Paris Kyne
Master Milliner

Paris Kyne

Take me to the year - 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, or 2012

portrait Paris Kyne was born Michael Francis Kyne, the middle of five children, in Chelsea Bush Nursing Hospital, Victoria, Australia. His father was a 'blind man', specialising in canvas awnings. His mother had to bring up five children under the age of 14 when her husband died.

The school years of the young Michael were rather ordinary, taught by the Sisters of Sion nuns at primary school and the Marist Brothers in secondary school. Even the males around him as a child all wore long black dresses.

Amateur theatre kept his mind active, first as Louis in the Maffra Dramatic Society's production of "The King and I", then onto countless stage shows playing everything from a Russian boy being introduced to a prostitute to the March Hare. It was here that Michael learned to love an audience and the feedback they give.

After failing year 11 badly, and a brief foray into hairdressing, Michael left Sale for the big temptations of Melbourne. Mind numbing job followed mind numbing job - forklift operator, newsagent and product worker. It was during this produce job he found an advertisement in a local paper for a hat blocker. "A hat blocker would get to play with fabric - sounds like fun to me."

This job lasted from 1988 to 1990 and was with Melbourne Hats, then located in Collingwood. "A hat blocker, basically blocks hats, but here I learnt to manipulate fibres. Every type of fibre and every type of weave moves differently. You are required to know your fibre and weave breakdown to manipulate the hood into the required shape. This takes years of practice but the end result is stunning."

From here Michael was offered a job with the late great William Beale of 'Mr Individual' fame. Mr Beale was re-opening his business after some time in retirement, under the name 'Ultrastyle by William Beale'. This was Michael's first job as a milliner and he quickly worked his way up to 'head of the table'. Mr Beale died in January 1992 and Michael was given the job of finishing off the wholesale orders, client orders and to close the business and sell everything off. This of course put him in the perfect position yo buy the Beale hat block collection of about 400 blocks, adding to his own collection of about 100.

Whilst at Melbourne Hats and Ultrastyle, Michael studied fashion at what was then Broadmedows College of TAFE at night school, concentrating on textiles, design, business management and, of course, millinery.

With the unexpected departure of Michael's well-respected employer, he was in the fortunate position of being offered a number of jobs within the industry from which to choose. Michael finally chose the position of Artistic director at Martin Penner International, located in Flinders Lane, and still under the ownership of Martin Penner himself. This deal lasted from March 1992 until August 1993 which was as long as both Michael and Penner could work together without one of them killing the other, and as Michael did not wish to be around for the death of a second employer, he moved on.

The next step was obviously to open his own business and after a few months rest, Michael purchased 'Helen Mobray Millinery' in Glenferrie Road, Malvern (Victoria). This business had already been trading for 43 years under Mobray and before that under Janette Vardy as 'Janette Chapeau'.

"Renovations to 89 Glenferrie Road, Malvern took 9 days, although preparations for the renovations and manufacture of my first signature collection actually took six months - 300 hats to be made from scratch is a lot of work and my inner-city home became a millinery bombsite - stock (both part made and complete) was strewn everywhere and on top of this I was still servicing my private clients for made to measure. As I couldn’t bear anyone seeing my workroom/lounge room, I went to them!”

The first Salon and new workrooms of ‘Michael F. Kyne - THE MILLINER’ opened with the usual fanfare on May 3, 1994. A Regency interior of cream with highlights of gold was chosen as the look, large bunches of fresh flowers in spring, and huge arrangements of feathers were the normal decoration to mark the passing of the seasons.

From the outset, it was clear that only one-off designs would be produced; specializing in straws and felts. “Every person is an individual and therefore deserves an individual hat, although I mainly do off the rack, every one of the 300 hats on display at any time is uniquely different.”


In a 1995 press release, Michael wrote, “I make full use of my magnificent collection of old wooden hat blocks. I have the largest collection in use in Australia today with 600 hat blocks at my disposal. I have the means and the ability to create any style of shape, from the bizarre theatrical to the understated chic.”

And now a quaint quote from a story on Michael in the Australasian Post, 27 August 1997, “There’s a whole lot of people who hate me. If you’re a struggling artist, they respect you. It is only once you’re successful that they start to bitch. I don’t want to be struggling. I want to be invited to the opening night of the opera. I don’t even like opera, but I want to be invited. I want that sort of life”.

