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Cornwall milliner Natalie Ellner designs headwear for Kate Winslet

By West Briton  |  Posted: December 01, 2012

  • Milliner Natalie Ellner is pictured modelling her Lady Peacock design.

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A CORNISH milliner had one of her show-stopping creations worn by Kate Winslet when she collected her CBE from Buckingham Palace.

But this was not the first time Natalie Ellner has collaborated with the Oscar-winning actress.

"It has been quite a whirlwind and very exciting," said Natalie, 31, a former head girl at Penryn College and Truro College student.

In the summer her work caught the star's eye and she commissioned a series of animal-themed headpieces.

These included a fox, badger, rabbit and peacock for her and her family to wear to a private function.

"I had a lot of designs to show her and she was particularly excited by the badger," said Miss Ellner. "In the end I came up with four animals."

The latest work, a magpie feather headpiece, was inspired by Ms Winslet's "classic elegance". She took about a month going "to and fro with Kate" to complete the 1950s'-style tilted hat.

"She left the design up to me and we had quite a lot of contact over it. She was an absolute joy to work with and had a lot of input into refining it.

"I wanted to create something exciting that reflected her personality."

Miss Ellner said she was inspired by the landscape of Ponsanooth, where she grew up and her parents still live.

"Cornwall is a magical place," she said. "A lot of my work relates to animals."

She learnt to sculpt while studying costume, make-up and special effects at London College of Fashion.

Seven years working for a company making medical prosthetic limbs honed her skills in using silicone – the base for many of the larger animal designs.

"I learnt how to use it for my creative projects, making creatures and headpieces in my spare time.

She set up her company, Ellswhere, and last year went full time, based in London. Earlier this year she was commissioned to make 70 masks for the London Olympic opening ceremony.

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