Shackamaxon Country Club’s Play for P.I.N.K. golf outing, luncheon fundraiser in Westfield, NJ. Our lovely winner, Lois, says, “She’s coming with me to the Derby next year!” We’re so excited that Lois loves CERISE as much as we do!

*All proceeds from this event are donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation