Headpieces fit for Royalty

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This has got to be the best mistake ever made – how Viktoria Novak ended up creating her incredible headpieces.

Thinking she’d be a costume designer, she left the interior design job she didn’t love and went to study fashion design in Canberra.

“It wasn’t until the end of the course that I fell in to millinery by accident and that was purely because I didn’t put my elective in, I forgot, and that was the only one left," she says.

Viktoria didn’t want to do it, but had no choice.

“I always just thought - it’s hats and I’m not a hat person at all.”

But then she fell in love with it.

“I just kept creating interesting things using interesting materials and started realising there’s more to headpieces than just hats and you can pretty much wear wearable art on your head.”

Viktoria started with fashions on the field before moving to bridal.

“I translated what you wear to the racetrack into bridal and then years went on and the crown was born four years ago,” she says.

“Ever since then it’s been reinventing what the crown is and using different materials and shapes.

“I’m probably best known for my signature crowns which are really opulent, they’re luxurious, very high quality, lots of gold and lots of layering and then I’ve also got my contemporary leather range which again has its own very signature look about it.”

It’s that signature look and elegance that's seen Viktoria Novak designs worn by celebrities from Jennifer Hawkins to Kate Waterhouse and Rachael Finch.

“It’s always a thrill when you see your work on a celebrity or high profile person,” Viktoria says.

“That thrill never goes away, it’s always a little bit of excitement and just makes me feel really special because of this person liking what I’ve created and wearing it.”

This Spring racing season, crowns will be a prominent feature.

“It’s comfortable, it’s wearable and women can wear it again,” Viktoria says.

“Gone are the days of going out and buying a fascinator - we don’t even use that word anymore - matching it to an outfit and really wearing it once.

“Fascinators can be heavy, they can be uncomfortable, wearing a headband now is so easy, you don’t even feel it, it’s obviously on trend but it’s a classic timeless thing that’ll last.”

Its been 10 years since Viktoria launched her label and she says she hasn’t even had a chance to reflect on her success.

“It’s something I never ever dreamt could happen but somehow Tristan (her husband) and I we’ve both done it,” she says.

“In saying that I don’t think that’s it for us. It’s a continuous growth, I’m always thinking ahead, what now, what next?”

There’s little time out for Viktoria with her drive and passion for the industry and post racing season she says there’ll be no holiday.

“As soon as Spring racing is over, I jump straight in to working on my Autumn/Winter range so that is really early next year, then my new bridal couture range will also be launched early next year so it never stops,” she says.

“Then as soon as the bridal is released, I need to start working on Spring racing for next year already, so it’s quite insane I’m already thinking about next year.”

We’ll leave Viktoria to think about 2017, while we contemplate the next few weeks, picking our race day looks and the woman herself has some advice from heels to headpieces.

Shoes: Just go for comfort. Never ever take your shoes off. It doesn’t matter how much pain you’re in, it is the worst sight anyone can see and not classy so please don’t do that.

Hem line: Try and go a bit longer, so to the knee or underneath. Nothing too high above the knee. Dresses need to be classy and elegant.

Dress/outfit: Black and white is classic for Derby Day, Melbourne Cup can be colourful and then Oaks Day can be a pastel pink or a light blue. Stakes Day is more a family oriented day so something with print would be lovely. 

Makeup: Don’t go too heavy. It’s a day event.

Hair: If it’s a windy day, do your hair up. There’s no point having it beautifully out because by the time you get to the racetrack it will be all over your face, probably all over your headpiece and you’ll hate it and regret it.

Millinery: Make sure it’s complementary to your outfit. It doesn’t have to be an exact match. You can go for a metallic, gold, silver, and then clash it with a bright colour. Make sure it’s comfortable and that you’re comfortable in it.

To get your hands on a headpiece, visit viktorianovak.com.au.