Claire Hahn is an international award winning milliner based in Auckland. Renowned for her fashion forward approach and dynamic design, Claire is also a passionate advocate of vintage fashion and a regular customer at Painted Bird.
We spoke to Claire ahead of a very busy race season to find out how she incorporates vintage into her wardrobe.
Your current style obsession (person or piece):
I am currently obsessed with texture, in different fabrics! Incredible things like brocade and crimplene which make any outfit look more interesting. You simply can’t buy fabrics like that anymore which is why I love vintage so much. I recently found the most incredible fabric shot with lurex -so I’m all about interesting textures which I can wear in my normal life, every day.
I’m also always inspired by anyone with their own sense of personal style - people like Steph at Painted Bird who are so uniquely ‘them’ - they have their own signature look. It might not be my look but I really admire who they are.
What is your favourite vintage piece in your wardrobe?
I bought the most incredible skirt from Steph a few weeks ago - it is a white maxi skirt that I’m saving for a special occasion and just the right moment. I put it on and called out to Steph from the changing room - we both went ‘YES’ - because it really did feel ‘made for me’ - sometimes you find that piece that just fits the bill and it can be an emotional moment! I’m saving it for Derby Day or a really special occasion - watch this space!
Your top tip on incorporating or wearing vintage in your wardrobe and everyday life:
Some vintage purists might baulk at this but - don’t be afraid to change the garment to fit your aesthetic. I will sometimes buy something knowing if I tweak or and alter a sleeve or length, I’ll get just the look I’m after. You can use that garment as a starting point and create something you truly love, to suit your lifestyle.
A great example of this is this stunning blue and black dress I love - I wore it strapless and full length to a black tie event - then on its next outing I reinvented it by taking the hem up and using that extra fabric to create a sleeve - this made it race day appropriate.
Your favourite fashion era?
Well I always chop and change but at the moment - I’m all about the 70s inspired look e.g. big sunglasses, neck scarves, cute berets, high necks etc.
Your accessory essential?
Oh my goodness I am obsessed with costume jewellery - yes, I confess to having an amazing collection. It’s really something that speaks to me - I love piling on the accessories! I keep all of it as I know my daughters will want it one day. I’m a collector of vintage bangles - if I see them, whether it’s in an op shop or a high end store, I grab them. I have them in every colour, they are perfect for stacking.
Millinery is of course my business - and one of the reasons I love wearing vintage is because I can create modern and progressive headwear that really plays off the vintage look. I really enjoy this juxtaposition of styles to mix the eras in the one outfit. When it comes to racewear, I mainly wear vintage inspired looks because I know nobody else will have that dress.
Check out Claire here in a variety of Painted Bird pieces and follow Claire on Instagram to see more of her incredible style!