Jill Humphries, Jill & Jack Millinery

  • Jill Humphries of Jill & Jack Millinery


    Art | Q & A

    There’s no doubt Melbourne Spring Racing season has our city in a fever every year. Whether you’re focused on frocking up or finding the next breakout star on the track, the carnival is an opportunity for locals and visitors to embrace the charms of Melbourne’s history in horse racing.

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By Melia Rayner
12th September 2014

As part of an ongoing partnership with the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) and Caulfield Cup Carnival, we’ve been lucky to celebrate the festival in our own way for the past few years, and this year we wanted to embrace the artistry and creativity of some of the makers behind the best looks of spring racing – the milliners.

Three top local and global milliners were each paired with an Art Series signature artist to interpret their works for three one-of-a-kind pieces ahead of the 2014 Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup Carnival. 

Watch this space as we share the artworks and our conversations with each of the milliners over the coming weeks leading up to the Caulfield Cup. For our first week, we spoke with Jill Humphries of Jill and Jack Millinery, a local Melbourne milliner who has quickly risen to the top of the list for racegoers seeking unique pieces with a contemporary twist. Get to know Jill below. 

How did you begin to explore John Olsen’s artworks in your creations? 

Firstly I jumped on the Art Series Hotels website and looked at how his works were displayed and The Olsen as a whole.  As John Olsen is very fluid in his artwork and his sculpture I decided to make one piece quite literal and the others a play on his use of colour and texture so the ideas came quite easily. 

I was most inspired by Olsen's quirky sense of line and form, which is perfect for a milliner as we always look for a clean line to work to.

With over 80 winning pieces on previous racegoers, is it safe to say you’re carving a niche in the Australia racing scene?

Yes - in a very short time.  When starting out, I tried to work out what people weren't doing with millinery and what I could maybe focus on to give me an edge.  I started working with leather and it just took off - carving me quite a specialised niche in the millinery market

How have your client relationships evolved over the years. Do you now have ongoing clients for each year?

I have clients that come back year after year, with one owning over 30 pieces.  When you have an ongoing client relationship there is a huge amount of trust and loyalty.  My long time clients don't' go to anyone else as they know my pieces are all handmade and one-of-a-kind and they enjoy the consultation process.  They also know that they can speed dial me and I will always make time to fit them in when they have a last minute outfit change.  I am really lucky that now many of my clients have become close friends and I keep in contact with them outside of my millinery as well.

How do you hope to expand Jill & Jack Millinery in the coming year? Any big plans to share?

Well I always did this so I could be home with my young children.  However Miss 4 starts school next year which will give me much more time to plan and focus on more collaborations and editorial work.  As everything I do is designed and handmade by me, it really is just a matter of how much I can do.

During the Caulfield Cup Carnival, what would you do on your days off? 

I live not far from Caulfield, so race days are consumed by networking at the track.  I have the most amazing husband (Paul) who takes over in the kitchen during the Caulfield Cup Carnival, but when we drag ourselves outside the house we head to Half Moon where I submerge myself in an Espresso Martini.  Other favourites are Gas Eatery in South Melbourne, Cafe DakDak in Moorabbin and South Melbourne Markets for everything from the best coffee to dumplings, paella and produce.

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