The six years spent at Glenferrie Road were a huge learning curve. Fortunately, it was mostly upwards. Michael staged two solo exhibitions - one based on architecture and the other on surrealism. He participated in many group exhibitions and fashion parades, won quite a few awards, and clients took out many prizes at various Fashions on the Field events around the country. All this received much publicity and boosted him along the way to fulfilling his aim of being a ‘name’ in the fashion industry.


1999 was a year of change. Michael dropped his given birth name of Michael and changed his name to Paris (the nickname that he had for many years). Also underway were preparations to leave Glenferrie Road behind and shift up market. “At the time, I wasn’t sure that we were ready for it, but as stagnating was the only other option, I decided on ‘onwards and upwards’”.


Toorak Village, or the ‘Village of Prestige’ as the local council promotes it, was the rather obvious choice. On May 1, 2000, ‘Paris Kyne - THE MILLINER’ was opened at Shop 4, 501 Toorak Road, Toorak. Also taken was the adjoining shop 6, as an open workroom so that people passing by could see that everything was indeed being made on site. This idea came from the USA where a large number of restaurants and dressmakers were showing themselves at work. This coupled with the proof that each hat was a locally and lovingly made item meant this was a good idea. No other milliner in Australia had done it. Also, the open workroom lets in huge amounts of natural light, which is a change from the dark workrooms usually banished to the back of a shop.

The new Salon was in burgundy, purple, and gold stripes, with polished concrete floors and gold fittings. U-Magazine wrote on 12 June 2000, “Purple is Michael Kyne’s favourite colour, and the milliner has splashed it about in abundance, along with burgundy and gold in his new bordello-coloured shop... Along with the glamorous new premises, Michael has a new name. You may call him Paris - the nickname that he has made official through deed poll.”

Shortly after landing in Toorak, Paris jumped on a plane and headed to the prestigious London College of Fashion to further his knowledge and to keep abreast of international trends, the latest techniques and the use of new fibres. No one in the Australian millinery industry could further his education to this extent.

This was to be the first of many overseas study trips, as Paris’ hunger for knowledge had returned once he had settled into the new salon. The courses he undertook were Millinery Workshop III, under Andrew Bristow and Millinery Trimmings Workshop under Dillon Wallwork. Also, on this trip, Paris took in all the Ludwig the II of Bavaria sights including cycling up to Falkenstein, the site of the last Ludwig project that he never really got to start.


February 2001 saw Paris on a buying trip to America and also a chance to ride the “Ghostrider” - the largest and the most technologically advanced wooden roller-coaster in the world. With another trip to Europe in July, firstly for a week at the London College of Fashion for Millinery Workshop II under Andrew Bristow. Then to Europe for supplies and Nancy in France, the home of the French Art Nouveau movement and Lalique glassware. Art Nouveau started playing a part in Paris’ life back in 1998 on his first trip to Brussels and Belgium and by this time its theories on design had branched out into every part of his life. So studying its origins and effects seemed only logical.

This year also saw the first piece of Paris’s work to go into a public institution. A pink and mauve headpiece, made for the 2001 Spring Racing Carnival marketing campaign. The image was shown on posters, banners and billboards all around Victoria and was acquired by the Australian Racing Museum.


Early 2002 saw the revamp of Gertie Hoff (the House of Paris) with a new, improved garden, including water feature and three fish named Helga, Olga and Iguana, new furniture in the loungeroom, complete surround sound system in the living area and a new shower with tiles that want to stay on the wall in the bathroom.

London and Europe were again visited this year with two weeks’ work experience undertaken in the workroom of Frederick Fox Ltd in Avery Row, London. Paris had always wanted to work in London, so this dream finally came true. Whilst in Europe, he visited St. Gallen for the first time, saw Montserrat Cabelle perform at the Zurich Music Festival and went to World Expo 02 in Switzerland.

A few weeks after returning from London “The Theatre of Fashion” was staged at her Majesty’s. This was the first of the new look spring launches, staged in an unusual venue with the invited guests being only media, stylists, fashions on the field coordinators and people working in the P.R. industry. The aim of a spring launch is to generate high quality media exposure in the lead up to the spring racing carnival.

Late in the year, work commenced on “Miss Paris”, the first diffusion line of Paris Kyne - THE MILLINER. As Paris has been often heard to say, “Miss Paris is a younger, funkier, cheaper version of me”.


“Miss Paris” was launched in early 2003. This year she was exclusively sold to the Myer/Grace Bros department store chain. The business had been looking to expand for some time. “Miss Paris” is clearly a part of this expansion. Tasmania was chosen as another future direction for a number of reasons - the two main being the major racing carnival is in February (a very quiet time in Victoria) and there is not a professional milliner servicing the market over there. A partnership has been formed with Polly Shoes, which is part of the Faull’s Shoes empire, which sees Paris and a large amount of stock appear in the Polly Shoes stores in both Hobart and Launceston in the lead-up to both Cups. This has been a fantastic partnership and a load of fun is had by all involved. Polly stores are very white and minimalistic with just the shoes and bags adding colour and life. Now, for a period before each Racing Carnival, the stores are lifted with multi-coloured hats and headpieces and Paris on site to attend to alterations and answer fashionable questions.

The highlight of the year must go to the Nicky and Paris Hilton visit to Melbourne for the Spring Racing Carnival. The day before the Derby, they were escorted to the salon, as the hats they had seen everywhere else were “whatever”, so Paris and team worked through the night to make the white peek-a-boo sinamay that Paris Hilton wore to the Derby the next day. The black toy topper that Nicky Hilton wore was already in stock. This non-paid job resulted in numerous front pages around the world (unfortunately, in most cases, Paris Kyne was not credited).

Later that year, Paris and Gertie took off to New York to check out the department stores (internal and external) and window decorations for Christmas. Also, on the programme was a visit to Disneyland, which was under full Christmas decorations. “This trip was to look at merchandising, product mix and see how one could successfully take an idea before it looked like overkill. Needless to say we saw a lot of overkill”.


2004 started by Paris gaining front page of The Hobart Mercury on 5 February for the Hobart Cup. The story under Paris’ photo was concerning a brothel, so that if you were not very careful you saw a stunning colour photograph of Paris over the huge headline “Brothel Bother” - a good laugh was had by all.

“Miss Paris” was again bought exclusively by Myer - and the fabulous Paris Hilton’s white sinamay peek-a-boo Derby Day hat was acquired by “Champions”, which was formerly known as the Australian Racing Museum, and was then located at Federation Square.

Whilst on the topic of acquisitions, Paris had stored in his attic for many years, the archival collection of Master Milliner William Beale. It contained photographs, newspaper cuttings, style range catalogues, etc. This collection was given over to the Frances Burke Textile Resource Centre at RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology). To find out more about this incredible facility, please go to the “link” page.

On 25 June 2004, the block collection finally reached the big 700, well 702, to be precise. Much champagne was consumed that night.

“A Fiery Romance” was the name of the 2004 spring launch staged in a fire museum, red was the colour theme with the clothing supplied by Cinema Haute Couture and Condotti Collezioni with hair by Mal Bradley Hair and Beauty. Seven stunning models, four vintage fire engines all in a one hundred and eleven year old building. The launch was designed to set your heart on fire.


2005 was a year of major change. Firstly a new name “Paris Kyne – Master Milliner” , there are so many home frock makers calling themselves milliners these days, that a need to differentiate has arisen, Master Milliner is the obvious highly elevated answer. Along with the new name came the move next door to 6-501 Toorak Road Toorak. No move would be complete without a new colour scheme burgundy, gold and turquoise, a colour combination that would scare a small child, but as there are very few small children in Toorak Village, this will hardly present an issue. The logo has also changed from Art Deco to Art Nouveau; this coincides with Paris’s belief in continually flowing line, movement of vision and other wonderful turns of phases.

Most years a winter launch is staged, normally in the country, but this year it was Brisbane’s turn. Brisbane Turf Club sponsored the event with all the models being previous Queensland Fashions on the Field winners. Paris was special fashion guest for Brisbane Cup in 2005, which meant loads of parties, endless champagne and a chance to do all the Gold Coast rollercoasters.

Paris had been invited to teach or lecture many times in the past, but almost always turned them down. Though when an invitation to teach at the Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga came through it was time to get out of the workroom and pass on a little of what he had learnt over the last 17 years. The subject was called “Learn Lost Techniques with a Master Milliner” and covered such forgotten topics as turban making, manipulating fur and the usage of Swiss straw braid.

“Trust Me, Believe Me THRILL ME” was the name of the Spring/Summer 05 collection launch shown on the 16th of August at Mannequin Revolution in Richmond. The exquisite clothing was supplied by Cinema Haute Couture with the Hair and Makeup by Mal Bradley Hair and Beauty. The PR blurb read “300 naked mannequins, 5 live models and 11 specially created hats. Who is real, who is fake, what do we perceive is real beauty and the ideal body shape? Is perfection just an illusion?”

