The WILD Magazine Woman issue 

interview: Nick Cope

What an honor to win the Met Museum Costume Institute’s Accessory Design Award! Tell us about this experience.

It still hasn’t fully sunken in yet, this honor that’s been bestowed upon me. To be associated with the likes of Miucci Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli for the Met’s Impossible Conversations has been a sureal dream. I was even surprised when they gifted me (among many other prizes) with a Prada bag as well as a Letter of Recognition signed by the Curator in Charge of the Met Museum’s Costume Institute, Harold Koda. I hope to continue to take further strides towards innovative thinking and design in the world of  Fashion and beyond..

What influences your millnery?

Well, I try to pull from a vast assortment of life studies as well as from my own life experiences… ranging from marine biology to the sensation you first feel when you fall head over heels in love. Each hat is a memento, paying homage to a eulogy of thoughts from a certain time and place, encapsulating a narrative of sentiment and magic.

Speak a bit about Alexander McQueen? Salvador Dali? Yayoi Kusama?

Alexander McQueen? Salvador Dali? Yayoi Kusama? They all possess extreme passion, workaholic compulsions, perfectionistic discipline, wild imaginations of epic fancy, and an uncompromising grasp for beauty. Not to mention a bit of spicy, controversial character to liven things up. They were multi-disciplinary visionaires that looked beyond their peers for inspiration, who boldly questioned and raised the bar of what living art could mean. I find my work strongly aligning with their sensibilities.

Am I right to say that your work is psychedelic? I mean this in the classical sense in that the designs are inspired by altered states of being.

Salvador Dali once said, “I don’t do drugs, I am drugs.” If  I look at a piece of art, and my brain starts to tingle, where I can feel neurons flickering off like a chain of firecrackers, the artwork in my opinion is fullfilling it’s sole purpose- to bring the viewer into unchartered states of being, to lift the veil of reality, and to open up the doors of perception, triggering a spiritual awakening. If my hats are able to evoke the same intensity of response, while they are worn and loved by their owners, I’m a happy clam.

What is your ultimate ambition as a designer? Art or style?
My ultimate ambition as a designer is to bring back the culture of wearing hats, and to revive the craft of making hats on the level of Haute Couture, by injecting them with equal portions of art and style, which is how Coco Chanel and Lanvin first began their careers as Fashion houses.

Do “hat people” have anything in common?

People who are known to wear hats regularly carry an air of distinction when they enter a room. It can be seen as an extension or reflection of their personality or a guise of mystery and intrigue. I find that they tend to be adventurous thinkers, a bit more experimental and versatile than most folks.

Is there any brand that you could see yourself designing for like Stephen Jones has with Marc Jacobs and Galliano? 
I would love to design hats for Alexander McQueen, Iris Van Herpen, or Mary Katrantzou. I’ve already begun discussing possible collaborative opportunities with ThreeAsFour for the near future.

What hat are you specifically working on now?

My Atomic Universe hat. It’s inspired by a rare gift called Synesthesia, which is when a person sees letters and numbers visualized as specific colors, sounds, textures, shapes, and forms. It’s an overlapping of the senses in the mind’s eye. I wanted to capture what this hidden mind-map or landscape could be like manifested in the physical world. The colorful LED’s swirling around my hat are a visceral, yet tactile interpretation of what computing a sequence in an algorithim or reading notes in a musical scale could literally look like for a synesthete. Moreover, when you wear one of my atomic universe hats, you’re transformed into a living, breathing work of kinetic art, pulsating and radiating a dazzling spectrum of whirling lights. Choreography or impovisation in numbers, can also interplay in unexpected ways in the performance aspect of wearing this hat, as your body begins to move in sync with the revolutions of the hat. The real joy and beauty and genius of the hat lies in sharing this fantastic, eye-catching phenomenon with the people surrounding you.

If  I were to discover a portal into your mind a la Malkovich what might we see on the other side of that tiny door?

Sometimes called “the seat of the soul” or “the mystical vessel of understanding and imagination”- the mind and hats are like a pea in a pod.  I’m still trying to figure out what’s really behind that tiny portal door into my mind. I’ve found solace in imagining an endless rabbit hole of revolving mirrors.

Redrum http://youtu.be/4iwK2jwqFfk 

Androgynous Supermodel Andrej Pejic for H E I D I L E E

» The Prettiest Boy in the World
photo: Charlie Engman
styling: Guillaume Boulez
cocktail parasol hat: H E I D I L E E
hair: Bryce Scarlett
makeup: Yasuo Yoshikawa


http://youtu.be/gH7dMBcg-gE !!!


SHARON NEEDLES for H E I D I L E E » brought to you by ABSOLUT » Commercial Airs weekly on TV during RuPaul’s Drag Race

http://vimeo.com/43043233 ☂

Watch the Behind-the-scenes sneakpeek of ABSOLUT Ru-Dunnit http://www.logotv.com/video/misc/875083/absolut-behind-the-scenes-video.jhtml

RuPaul’s Drag Race airs 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the VH1 network 



vintage RuPaul https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTnZhXgbVbk


photo: Christian Anwander
styling: James Valeri
glass hat + carnal flora hat: H E I D I L E E
hair: Rolando Beauchamp
makeup: Pep Gay
model: Anais Pouliot from Trump

Christian Anwander’s photography has been featured on the covers of 10, 10 Men and Ponytail Magazine.
James Valeri’s styling has been featured in L’Uomo Vogue, I-D, V Man, V Magazine, Numéro, Wonderland, etc.


H E I D I L E E hats at End of Century » as seen on Bravo’s Hit TV Show: Gallery Girls + named Best New York Boutique in the Village Voice 2012
237 Eldridge St. NYC




Ilikemystyle Magazine #6 Fall 2011
photo: Bela Borsodi
fashion director: James Valeri 
luck∞lock hat: H E I D I L E E
hair: Shawn Mount 
makeup: Christian McCulloch
model: Kate Somers at Ford

Bela Borsodi’s photography has been featured in Vogue, V Man, V magazine, Another, 10 men, Numéro, etc.
James Valeri’s styling has been featured in L’Uomo Vogue, I-D, V Man, V Magazine, Numéro, Wonderland, etc.

photo: Benjamin Fredrickson
fashion director: James Valeri 
parasol skeleton hat: H E I D I L E E

Celebrating New York Fashion Week 
H E I D I L E E luck∞lock hat is in the middle of Ilikemystyle Magazine’s NYFW party poster ☻


story: Paula Neudorf
published 7/14/11
“It’s hard to imagine him as just a fashion designer,” RISD alum and New York hat designer Heidi Lee said of McQueen. “He was an artist.” A self-described “mad hatter,” Heidi feels a deep connection with McQueen’s work, which frequently incorporated stunning hats and headgear designed by Philip Treacy. Posters of McQueen’s fashions adorn the wall of Heidi’s Brooklyn studio, which is chock-full of beads, fabric swatches and found objects, any of which could find their way onto a new hat design. She confided that one of her hats would soon be made of a wilted clock.
    For many young designers, McQueen’s work serves as a kind of beacon, a pinnacle that according to designer Colleen Turner, only one percent of people might actually ever reach.
    “I was pretty devastated,” Heidi said of the day she learned McQueen died. But, she pointed out, many of his friends and collaborators continue to work in New York and beyond. In fact, Heidi recently by chance stumbled upon a McQueen connection. She was walking down a Brooklyn street wearing one of her own hat creations when Katy England, a stylist who once worked as McQueen’s Creative Director, paused in the street bemused to exlaim that she fancied the hat.
    The exchange led to a major coup for the young designer: four hats designed by Heidi were pulled for an upcoming Dazed and Confused magazine coverstory starring McQueen’s friend and muse Björk, whom England styled.
    When considering McQueen’s legacy, Turner noted that fashion designers in school today have much more artistic ambitions than the business of fashion will probably ultimately allow them. “The reality is, you need to pay your bills,” she said.
    When asked whether she felt there is a difference between the kind of high-art costumes on display at the Met and the more prosaic day-to-day clothing of people on the street, however, Heidi responded firmly in the negative. “Life is the occasion,” she said. McQueen would probably have agreed. ☻


André Balazs, VOGUE + Visionaire editors and other luminaries on the NYC and global scene attended. Sante D'Orazio’s controversial photography is currently on display from his private collection at PARLOR.


