In a small atelier of rue Volta in the third arrondissement of Paris, a craft usually restrained to men is brought to new life by a woman. Pauline Brosset, established in 2011, masters the art of made-to-measure hat-making and adapts it to ready-to-wear caps in a novel way. Pauline started as an apprentice at a famous hat-maker’s atelier, the former hatter of a renowned fashion house, and developed a passion for this forgotten craft. While working with respect to traditional gestures, she can also twist the rules.
Made-to-measure hats are made starting with a wooden mould, the basis of the hatter’s work. Everything starts with the hand-molding of the main part of the hat, which requires agility and strength. Then the brim of the hat is molded “in one piece”, a technique specific to men’s hat-making. Without any seams, it makes the hat much more comfortable. After the final sewing, the customer tries the hat for size, enabling final modifications for a perfect fit.
Pauline has adapted this demanding craft to ready-to-wear caps. Closer to her initial training as a pattern-maker, the process is similar to clothes making. Pieces start with a sketch, then a paper pattern or canvas “toile”, that later materializes into a prototype. The “made-to-measure” touch of Pauline gives a novel artisanal finish to those caps : the very definition of a contemporary artisan.