This years Exhibition was titled “The Master Milliner’s Muse” and was shown at the Galleria, Cnr Elizabeth and Bourke Streets, Melbourne from the 5th till the 18th September 2005. The exhibition showed 15 pieces made over a 15 year period for one client, Mrs Gail Humphreys. It clearly illustrated how the style of both client and milliner have evolved.

The last 12 months have been full of their usual rather wonderful front pages of newspapers and endless photo shoots. Though the highlight must be the Brisbane News 22nd June 2005, social pages, imagine a picture of Paris at the Brisbane cup, in the Treasury Casino Brisbane Marquee, but lets photo shop in the picture to make Paris’s teeth pure white and then attack his skin and give him a perfect tan, not reality but who cares!

Everybody in Australia knows who won the 2003 and 2004 Melbourne Cup, yes the incredible Makybe Diva, she of course went on to win the very big double of Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup in 2005. The team at Paris Kyne made the three incredibly large Makybe Diva showstopper masks. They each had 16 large ostrich plumes, 12 handmade ostrich frond tassels, 5 swarovski crystal stars in the shape of the Southern Cross and more diamantes on the handle then you can poke a stick at. Each mask took five days to make but it was worth every second of the effort. The masks were used to promote the Divas Cox Plate run.

Late 2005 Paris and Gertie jumped on a plane again and headed off to the land of smiles – America. Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece Falling Water was the first stop. Then on to New York for the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade, department sores, theatres, and a full day shopping for supplies in the millinery and bead district. Florida was next on the list for its rollercoasters and the Dali museum in St Petersburg. Las Vegas was the last stop to see the overly feathered showgirls and ride more rollercoasters.


The 2006 exhibition was titled “Masterworks in Wire” and shown during June in the three large display windows in Chapter House Lane, Melbourne behind St Paul’s Cathedral. The reason for this unusual location was the fact the exhibition was inspired by the art glass windows of St Paul’s Cathedral. All six pieces were made out of 633 metres of wire and 1945 glass beads, all within a four week period.

Last year Paris was the judge of the millinery section of the Royal Melbourne Show, this was super as he had always wanted to judge this prestigious event. Though it was also a great disappointment as the quality of work entered lacked technique and creativity. So in his usual style he went into discussions with The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria and came out with a five year sponsorship agreement. The overall prize for the best in show from the three millinery sections will now receive $500 cash and a one off wooden hat block from Paris Kyne – Master Milliner. He believes this will inspire the entrants to lift their standards. The best millinery exhibit then goes on to be placed in “Monod Cabnet” away from the others, this cabinet contains the winner of each craft section, and they then compete against each other for best in show. The grand aim of this project is to have a millinery piece taking out one of the three top awards within the craft section within the next five years.

Whilst at the official launch of Motorola Melbourne Spring Fashion Week Paris met Cathy Madigan from New Quay and photographer Saville Cobel. One conversation lead to another and two weeks later they shot “Silence”, a set of eight black and white images. The location was the silence series of sculptures by Victorian artist Adrian Mauriks. New Quay is a major component of the renovated Melbourne Docklands and it houses an incredible sculpture collection that is accessible to the public. For their 2006 Spring Carnival campaign they wished to show racing glamour interacting with art. Paris styled the shot, choosing clothing from Nicolangela and models from CMD model management then made all the hats in a four day period ready for a very late night shot.

For the 2006 Spring Launch an unusual photographic idea was suggested. Put Paris and a model in 1890’s reproduction swimwear and into the Melbourne Aquarium with the sharks and stingrays. Have Paris holding a wire work headpiece and the model wearing one. Then shoot it and the press would be fabulous. A very ambitious project, the water was bitterly cold and did not taste very pleasant either, to get both Paris and the model down into the water far enough , two divers had to pull them down, they then had to swim across and smile where they assumed the camera was on the other side of the glass. Plus an added difficulty, the paper wanted a shark in the shot, so the divers were always waiting for a shark to be in the right position before pulling both Paris and the model down to the photographer’s level. Oh! The photographer was on a ladder as well. It could have worked, but it did not and so now has become a great dinner party story.