VIKTOR Magazine (IT) Fall 2011
photo: Naoki Ishizaka
styling: Masayo Kishi
parasol hat: H E I D I L E E
kite jumpsuit: Kansay Yamamoto
hair: Kanshin Asano
makeup: Kaori Kasso
model: Chiharu at Satorujapan

Legendary fashion designer Kansay Yamamoto created the celestial costumes of David Bowie’s ϟ Ziggy Stardust ϟ + the high-speed skyliner train pictured above.
”Nothing has changed from the past. I have not changed anything, only a change in the representations: just different ways to express.” -Kansay Yamamoto.


photo: Andrew Strasser aka BAD BRILLIANCE
styling: Roberto Ramone
Ariel’s Tail hat: H E I D I L E E

The blue-green color of Ariel’s fin was a hue specially mixed by the Disney paint lab; the color was named “Ariel” after the character.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariel_%28The_Little_Mermaid%29http://youtu.be/mGoXtSw0Ias



H E I D I L E E StyleLikeU Interview
Like a chemistry project, Heidi sees fashion as a “homegrown portal into who you are.” On the one hand, she’s an artsy RISD grad who dons avant-garde Comme des Garcons penguin checkerboard shoes, traditional lederhosen and a metal and leather Bliss Lau arm bracelet that she loves because it looks like a tourniquet (I am obsessed with it). On the other hand, she’s a science buff who loves metaphysics, geometry, sci-fi movies and feels that she could be a biologist or neuroscientist as well as a milliner. Magic happens when Heidi attaches a garter and over the knee hose to the pockets of her electric green Nina Hagen-inspired cutoffs, wears a necklace of a Korean mask steeped in ancestral folklore and an acid-colored fur hat that she claims is part of her preparation for the future, in which our planet will be so depleted that everyone will be freezing and need to buy the hats that she designs.
Hats and hatmaking are the ultimate enchantment for Heidi, as they can be made with your own hands, spark a conversation and carry a certain mystique. One of her happiest childhood memories took place at the Queens Botanical Gardens, while wearing her favorite white beach hat with a rose – her golden Kodak moment. As if the illusion of being naked is not chic enough in her chainmail dress that she likens to string theory or how the galaxies net together, Heidi wears it with her melting clock hat, a reference to Salvador Dali and her own attunement to vivid dreams. Heidi’s mom, whom she looks up to for her effortless ability to be gung-ho about everything, remains both a role model and a provocateur for Heidi to push for her own excellence. Heidi describes a dream about herself and her mom, explaining, “There are two beds…both of them identical. One side is me, the other side is my mom, and we would have these joint competitions with each other where we’d both have to make our beds. Every time, my mom would be able to beat me, a split second better.” A haute hat made up of strange plastic flowers and ferns is a creation spawned by Heidi’s interest in how fungi grow out of ants’ heads, worn with a Search and Destroy leopard and lace slip that she describes as Philistine with an old Roman feel to it.
In an iridescent, ecto-plasmic “kind of jelly fish shirt” that Heidi finds playful for its contours, shapes and a voyeuristic peek at the body, she wears her umbrella hat inspired by Issey Miyake, math and architecture. “There’s an alchemy that’s happening that’s interesting. And I go with it and then it’s a whole new concoction. A lot of times, it’s exploratory… but I am always happiest when I am wearing a hat,” Heidi says.


H E I D I L E E  for  L_A_N
photo: Red DeLeon
art direction: Veronica So
L_A_N long-sleeve shirt: Alexandra Polk
melting clock Dalí hat: H E I D I L E E                           



OAKAZINE Magazine #5
photo: Matthias Vriens
styling: James Valeri
LED hats: H E I D I L E E

Matthias Vriens photography has been featured on the covers of GQ, I-D, Fantastic Man, Numéro Homme, Details, Wallpaper etc.
James Valeri’s styling has been featured in L’Uomo Vogue, I-D, V Man, V Magazine, Numéro, Wonderland, etc.


H E I D I L E E » WINNER of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Accessory Design Award 2012 for Schiaparelli and PRADA: Impossible Conversations. photo: Andrew Bisdale

Special Thanks to » Jon Santos of Common Space (d), Tabor Robak, Johnny Lee and Prefuse73 aka Guillermo Prefuse http://youtu.be/j87J1x57dUA for the visuals + sound of the film. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=604277905196


Curator in Charge Harold Koda of the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute http://www.vogue.it/en/vogue-starscelebsmodels/vogue-masters/2010/04/harold-koda


http://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-museum/museum-departments/curatorial-departments/the-costume-institute ☻ 

#CostumeInstitute = #AnnaWintourCostumeCenter

MET’s Costume Institute to Be Renamed for Anna Wintour http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/14/mets-costume-institute-to-be-renamed-for-anna-wintour/