Local Hat Designer Leading in Fashion and Community Service
By Gerard Ramalho
It’s not unusual to hear long-time Southern Nevadan residents talk about the “glamour days of Las Vegas.” How often have we heard someone say, “previous generations were classy and knew how to dress!”? It turns out there is someone in this generation who is putting the fancy back into fashion and she lives right here in Las Vegas. Her name is Louisa Voisine. She’s a world-renowned milliner (hat designer) whose creations have been showcased at the Kentucky Derby, the Emmy Awards, even the Royal Museum of London. From glamorous chapeaus to Downton Abbey-style cloche felts, to feathery fascinators, Louisa has mastered the craft. And “there’s a hat for every lady”, she says. “The right hat will frame her face perfectly, accentuate her beauty, and most importantly, make her feel fabulous.”
Louisa began making hats in her teen years when she was tasked with designing costumes for her school’s production of The Music Man. That project evolved into what has become her life’s passion. After studying business and fashion design she immediately began designing professionally for the television and film industry in Los Angeles. Eventually she travelled to Europe where she was selected to study millinery design with Queen Elizabeth II’s royal family milliners. Today Louisa’s creations are coveted world-wide and featured at annual events such as New Orleans’ famous French Quarter Easter Parade.
Where do you get your inspiration? “Just look around,” she says. “Inspiration can come from birds, flowers, even unique structures.” Such was the case of one design she fashioned after the famous Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health near Downtown Las Vegas. “I wanted to do something architectural,” she says, “and that building kept coming to mind.” The goal, “was to have it look like the wind was blowing right into the hat. I also loved the sky blue and steel color scheme. I wanted it to have a reflective quality.”
When should you wear a hat?
“Everyone thinks of springtime,” she says, “And with the Easter holiday, horse racing events and spring tea gatherings, it is my busiest time of year.” But Louisa says, “Just like there’s a hat for every lady, there’s also a hat for every season.” Her creations are appropriate for summer resort wear, fall and winter galas, and of course, Christmas holiday parties. Louisa is also the founder of the Louisa Voisine Chapeau Court, which currently has a waiting list for membership. The court holds yearly events where ladies can don their hats and view some of Louisa’s latest designs.
How do you top what you’ve already accomplished? Louisa attributes her creativity as a gift from God. She also believes in the power of giving. That’s why you’ll often see her partnering with non-profits like, Awareness is Prevention (AIPNV), PBS and the Make a Wish foundation. “I think of my creations as an investment in people,” she says. “As long as there’s an opportunity to make a woman smile and feel good about herself, help restore someone’s confidence or build up the community around me, I’ll continue to create.”