The Myers Fashions on the Field competition at Flemington has seen quite a few changes in the last couple of years. One was to establish a separate designer section in an attempt to stop fashion houses entering professional models into the general competition. Paris competed with two labels, Cinema Haute Couture and Nicolangela. It was the nut coloured silk dress with a halter neck top and pleated skirt and matching pleated long sleeve bolero by Nicolangela that took out first prize. Paris made a cream straw head piece with twisted Lady Amhurst feathers to complete the look.

This years holiday was to be to America again, but with a little bit of luck Paris won the Champions, Australian Racing Museum annual raffle, which included return business class Emirates flights to Europe and five nights accommodation at the Langham Hotel in London. So it was a Europe holiday at the end of the year. The highlights included seeing Cabaret at the Follies Bergere, For the Love of Three Oranges at the Opera Bastille, Rebecca in Vienna and taking an eight day escorted tour of the German and French Christmas markets. This tour took in the German medieval township of Riquewihr, surely one of the most beautiful places on the planet.


Each year an exhibition is mounted in Melbourne in the winter, which gives the team something creative to get their teeth into and generates media interest. In 2007 in Louisville, Kentucky, as part of the Derby 133 festival “A View from Millionaire’s Row” was staged at Objects of Desire gallery. The exhibition showed 80 pieces made in Melbourne and shipped to America for sale for the Derby. The exhibition was presented with patterns of fake grass matting on the gallery’s metal floor and fake alfalfa sprout matting on the gallery’s display surfaces. Paris attended track work on two mornings and made in-store appearances in the week before attending both the Oaks and Derby. After the Derby, Paris spent a few days in Chicago and a few more days in LA, the highlight was a tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright “Robie House” in Chicago, his use of light and line in a limited space are truly inspirational.

“Just a Moment” was the name of the Spring/Summer 07 collection launch shown at the National Trust of Australia {Victioia} 1850’s Portable Iron Houses in South Melbourne. Clothing was supplied by Black Rose, jewellery by Jeanette Maree Jewellery with hair by Mal Bradley Hair and Beauty. The theme was fractured fairy tails, think of the cannibalism in Hansel and Gretel, theft in Jack and the Beanstalk, pregnancy out of wedlock in Rapunzle and the cross dressing wolf in Little Red Riding Hood. Throw in a couple of ugly step sisters, a few deceitful dwarfs, cursed slippers and bewitched spinning wheels and there is so much to inspire.

Each year Racing Victoria Limited produce a creative concept, a look for the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival. This is used on bill boards, posters, the sides of Melbourne’s famous trams and all the advertising and promotion for the carnival. The 07 concept saw five punters and a jockey standing in a giant silver stirrup. All three female models sported Paris Kyne hats and headpieces with matching Jenny Bannister and Lisa Barron clothing. The tag line for the campaign was “It’s bigger than you think” and the 07 carnival certainly was in many ways.


February 2008 started with the annual Polly Tasmania appearance where Paris’s work appeared on the front cover of both the Hobart Cup and Launceston Cup race books, and ended with the Fashion Hall of Fame. Being inducted into the City of Stonnington – Fashion Hall of Fame is the greatest honour Paris has ever received, his two favourite Australian designers, Jenny Bannister and Karen Merkel are both past inductees. Paris was quoted in the Launceston Examiner at the time saying “This is probably the highest honour anybody in fashion in Australia can receive, apart from your face on an Australia Post stamp – I think that one will take a while longer to achieve”. One of the most outstanding outcomes of the Hall of Fame was the press received. Stonnington Leader, Launceston Examiner, Catholic Life and The Gippsland Times (the paper from Sale – where Paris grew up) all wrote very detailed stories on the life’s work of Paris Kyne. This was particularly pleasing, as fashion press is usually “fluff, colour and movement”, serious articles are always appreciated.

To celebrate his induction, Paris ordered a sash be made. Jeanette Cleary from Jeanette Maree Jewellery on High Street set 1526 crystals onto mostly vintage silver broaches, then Paris sewed them onto a piece of vintage ribbon purchased in London for that reason and the sash royale was completed. Roughly 250 hours were spent on this slightly excessive piece, it was inspired by the Ridley Scott film “Legend”, and in the future it will be will be worn to black tie events.

In May we shot “Attention to Detail”, an exceptionally styled series of fashion plates. On the same day the salon exterior, interior, work room and hat blocks were all photographed to be used for this website. The highlight of the day was the three hour setup for “Here Kitty”, a very expensive and time consuming (but rewarding) photograph. The inspiration was the deco mantle statue of a gowned woman with a panther on a chain. “Attention to Detail” the 08 Spring/Summer range was released to the press and clients in September at an evening cocktail function at Berth, Docklands.

