Designer Regine Chevallier has the coolest nickname ever: "Hat Lady to the Stars.” For good reason, too. She isn't just flanking Hollywood's "IT" crowd with fun, fetching and fabulous headwear (not that famous people don't wear her hats,) but rather, she's created a one-of-a-kind hat line for the everyday South Florida fashionista.
Matter of fact, when I asked Regine where she got the hoity-toity title from, her response surprised me: "It's our way of telling customers that we treat everybody equally," she said proudly. What's more, Regine mused: "We give each and every customer the rock star treatment." Normally, I would roll my eyes if a designer told me this and go about writing my blog, but not with Regine.
She means it and if you met her in person and held one of her exquisite hats in your hands, you would understand why. At least, that's what did it for me. Even though I've admired her work for some time (on social media and in boutiques,) I didn't have the opportunity to meet her until just a few weeks ago.
With big, beautiful brown eyes, long blonde hair, velvety tanned skin and a banging body, Regine's every inch the quintessential Miami Beach babe but yet, she's so much more. She's refreshingly inquisitive, extremely present, kind, warm and beyond talented. We met up at one of my favorite stores, Le Beau Maroc in Surfside (where she sells some of her hats) to talk about her collection and my obsession with "Haute Summer Hats."
Regine told me she's always had a passion for fashion from a very early age, styling outfits and giving clothing advice to anyone who would listen, but it was the hat that intrigued, mesmerized and eventually seduced her into her own business. She believes it to be the kind of accessory that allows a person to distinguish oneself and gives off a feeling of "elegance, self-confidence and reverence."
As a hat lover, one who has also traveled the world, I wholeheartedly agree. A hat not only captures the imagination, it can also elevate an outfit with its simple presence. It can helpfully hide a fashionista’s shortcomings (a bad hair day, broken-out skin, even a make-up free face. After all, fashionistas have to let their skin breath, too.) More importantly, though, here in South Florida, where a sun hat is almost mandatory, it protects your complexion from the relentless summer heat and sun.
Sure, Regine's hats are, indeed, stylish; most of them have fashionable names like Headliner, Islander, Starstruck and Monte Carlo, just to name a few, but they're also wrinkle free, made of high quality materials and offer complete UV protection. If those aforementioned qualities don't make a "Haute Summer Hat," I don't know what does. Perhaps, it's best to let Regine tell you herself.
Shireen Sandoval: What's the concept behind the "Regine Chevallier" hat line?
Regine Chevallier: It's to help everybody be free and to dare to be, to allow them to unleash their real personality.
SS: You've traveled the world. When a woman wears a hat, what does that say about her?
RC: It tells me she’s self confident, independent and has a mind of her own and is not afraid of being who she is.
SS: What is the inspiration for your company tagline: "Fall In Love With Yourself”
RC: The idea came from a very good friend and mentor of mine, Robert Pergament. It’s the perfect slogan because the concept behind the line is to make our customers feel good when wearing our product. The goal is to inspire our customers to feel more confident, therefore to love themselves more.
SS: What do you love most about the Miami woman's overall sense of style?
RC: Miami women are not afraid to be. They’re very daring and colorful in their sense of style. They still look amazing no matter what they’re wearing, whether it be gym wear or the latest designer trends.
SS: How many hats do you own?
RC: I lost count a long time ago! I’m afraid to say that I keep a sample of each style from the line.
SS: Which is your favorite hat?
RC: All my pieces are unique and special in different ways to me. Therefore, it would be impossible for me to favor just one.
SS: Which of your hats is a must-have for the everyday South Florida fashionista?
RC: Any of our Fedora hats are must-have’s! They are easy and trendy to wear, are suitable for every occasion and can match every outfit.
SS: Tell me about your 'Hipster Collection’?
RC: The Hipster collection was created for a more creative, more expressive crowd.
SS: I love derby hats! Describe your Derby line.
RC: Derby hats are not our main focus, although we do have a small collection which is glamorous yet settled.
SS: What is your most popular hat?
RC: "The World Traveler" is definitely one of our most popular hats!
SS: What is the process of designing, creating and selling a hat?
RC: The hats are first designed by me, sent to our manufacturer to be produced and are sent back to us here in Miami where the finishing is finalized in-house. We leverage social media and host a lot of trunk shows and pop-up stores in order to promote and make sales. We use social media as a big window display.
SS: Where does your inspiration come from?
RC: I find inspiration everywhere: through my travels, through meeting people and through nature. Inspiration is just something that comes to you.
SS: Where can fashionistas shop your creations (besides online?)
RC: Our hats can be found here at "Le Beau Maroc" in Surfside and at three Soblo locations (Aventura, Coral Gables, Boca Raton.)
SS: What hat do you think best describes my fashion sense and "Shireen's Favorite Things?"
RC: I think the Travel Girl hat best describes you! Strong, over-the-top and extravagant! Definitely nothing ordinary.
SS: If you had to describe yourself as a hat, which would you choose and why?
RC: I would be the headliner hat. I want to be remembered and I like to leave my mark wherever I go. I want to create waves, so definitely, The Headliner! It’s edgy, sexy, strong and unique! The name of the hat says it all.
Regine doesn't know this (she will after she reads this blog,) but "The Headliner" is my favorite, too and was definitely one of the most photogenic hats of the entire blog. I just adore its neutral beige coloring, offset by a crimson, red ribbon and detailed with a brim that looks as if it's made out of a "Shabby Chic" paper mâché.
The Monaco was big, bold and completely glamorous; with a gigantic wide brim, a black, white and yellow decadent silk scarf wrapped around its crown and a gold chain for detailing. This hat screams "look how fabulous I am" and is perfect for the South Florida fashionista that spends her day at the pool, on the beach or sipping champagne on a yacht. Heck, it's so bloody fantastic, I'd wear it around the house.
The Milano is simple, elegant and effortless because it pretty much goes with anything. It's the kind of hat that every girl needs as a staple in her tropical wardrobe; with its natural color, simple woven texture and braided chained rim, it's a graceful head turner (all hats mentioned are pictured in the blog.)
Whether you're hopping a flight to Europe, bee-lining it to the beach, headed out on the boat, running errands around town or just doing casual chores, Regine makes it possible to always look great, even glamorous and that's why "Haute Summer Hats" are one of my favorite things.
Shop the hat looks at www.Reginechevallier.com
Facebook: Regine Chevallier
Photographer: James Woodley
Hair & Make-up: Toshi Szpyra
Styling & Assist: Jackie Kay
blog ideas: Jackiekay211@yahoo.com
Editor: Matthew Auerbach