Restoration of a 1990’s Christopher Essex feathered hat

Jane came to my studio with a VERY large out of shape vintage, feathered hat.
It was designed in the 1990’s by designer Christopher Essex for Pat Wilson, a gorgeous, eccentric entertainer from South Australia.

Pat had gifted the hat to Jane some years ago.
It is really fabulous! Underneath all those feathers is a beautiful, sequined skullcap.
It was out of shape and in need of a clean and some tender loving care …

Jane was VERY happy with the result! 
Philadelphia Philpot restored a1990's Christopher Essex hat in 2016








Philadelphia Philpot restored a 1990's Christopher Essex theatrical hat















I contacted Pat Wilson to get some more information about the hat and here are her words … and some pics.

“Dear Wendi,
Although I cannot furnish you with a pic of me in “The Hat”, I give you one with me wearing another Christopher Essex hat from the same cabaret show; he designed and made 4 hats for me. Incidentally, the earrings were his, too! He was a great one for detail, was our Christopher, bless him. I still have the dress and opera cloak.

The cabaret was called “The Incredible Shrinking Mortgage Show”, and ran variously in Australia and the UK 1990 – 1991. The Christopher Essex-designed costumes and accessories were not available for the seasons in the Sheridan Theatre, Adelaide, nor for the SA country tour. They first saw the light of day at the Athanaeum Theatre, Melbourne, in 1991, and then travelled with the show to its glorious conclusion in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where Adrian Barnes and I did a three-week stint.”

 “Here’s an outline of the show’s life:

The Incredible Shrinking Mortgage Show (1990) : Two-hander devised and performed with Adrian Barnes. All original material. Sheridan, Adelaide, then Castlemaine Festival, then S.A. country centres tour then (1991) at the Athanaeum, Melbourne Comedy Festival, then (1991) Edinburgh Festival.

I do hope you enjoy the pics and the info… it may help to bring The Hat to further life! It was designed for me to make an entrance in… hence not lots of photographs of me performing in it…. It did, however, help me make a hell of an entrance!! The fact that Adrian, my partner, had a laser-cut sequinned vest which turned him into a singing mirror-ball meant that I simply had to compete somehow. Thanks to Christopher Essex, I got noticed too. 

I’m so glad that The Hat has found a friend in you, via the wondrous Jane Collins. Please keep me posted…
I’d love to see how The Hat looks once you’ve had your way with it!  

Cheers from Adelaide … Pat Wilson”  

Christopher Essex was an Australian costumer and designer. He was born in England in 1945 and then grew up in Australia. In the 1960s he opened his first salon, “Camille”, in Hong Kong.
His customers included Nancy Kwan and Bruce Lee.  As well as creating costumes and hats for Le Girls and stage productions such as  Hot Shoe Shuffle & Strictly Ballroom, his client list included Tina Turner, Phyllis Diller and Dionne Warwick.  He returned to Australia, but sadly passed away from cancer in September 2006 at 61 years of age.

Please contact me if you would like me to restore a vintage hat –  Wendi 0411 22 82 32 or email me