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Aintree pride for Liverpool milliner who created stunning headband for style award winner

1 month ago

Aintree pride for Liverpool milliner who created stunning headband for style award winner
Some of Tracey's elegant designs

Mum-of-one Tracey Miller, 48, from Kirkdale, decided to follow her dream after years of creating amazing hats and headbands for herself, as well as family and friends.

The Liverpool milliner whose stylish headpiece helped Claire Illingworth secure the crown as one of Ladies Day’s Best Dressed at Aintree has revealed she only set up her business six years ago.

She says having her design seen by millions across the world will be a massive boost.

Tracey, who’s worked with city fashion designer Philip Armstrong and created headbands for singer Rebecca Ferguson, adds: “The emails and enquiries are already coming in after Claire won the iconic award at the Grand National Festival on Friday, and it’s a huge boost to a business like mine and one that’ll really help it to flourish.

“Claire looked stunning and beautiful, and her confidence just shone out. For me to be a part of that, to represent my city and to have such an acknowledgement is incredible.

Tracey Miller
Tracey Miller

“I feel really proud of myself – and that’s something I don’t say very often.”

Tracey’s design for Claire featured a halo-shaped headband with attached hand-shaped back bow detail, carefully dyed to match her sophisticated lemon button-through dress.

It had a vintage vibe which was the look Claire was going for and perfectly set off the outfit for the Style Award contestant.

Tracey says: “Claire wasn’t meant to be going to Aintree originally and I didn’t know she was going to enter the competition.

Some of Tracey's elegant designs
Some of Tracey’s elegant designs

“The first I knew was when I saw a picture of her after they announced the winners!”

It’s a reward for hard work for former finance worker Tracey, who’s previous jobs have included nine years at Royal Liver Assurance.

She explains: “It all started when I couldn’t get the hat I wanted for a friend’s wedding about 10 years ago so, having always been creative, I thought I could make it for myself.

“It was a floral headpiece with veiling across my eyes.

“After that friends and family started asking me to make them for them, and so I did, but I just did it at weekends.  Over time people started suggesting I should become a milliner for a living so I started to look into doing it properly, researching traditional methods and processes.”

Tracey Miller
Tracey Miller

And eventually Tracey took the plunge.

“I set up Tracey Miller Designs about six years ago but even then I still kept my main job so I wasn’t doing it 100%. Then Covid happened, and actually that gave me a bit of breathing space and helped me to plan the business properly and take it forward.

“I moved into The Secret Warehouse in Bootle which is a centre for all kinds of businesses and entrepreneurs from tattooists to beauty, clothing, and homeware brands – it’s amazing – and it’s just taken off from there.

“In Liverpool we love our hats and we love things that are new and exciting. I love accessories. I think you can have the simplest of outfits but bespoke accessories can absolutely make it. It doesn’t have to be a hat; a bow is a beautiful touch and you can add ostrich feathers which have movement when you walk and it’s something that really catches the eye.

“I try to design pieces that you can wear out on a Friday night or for Saturday brunch with the girls. Headpieces don’t have to be for weddings or big occasions, I’d like to bridge the gap to create things that can be worn everyday – not one-offs that you stick in a drawer or a hat box, but stylish pieces that you can wear all the time.

This Year's Style Awards winners (R-L)Claire Illingworth, Sally Ann Morgan, and Ainsley Briscoe
This Year’s Aintree Races Style Awards winners (R-L) Claire Illingworth, Sally Ann Morgan, and Ainsley Briscoe

“That’s my goal.”

Tracey, who with friends and family including her 17-year-old daughter Daisy, spent the Grand National Festival offering style and fashion advice at three city hotels as well as the Cruise terminal where American travellers greeted them enthusiastically – ‘some were saying how the Kentucky Derby was their National’ – adds: “A bespoke headband can take several hours to make and cost from £75 to £350, depending on the design and the processes and the intricacy, but these are classic pieces, they’re investment pieces which you can wear again and again.”

And she says: “The response after Claire and Ladies Day has been amazing. It’s absolutely wonderful and I’m so pleased with how everything’s gone.

“For me as a businesswoman it will be exciting to see what happens now. It could mean everything to my future success.”

To catch up on our time at this year’s Aintree Races click here. For the latest news in Liverpool click here.



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