The day after the 2008 Spring Racing Carnival finished, Paris jumped on an aeroplane bound for London, were he enjoyed a two week holiday. Whilst there he visited all the supply houses to purchase the latest materials, looked at the department stores (Liberty and Peter Jones are the best) to gauge trends and of course attended the theatre most evenings. Theatrical highlights included, Zorro the Musical and finally attending both a ballet and an opera at the Royal Opera House. Other highs were cycling the old Regents Canal route, a tour of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich and walking on the old Brighton Pier.

Two days after arriving back in Melbourne, the go ahead was given for the second international solo exhibition, tilted “The Color of Racing”, it is so wonderful to be able to spell the “C” word the other way. So production started immediately, with all the pieces being inspired by past Kentucky Derby winners. Much research was required, this was only halted for the usual two fabulous weeks at Polly Shoes in Tasmania. In March all the works were shipped to 21c Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, then life returned to normal for a few weeks before Paris jumped on another aeroplane to be with the exhibition for its final week of instillation. Louisville was in party mode and Paris set a new personal record for the number of parties he attended in a seven day period, the best was the Honky Tonk Ball ‘09. Wow what a night that was, and then to attend the Derby the following day was certainly a stretch on the stamina.

After the week in Louisville, it was time to take things a little slower for time in New York. Theatre was as usual the highlight, which included, Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit, and the rather silly 9 to 5 the musical. Other highs were the Cyclone rollercoaster at Coney Island, the MoMA and The Natural History Museum. Of course work was not forgotten, with one and a half days of shopping for new and vintage materials, a pile of fashion exhibitions and viewing all on offer in the department stores, Bloomingdales and Macy’s being the favourites.

A week after returning to Australia, go ahead was given by the fabulous folk at MARS Gallery in Port Melbourne to stage “Mould and Shape” during this years Spring Racing Carnival. Seven pieces were created for the opening and an epic shot was executed by the Herald Sun’s photographer, Fiona Hamilton. The main piece for the exhibition “A Palette of Colour” was made over a ten day period, and photographed once a day during that period.


2009 also saw Paris returning to school, back to where he started. The old Broadmeadows Collage of TAFE had grown and morphed into Kangan Institute. He studied there from 1989 to 1992 and was now returning as a teacher of millinery at the Richmond campus and also of fashion design out at the Broadmeadows campus. He was also honored with being featured in there new marketing campaign, which featured past students who had archived on posters in trams, a television advertisement and billboards.


2010 started with the annual Polly/Tasmania in store appearances and parties. Also in February the call came through from the City of Melbourne, to request new crowns for the King Molly Meldrum and Queen Kate Cebrano of Moomba. Moomba is Australia’s largest free community festival and it celebrates the city’s people, its culture and its characters. A quote from the City of Melbourne’s media release “Both crowns were originally to be made in silver, but at the last minute we all got together for a design meeting and went for gold instead. Although these two pieces were designed for Kate and Molly specifically, I also know they will be worn by the new monarchs for the next few years, so I had to also take this into consideration with the designs. The inspiration was they (Molly’s people) wanted a crown to go on one of his Mountcastle hats, so that is what I made. I loved this idea, as Molly’s hat is his trademark, so altering it was fun. Then I made a matching tiara for Kate, I know Kate loves big hair (don’t we all), so I designed the work around that. This job has made me very proud, as both Molly and Kate are lovely people who I admire. Also, past Kings have included others I admire greatly like Frank Thring and Graeme Kennedy.” They were worn at the press call and in the street parade on the 8th of March.

In late March Paris took up running again, “it had been about ten years since I had hit the track, so in March all I could manage was a very slow three km run. It is now September and I am doing a ten km’s run at a reasonable pace, so the Sunset Series of fun runs is now possible. Of course a weeks training on the beach in Bali has certainly helped me along.”

The City of Sale staged its first Wearable Arts Festival in 2010; and as Paris grew up in Sale, it was only to be expected that he would attend. Of the three workshops that formed a part of the festival, two were taught by Paris. “It was so good to go home, to be able to run around the lake early in the morning, and then to give a workshop in the afternoon. Also the press down there; The Gippy Times, ABC FM and Milk Magazine have all done stories on me, the homecoming queen.”

