EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE: Creating the perfect Azalea Festival hat


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Azalea Festival week brings live music, exceptional gardens, historical homes and of course, plenty of those beautiful flowers. But for the ladies, having a great hat to make their outfit complete is an absolute must. Many folks turn to milliner Jan Wutkowski.

“I think a hat is the exclamation point to a person’s personality,” Wutkowski said.

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The back workroom of aMuse Artisanal Finery is Wutkowski’s hat making haven, the place where her latest creations come to life. Although designing the perfect topper may seem easy to some, Wutkowski says the work requires an extreme attention to detail.

“I’m looking at the face shape, hair, asking what kind of jewelry the person might be wearing but specifically looking at the dress,” Wutkowski said.

This Azalea Festival week, she is inundated with orders and many of her clients attending Friday’s garden party don’t want just the traditional large-brimmed hat with a flower, they want something special that will stand out in the crowd.

“They are looking for something that is one of a kind, that is unique, that is not something they’re going to find from a box store,” Wutkowski said.

If you’re interested in the latest trends, Wutkowski says Britain’s fashions are having a big effect.

“I am seeing people wanting things that are a little more different and I think that does come from the royal wedding,” Wutkowski said. “Fascinators have been around for a long time but we in America are just now seeing them.”

Whether you go with a contemporary fascinator or something of elite elegance, you have to know how to wear it.

Wutkowski says make sure to tilt a little to one side to add some flare.