Virna Pasquinelli

2021 QEST Scholar - Millinery

Virna studied Millinery Design at Kensington and Chelsea College and worked for Justin Smith and Rizvi Millinery during her training. Upon graduating she practised under Piers Atkinson, starting as a hatmaker before being promoted to studio manager. She simultaneously began her independent practice, freelancing for milliner Jane Taylor and producing hats for Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, Fenwick, The Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Eugenie amongst others. Recent work for Rizvi Millinery (Thehattrix) includes headdresses for the West End and global theatre (from Disney’s The Lion King to Back to the Future and many more). After setting up her own studio in Surrey, amongst other projects, she created giant pompoms headdresses for pop star Katy Perry and made an oversized straw hat for a Cancer Research UK campaign whilst collaborating with international stylists, photographers and designers. 

QEST funding will enable Virna to do courses in electro-forming, soldering, metal-working and weaving, and with these skills she aims to take the tradition of her craft to the next level by fusing commercial and functional hats with ‘wearable art’. She will also have 60 hours of one-to-one training with Hermione Thomson focusing on mixed media textiles, contemporary and traditional techniques of surface manipulation, and innovative printing and dying skills.

I’d like my work to be empowering and incite dialogues. I have the will and necessity to inspire and show the value of craft today and how it will project in the future.