The Irish born Milliner, Philip Treacy was born on May 26, 1967 in Ballinasloe, a part of Ireland’s rural Galway. Living right across the road from the village church, Little Treacy was captivated by the power of wedding gowns. It was no wonder that he wanted to pursue a career in fashion design and studied at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. While he was still studying, he started working as an intern for the London based fashion connoisseur, Stephen Jones in 1985. He received a Master’s Degree from the Royal College of Art in London from where he graduated along with other first class students in 1990.
Treacy’s career started when he met Isabella Delves Broughton, the style editor of Tatler Magazine. Fascinated by his designs, Isabella asked Treacy to make a veil for her wedding. Soon enough, Treacy opened his workshop in the basement of his residence in Belgravia’s Elizabeth Street. In 1991, Philip Treacy’s hat designed for Chanel Haute Couture worn by supermodel Linda Evangelista made its way on to the cover of Vogue Magazine shot by Kevin Davies. In November, Philip won his first Accessory Designer of the Year Award from BFC. In May 1992, Rifat Ozbek’s show in Milan featured Treacy’s feathered stovepipes. He also designed Marie Antoinette inspired headdress concoctions of net for Chanel Couture in Paris in July.
In 1993, Treacy collaborated with Valentino and staged his first solo show at the London Fashion Week where supermodels like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell sported his all black hats. He opened his first store right next to his residence in 1994. The years 1997 started off with notable collaboration with Alexander McQueen for his debut at Givenchy Haute Couture. In 2000, Treacy made history by becoming the first designer to have presented couture dedicated exclusively to hats at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris. His fall show of July 2001 started off by model Erin O’Connor walking down the ramp wearing a H-A-T hat by Treacy. His 2003 Andy Warhol themed couture show was opened by Naomi Campbell wearing a Campbell’s soup can hat.
He gained recognition from the world over when Camilla Parker wore a Philip Treacy hat at her wedding with Prince Charles in 2005. He was also appointed as design director for a luxury hotel, G in Galway. In 2007, Treacy received an OBE for his brilliant career in the British fashion industry shortly after Isabella Blow’s sad demise. He designed hats for more than 36 guests at the royal wedding of Kate Middleton with Prince William; his hats were praised to the skies. In 2010, Treacy along with six contemporary Irish designers John Roca, Orla Keily, Paul Costelloe, Lainy Keogh and Louise Kennedy featured on a set of postage stamps by An Post.
It is also worth mentioning that Philip Treacy won the Accessory Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards three times in a row; in 1991, 1992 and 1993. He then again went on to win another two in a row in 1996 and 1997. Treacy’s star studded list of clientele includes famous names like Madonna, Lady Gaga, Princess Beatrice of York, Victoria Posh Beckham, Britney Spears and Sarah Jessica Parker.