The exhibition for this year celebrated the elements of design and staged at the stunning Melbourne’s GPO. The five elements were all represented each with a separate hat; except silhouette; which had three hats, each one representing a different type of silhouette. Each hat had the block next to it that it had been made on, thus further helping to explain how couture millinery is constructed.

It was now time to start preparations for the big move into town. Paris has always wished to operate his business from the C.B.D. but had to wait till the city was alive again and ready for him. As the lease was up in Toorak, it was time to make a move. In readiness for this a huge cull of the wooden hat block collection was called for and executed, with 220 blocks identified to be sold off. “My skill is now at a level, that with a little hand moulding or double blocking I can create more out of less.” There is no need to move equipment that we never use.

The year finished off with a three week Europe trip. Firstly; Rome to view the collections or marble at both the Villa Borghese and the Capital Museum and to start a photographic study of European drain pipes. Next stop; London; for work purchases and see Penelope Keith in “The Rivals” then off to Paris to finally see a production at the Opera Gardiner and “Mozart l’Opera Rock” at the Palais de Sports, a huge aluminum domed stadium that is used for contempory operas and boxing....


The 2011 exhibition was for the first time a group exhibition, titled “The Complete History of LUST” curated by Paris at the Academy of Design in Port Melbourne as part of the cultural programme for the 2011 L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Week. In this exhibition, Paris Kyne examines our lust for more. Lust for more shoes, the latest gadget, the newest time saving device, technological advancement and anything shiny in between.

By Easter it was time to move to town. “If a gay skydiver designed a bordello, this is what it would look like. I wanted to include a sea monster theme into this mix, but a gay skydiver, designing a bordello whilst thinking about sea monsters, was just too silly”, said Paris in a media release at the time. Imagine huge ruched pink parachutes and gilded furniture draped with multi coloured crystals. Racks strung with lavishly plumed headpieces, stands scattered with elaborate millinery concoctions, whilst the huge collection of vintage mannequins are displayed throughout the amazing new space.

The Little Collins Street site has huge amounts of space, which will enable us to open our boutique millinery school later in the year. The school will never have more than six students in each class and we will specialize in the latest and also lost techniques of millinery.

On the 29 April, 9 News arrived with their big cameras and shiny lights as it was time for some commentary on Kate and Harry’s Royal Wedding. “We had moved everything into little Collins Street, and had not had time to unpack, so we draped the two huge parachutes over the boxes, and placed selected headwear over any of the stands we could get too. We also decked out another area of the new salon with bubble wrapped furniture; for some reason they did not shoot this area. We had not opened, yet were already shooting; the neighbours were certainly way excited.”

August was the annual run away for a while holiday. Borneo was chosen as Paris has always wished to view the Silver back monkeys and the pigmy rhinos. Well there is nothing much left of this once bountiful land, as the palm oil plantations have desecrated it. Next time you are thinking of purchasing fried food, think again. The silver backs were stunning and we spent a fair chunk of time with both the older ones and the younglings. When they are under six months old they are orange, then the orange hair falls out and the silver grows, seeing some little ones that are half silver half, fluoro orange is a sight. No pigmy rhinos were spotted, doubt there are more than a hand full left.

“The Birds of Paridise” was the spring launch of 2011, Inspired by the books, “Birds of Paradise” by Clifford B. Frith and Dawn W. Frith and “Feathers for Phoebe” by Rod Clement. Staged at Madame Brussels on Bourke Street. All of our big publicity pieces for the season have the bird of paradise as their central theme. There are 43 species of these birds, so the points of inspirations are enormous. Models included Diane Masters as the Buff-tailed bird of paradise, Elise May as the Blue bird of paradise, Ajah Dau as the Emperor bird of paradise, La-Toyah James Raggiana bird of paradise, Lydia Licorice as Phoebe, Nicole De Silva as Zelda and Paris Kyne as the Birdcatcher.

It was time to immerse into twenty-first century. At the start of the year Paris set up a facebook fan page which is now running very well, an online store and then twitter. The era of tweets is upon us.

At the 2011 Royal Melbourne Show every winner in the three millinery sections were, a past or present student of Paris’ (no he did not judge this competition). He also produced a live millinery demonstration on the main stage in the arts and crafts pavilion on the Sunday. During this time he made a covered wirework piece in a three hour period. Paris talked through the entire piece, explaining each step of the making process. In 2010 he made a satellite dish headpiece on stage. This year he made an abstract wirework piece modelled on the grade marquee a few meters down the road.

