Hello there, I’m Roberta Cucuzza. My mission is to put a smile on people’s faces – one cheeky hat at a time!
First, let me tell you about my greatest source of inspiration in life: my great-grandmother Maria Bellini, a kind and independent woman. She set up her own tailoring business in Sicily to support her family when her father died suddenly. She started her own atelier in the 1920s, and later travelled to Paris to find inspiration for new designs – a trip that in those days was really hard to make. Her business grew significantly after her Paris trip, attracting clients from the Sicilian nobility. This also meant that she was able to employ over 30 women at some stage, something that I find really empowering.
She had great style and attention to detail, and we were lucky that she passed her knowledge on to my grandmother Isabella – who taught me how to sew. I spent a good chunk of my childhood in her atelier absorbing the skills and taste for a good handmade product.
Fast-forward to 2015, I attended a workshop with award-winning milliner Katherine Elizabeth and I was instantly hooked to millinery! The sewing skills inherited from my grandma, as well as my love for design and illustration, suddenly found a home in this fabulous craft.
My motivation to create bespoke hats comes from the special moments I had with customers: a lady looking back at herself in the mirror with twinkling eyes, or someone telling me that her hat made her feel ‘cheeky’. So here is Cheeky Hats: unique handmade pieces that are bold in design, and a little irreverent.
I continue to study with established milliners such as Joanne Edwards and Maor Zabar, while keeping my approach personal and unique in taste. Take a look at my working practice and studio.
P.S. Read my interview on fashion blog Canvas and Crumpets, and here are a few Instagram posts to give you a flavour of my life as a milliner: