At only 26 years old, milliner Victor Osborne has developed quite a following. Not only have his bowlers and fedoras graced the pages of several fashion magazines, but he also opened a new retail shop on the Lower East Side this past summer. The store’s open layout includes an atelier toward the back, where Osborne can often be found creating his luxury hats on traditional blocks. With an upcoming collaboration for Opening Ceremony’s spring line and custom pieces for Rihanna in Italian Vogue and Michelle Williams in Vogue, Victor Osborne is bringing hats back to the mainstream. We sat down with him to discuss his cinematic inspiration, bargain hunting at Beacon’s Closet, and how every man should take some fashion risks.
What’s the inspiration behind your newest hat collection?
I was thinking about the movie Metropolis and the idea of what was considered futuristic back in the thirties.
How did you decide to design hats?
Hats always intrigued me, even from a young age. I noticed how they could change someone’s mood or look instantly just by putting on the right one (or sometimes the wrong one)! I wanted that ability to make someone feel complete the same way a hat can make you feel. “To top off your look.”
You launched your line in 2005, but you just opened your NYC shop. How did you decide to open a store?
It was a way to learn what people wanted firsthand.
What type of person wears Victor Osborne hats?
I sell hats to 65-year-old mobsters, Brooklyn hipsters, and blonde Upper West Side socialites. Everyone!
Describe your favorite piece from the newest collection.
The Pleat Cap. It is a sewn-straw, slouchy, military general-inspired cap.
What was the first designer item that you bought or wore?
A bright fire-engine red Comme des Garçons wallet.
Who are some of your favorite designers?
Hussein Chalayan, Alexander McQueen, and Dai Rees — I love the British!
Who are your personal fashion icons?
Diana Ross in Mahogany; my boyfriend, Roger; Beth Ditto; and Bjork.
Describe your personal style.
I’m a designer, so I spend more time helping others develop their style than my own.
What labels do you wear most?
Tim Hamilton, vintage Helmet Lang, Karl Lagerfeld, and Trash & Vaudeville.
Where do you shop most in NYC?
I’m lucky that I get most of my stuff from designer friends, but I also love bargain hunting at Beacon’s Closet.
What trends are you into right now?
I’m happy that individuality, not trends, is finally being encouraged.
Any trends you wish would disappear?
Agyness Deyn haircuts; she’s really the only one who looks good in it.
What’s something every man should have in his closet?
Something daring, preferably a hat! But really, every man should have something they are scared of wearing, whether it’s a hat or a Day-Glo belt or even some black eyeliner. Anything that would make them look different from the pack.
High heels. Actually, that applies to men, too!
Finish this sentence: I never leave the house without …
A smile on my face.