When British Polio Fellowship ambassador Anne Wafula-Strike receives her MBE at Buckingham Palace on the 14th October for her services to disability, sport and charity work, she will be wearing a unique outfit. A dress designed by Izzy Camilleri will be finished off with unique headwear, courtesy of Lilliput Hats and crafted by the firm’s founder, the internationally respected Canadian milliner, Karyn Gingras.
While Anne created quite a stir recently with a dress made of train tickets to promote disability fashion and the needs of those living with Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS); she needed a new dress with a difference to dazzle in to collect her medal and the all-important hat to match. Karyn offered to use her millinery skills to help Anne’s dreams of the prefect royal outfit become a reality.
Sketches of Anne’s investiture outfits
“I’m so thrilled to be a part of this project for Anne,” said Lilliput Hats founder Karyn Gingras. “My designs compliment the spectacular dress Izzy designed and frame Anne’s gorgeous face. I wanted her face to be open and my pieces to speak to the sensitivity of Anne’s personality, yet to celebrate the event itself with both colour and texture.”
Karyn’s final hat design is subtle, but rich in colour, with a turquoise velour felt for the base, with a gentle silk veiling that will just brush the hairline – vintage, yet modern at the same time. Karyn also included hand dyed leaves and feathers to pick up on the vibrant colours in the batik fabric.
“I am over the moon with Karyn’s designs,” said Anne Wafula-Strike. “They offset the dress perfectly and it was a wonderful surprise when Karyn showed me the fascinator clips prepared to match my evening dress. It’s not every day you meet The Queen and while the ticket dress raised awareness of disabled fashion and Polio, this new dress and hat will prove Polio and PPS is no bar to looking your best.”
Lilliput Hats have graced stars of stage and screen from around the world, from Celine Dion to Whoopi Goldberg, from Sandra Oh to former Governor General of Canada, Adrienne Clarkson. Karyn has established a global reputation for her work. With designs Inspired by the classic, surrealist style of Elsa Schiaparelli, Karyn’s hats are modern and playful, yet functional, boasting very much an international vogue.
Anne’s MBE comes in recognition of her contribution to disability, sport and charity work and the work she continues to do for charities like The British Polio Fellowship. The charity’s CEO, Ted Hill MBE says it is an award richly deserved – and that Anne’s example and fashion will inspire others.
“Anne has worked tirelessly with The British Polio Fellowship in our 75th Anniversary year, raising awareness of the late effects of Polio and PPS and an MBE is fitting recognition of that,” said Ted Hill, MBE. “The PPS train ticket dress worked wonders to raise awareness of both PPS and disability fashion and I am sure this new dress and amazing headwear from Karyn will deliver the same result.”
Anne has delivered talks on Polio and PPS at Rotary conferences in London and Sydney this year, as well as at The British Polio Fellowship’s own roadshows, becoming a firm favourite with charity members and will be in attendance at the charity’s Parliamentary reception on 22 October marking PPS Day 2014.
Anne will also be guest of honour at a dinner Sir Emeka Offor is giving in her honour on the evening of the 14th at the Grosvenor Hotel on Park Lane. Set to be attended by a select list of VIPs and dignitaries, Anne will be wearing another stunning evening gown by Izzy and of course, no such gown would be complete without a complimentary fascinator courtesy of Karyn.
“I designed two fascinator type clips for the evening event so Anne can choose,” added Karyn. “One is delicate and incorporates the aqua lace from her dress with a few sparse beads, while the second is a silk organza bunch of blossoms, which also complement the evening fabric but is meant to be more whimsical and fanciful. It’s a celebration of Anne’s fantastic achievements. Anne is humble and modest and looks spectacular in clothes being so fit and vibrant and I wish Anne every success at both events.”
The British Polio Fellowship is a charity dedicated to helping, supporting and empowering those in the UK living with the effects of Polio and PPS. Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) is a neurological condition which can occur in up to 80 per cent of those who have had Polio. It is thought that around 120,000 people in the UK are living with the effects of Polio or PPS today. For more details or information on The British Polio Fellowship, call us on 0800 043 1935, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.britishpolio.org.uk