Paris has been entering the Caulfield Classic Style Award since its inception about seven years ago and never taken out either of the top prizes; well all that changed this year. Firstly the people’s choice award was announced, the winner was Nicolas with a headpiece by Paris Kyne Master Milliner. Then the main award was announced, the winner Black Rose Couture, with a covered wirework hat also by Paris. After trying to win these very prestigious awards for years, it was time to party. The prize money is to go to marketing, so it is paying for the 2012 exhibition and spring launch.

As usual Paris jetted off shore at the end of the year, this time for five days in Paris. The main reasons for the trip was to see Dracula l’opera rock and the John-Paul Gould retrospective at les Arts Décoratifs. According to Paris the rock opera was very odd but the Gould exhibition did not disappoint, in particular the originals of the cut and pasted Grace Jones images which have yellowing sticky tape peeling off them. He also spent a pile of time in the Latin Quarter photographing fromage.


The year 2012 is Derby 138 and Paris’ stockiest for this season is Rodeo Drive at the Holiday Manor Center in Louisville, Kentucky. He sent over loads of brightly coloured stock and also some amazing, very large orders, mainly of large slightly floppy brims with tightly twisted crowns. This new style has been named Derby 138, so no surprises there.

This year’s exhibition was titled, “Warped, Twisted and then Wrapped”, it focuses on 3D wirework, which simply put is a frame made out of wire that is then covered in braid. Paris has used vintage Swiss petti pearl braid in all these works. Each of the eight pieces has been hand sculptured (warped), then the wires are joined together (twisted) and finally the completed frame is covered in braid (wrapped). The exhibition was installed into the lobby of Crown Promenade Hotel for a three week period.

At the time of writing this, Paris and the team are working on the new spring collection which may be titled “Paradise Lost”. Also in current development is the first set of courses to be offered at our new “The William Beale School of Millinery”. A very boutique school of millinery where we never use the “F” word.

Momba group - Paris Molley Meldrum Kate Cebrano

As to the future, Paris sees nothing in his way to stop him from becoming Australia’s most recognised milliner, whilst still maintaining quality of design and workmanship as his theme song.

Paris Kyne For those of you who wish to know more about Paris, below is a list of his 29 favourite things:

  • Animal – Aardvark
  • Australian Artist – Graeme Base (The Eleventh Hour, The Discovery of Dragons) In 2008 Paris acquired the original artwork for Mongolian Screamers, from Discovery of Dragons, and has since acquired three other Graeme Base originals.
  • Bridge – Story Bridge, Brisbane Australia
  • Cathedral – The Sagrada Familia by Anton Gaudi, Barcelona Spain
  • French Town – Nancy in the Lorraine Provence
  • Garden – Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne Australia
  • Gate – The Dragon Gate, Guell Pavillions by Anton Gaudi, Barcelona Spain
  • Hotel – Evropa Wenceslas Square, Prague Chech Republic
  • Lake – Woolf Lake – Wisconsin America
  • Musuem Collection – Musée Les Arts Décoratifes, Paris France
  • Musuem Exterior – The New Metropolis by Rinzo Piano, Amsterdam Holland
  • Musical – Tanz der Vampire by Jim Steinman and Michael Kunze
  • Mythological Creature – The Hydra
  • Opera – Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades) by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Painting – A Sunday Afternoon on the Grande Jatte by George Seurat now on permanent display in the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Pedestrian Bridge – Pont Du Arts, Paris France
  • Period of Fashion – New Romance, England 1975 – 1981
  • Play - Summer of the 17th Doll by Ray Lawler
  • Performer (Female) - Grace Jones
  • Performer (Male) - Leigh Bowery
  • Roller Coaster – Space Mountain, Mission 2, Disneyland, Paris France
  • Room within a museum – The Fouquet jewellery shop by Alphones Mucha, both interior and exterior (1900) within the Musée Carnavalet, Paris France
  • Shop – Memoirs, Waif City, Dubai United Arab Emirates
  • Staircase – The Grand Staircase, Opera Garnier, Paris France
  • Textile Museum – Textilmesuem, St Gallen Switzerland
  • Theme Park – Disneyland, California America
  • Train Station – Stadelhofen, Zurich Switzerland
  • Walking Track within a city – The Tan, Melbourne Australia
  • Walking track just out of a city - Duck Reach Power Station, Launceston Australia